Certified portfolio advice: Jeff Sylvester

We asked industry leaders to share their experience when it comes to making and critiquing portfolios.

Becoming CGD Certified is monumental in boosting any creatives professional career. Part of the process is preparing and submitting a killer portfolio of your work. We asked industry experts to share their experience when it comes to portfolios. 



Jeff Sylvester, owner at Cut & Paste


We don’t need to see every little thing.
Only include what’s relevant — the work you are truly proud to show off. It doesn’t necessarily need to be “real” work. We want to see work that best demonstrates your process and creative ingenuity.

Stand out.
Make it original. Try and stay away from using psd mock-up templates that everyone else uses, unless you want your portfolio to look “off the shelf”. 

Show your strengths and be honest.
If you have a talent for illustration, we want to see that, but if it’s not one of your strengths, it’s best to leave it out. A thoughtfully designed magazine spread and a good grasp of typography is a talent not all illustrators possess. Show us what you’re good at and be honest with yourself. 

Take the time to design your portfolio.
There is nothing more telling than someone who doesn’t take the time to lay out their portfolio and resumé in a clean and thoughtful way. It’s frustrating to see well designed projects get sloppily thrown together in a portfolio. I sometimes have a hard time looking past that.


Listen to your gut.
If your gut tells you something doesn’t belong. It probably doesn’t.

Keep it brief and impactful.
A rule of thumb for us is to include no more than twelve pieces in your (physical) portfolio. It shouldn’t require more than that to show what you’re capable of. Direct them to your website to see more.

Why I’m CGD Certified
I feel that a CGD certification is important as it separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. In a competitive industry like ours, I feel that it does give you a leg up.



CGD Certification

With CGD at the end of your name, you are able to more effectively establish your credentials and spark discussion with your clients about professional design. 

Find out how you can become certified.