Our Guide to Portfolio Season

by Cass Art

Portfolio season can be a nightmare, the stress of compiling and displaying your cherished work plus the inevitable bus or train journey to get to your favoured university could equal one mess of a student! Here at Cass Art, we want to make this tough time as easy as we can for you, so it’s our pleasure to present The Student Guide to Portfolio Season.

Step One

Pick a portfolio

Size really does matter. Most BA courses will accept an A2 portfolio, but it’s best to check the requirements with the college or your current tutor. Cass Art offers a range of suitable options from £12.95 to £55.00, it’s often a good idea to invest in your portfolio as they can last you a long time. We have our own range of portfolios designed with students in mind: ring bound with a 2 year guarantee, made from recycled materials. This applies for our deluxe leather-look version too.  Student discount is offered on all of our own brand products so you’ll receive an extra 15% off using a valid code online or card in store.

Step Two

Fill it with sleeves

It’s recommended to use portfolio sleeves that have a matte finish. This is because the light fittings in universities and colleges are often fluorescent overhead lamps. This means an extra glossy sleeve will reflect this, rather than letting the work be the focus.

Sleeves can also be tricky because different portfolios have different fastenings on the spine – some with varying amounts of rings or hole punches.  Cass Art’s own range of presentation sleeves are made from medium-gauge PVC, their non-stick surface means your work won’t be trapped or damaged when it comes to unveiling your portfolio. They also work perfectly with our Cass Art portfolios!

Step Three

Choosing your paper

The paper you choose to mount your work on tends to be totally dependent on the nature of your work. Across the board, it’s recommended that you choose a crisp white heavy weight paper to let your work do the talking. Try Cass Art’s heavy weight pads of cartridge paper in sizes A4 to A2. There are 25 sheets per pad so you’ll have plenty of room to make mistakes. If your style is generally of quite light and subtle, then it could be an idea to choose a darker paper so your work stands out, such as the black range from Canford. Talk to your tutor and your classmates to see what other students decide to do. Brief annotations for your sheets are typically required too, choosing your font style, size and colour is yet another hurdle when creating of your portfolio. Helvetica, size 10, dark grey is the common choice, being the most subtle yet legible type.

Step Four

Mounting your work

Once you have all your images printed and cut to size (best to use your current college’s guillotine for this or a scalpel knife and cutting mat) it’s time to mount. Measure for the centre of your pages using a light pencil line, mechanical pencils are great for this because they never go blunt. Use either double sided sticky tape or spray mount to secure your images to the sheet. Spray mount is fantastic because you can reposition your photograph for up to a whopping 12 hours, if you didn’t get it right first time, without damaging a thing! The only drawback is obviously that you have to use it in a well-ventilated area. Use a putty eraser to remove any excess glue or pencil marks, it’s the softest you can get so it won’t tear, crease or mark the surface.

There you have it! Slide your sheets into your sleeves and clip into place inside the portfolio. Remember to label your portfolio with your name and telephone number and your application for an arts degree is all set.

Cass Art wishes lots of luck to all students facing Portfolio Season this year!

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Image Credits

The Artist's Portfolio, Pont Aven, Paul Gauguin, source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Layered paper, ARTMNML

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