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Follow These Steps to Stress-Free Portfolio Printing

Let’s face it – applying for a job can be stressful. The competition is fierce and the task of finding ways to best represent yourself can be tough – especially if you are in the field of art & design. Not to worry – at AlphaGraphics, we are here to help you get through the portfolio printing process with ease. With print & design services, we can help you achieve a portfolio that will help you stand out from the rest. With various print methods, paper stocks, and binding options, we are able to take your piece to the next level.

Say you are applying for a position at one of Chicago’s top Architecture firms, or perhaps a design position at one of the city’s leading Marketing and PR firms. Come to AlphaGraphics and we will elevate your portfolio to help you land that job! Our team can help you narrow down your options and figure out which methods will best suite your materials. There are a number of things to take into consideration when producing your personal portfolio and the information below will help you grasp some of the key features to take into account during this process.

Follow These Steps to Stress-Free Portfolio Printing-1General Specs of Your Portfolio

It is important to have a good idea of the specs before you think about the portfolio printing. This includes size, page count, printing method (single sided vs double-sided, digital printing vs offset printing). If you are not familiar with digital printing vs offset printing, one of our skilled professionals at AlphaGraphics can explain each process. In most cases, digital printing will be the way to for a personal portfolio. For the most part, we find young professionals in Chicago print between 3 and 5 copies of their portfolio, and for such a low quantity, you will get much better pricing with digital printing. Additionally, we can run hard copy proofs at no additional charge when you print digitally. Offset printing tends to make most sense when you are printing higher quantities. Additionally, there is usually an additional charge of close to $100 to get a hard copy proof produced. Of course, if you have the budget for this, we are more than happy to explore this process. Ultimately It is important to have an idea of the size and page count of your portfolio, as that will help your AlphaGraphics sales rep have a good idea of the overall look before beginning map out your options.

Specifics of Your Portfolio Printing

Once you have an idea of the general specs of your project, you can start to explore the different paper options and binding methods that are available.

Choosing the Right Paper is Important

The paper stock that you select for your portfolio can have a major impact on the overall look. Paper can be used to enhance your piece in a way that will compliment your design. At AlphaGraphics, we have a variety of stocks to choose from, in different weights, colors, and textures. Your representative will be able to advise on which stocks will work best given your overall design. I recently had a client who used Classic Crest in Epic Black as their front/back cover, to which they then printed their title in black ink. This created a very unique affect and is just one way that you can really use a paper stock to your advantage.  Our goal at AlphaGraphics is to make sure your paper selection elevates your portfolio, rather than overwhelming it. The paper stock you select will also factor into the binding option you choose. Be sure to read up on the following paragraph as binding will be a very important factor when it comes to producing your portfolio.

Follow These Steps to Stress-Free Portfolio Printing-2

Finishing Your Portfolio: Binding Methods

Binding is perhaps the most important thing to consider when you are preparing your portfolio. If you are looking for a job in art/design the showcase of your past work will be extremely important. You do not want anything to get cut off in your margins or be difficult to read.

At AlphaGraphics, we offer 5 binding options. Below you will find descriptions with pros and cons as they relate to portfolio printing:

1. Perfect Binding

Interior pages are glued to the spine with a wraparound front/back cover.

Pros: Great presentation factor, clean lines.

Cons: Will not open entirely flat, will lose content of full spreads in margin, breakdown of spine with increased handling

Layflat qualities depend on: thickness of cover, inside pages, paper stock

2. Tape Binding 

Front & back cover along with interior pages are glued to the spine and held together using a strip of fabric binding tape

Pros: Great presentation factor

Cons: Will not open entirely flat, will lose content of full spreads in margin, breakdown of spine with increased handling

Layflat qualities depend on: thickness of cover, inside pages, paper stock

3. Wire Binding

Covers & interior pages are bound together using wire.

Pros: Great presentation factor, will lay entirely flat, wire color options, durable

Cons: Tends to have a “corporate” look and feel

Best for portfolios that have full spreads – allows design/imagery to be viewed in their entirety

4. Plastic Coil Binding

Covers & interior pages are bound together using plastic coils.

Pros: Great presentation factor, will lay entirely flat, coil color options, durable

Cons: Tends to have a “corporate” look and feel

Best for portfolios that have full spreads – allows design/imagery to be viewed in their entirety

5. Saddle-Stitch Binding

Folded sheets are gathered together in signatures and stapled along the spine

Pros: Great presentation factor, will lay almost entirely flat, durable, nice alternative to perfect binding if you page count complies

Cons: Page count must always be divisible by 4

Best for portfolios that have full spreads – allows design/imagery to be viewed in their entirety

If you are looking to produce a standout portfolio that catches the attention of your future employer in Chicago or beyond, these key points will be a great starting point to ensure your portfolio is the best representation of you! Be sure to reach to us at AlphaGraphics, located on Chicago’s North side. We can be your resource for stress-free portfolio printing!

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