A well-presented and professional portfolio is a key tool for any creative graduate.

In certain areas of design, such as visual communication or industrial/product design, the potential employer or client prefers to see a digital portfolio. However, in others, and depending on the opportunity offered, people do like to see the 3D tactile nature of hand drawing or materials and to handle actual products, if possible.


• Make the presentation easy to transport and carry around, try to limit your portfolio to A3 or smaller.

• Invest in a smart portfolio case that you will be proud to carry around.

• Choose a portfolio that will allow you to be flexible as to the amount of pages you use and changing the pages is easy to do.

• Make sure your portfolio is presented clearly in a way that makes it easy to look through, with uniform paper as ‘mounts’ or as wrappers to contain groups of un-mounted work, such as drawings.

• Present your work in easily identifiable sections, e.g. illustrations or technical spec drawings.

• Always include a copy of your CV in your portfolio.

• Always makes sure you have copies or images of all the work in your portfolio in case it should be lost or stolen.

• Always label your portfolio inside with your contact details in case it should be lost or stolen.


• Pick the strongest work for the front of the portfolio.

• Be ruthless in your editing and take out anything you don’t feel 100% proud of.

• Ensure your portfolio includes examples from all aspects of your work and skills – make a list and tick them off.

• Make sure the work in the portfolio is relevant to the potential employer or client you are meeting.

• Include inspiration, preliminary work or work- in-progress imagery and text. Many graduates think that potential employers and clients are only interested in the finished work or product and don’t include any inspiration, preliminary work or work- in-progress information. In fact – these are THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS for many people, as it shows your ability to translate ideas through into a finished article.

• Don’t forget to include inspiration and work-in-progress sketchbooks. You can show them if needed, or leave unopened if not necessary.

• Ask the opinion of friends, other designers or tutors about your strongest work.


• Make sure you are clear as to the ‘running order’ of your portfolio and check all the pages look right and are in the right place.

• Practice your portfolio presentation on a friend to build up confidence.

• Ensure the work in the portfolio is relevant to the potential employer or client you are meeting.


• For information on presentation skills, please read the ARTS THREAD guide INTERVIEWS – MAKING THE RIGHT IMPRESSION




You’ve done it. You’ve created an engaging promotional video which really showcases your product and brand personality. You’re excited. Ready to share it with the world and watch the conversions come rolling in. After all there’s a ton of research that shows how effective online video can be.

But here’s the rub – A lot of brands fall at this final hurdle. Why? Because many don’t understand the best place to publish their video in order to meet their objectives. Hayley Dixon Marketing Executive at vzaar tells you how to be proactive and get your product noticed.

Free services can certainly seem attractive. But then you also miss out on a lot of the built for business features that a paid for video hosting platform can provide.

Ultimately which service you go for will depend on your individual needs and goals. So, to help you out here’s a few pros and cons of each solution…

1. Branding

Every piece of content you produce should be inline with your brand image. One of the pitfalls of using a free service is that often the video player is very generic. When people see your carefully crafted content they are associating it with the hosts brand – not your own.

By customizing the player and uploading your own brand logo you maintain the professional look and feel of your website.

2. Control

It is important to remember that when you upload to a free video platform you no longer have control over the rest of the content on the page.

Links to other videos and ads are rife among these platforms – all of which increase the likelihood of your viewers becoming distracted and moving away from you and your product.

3. Support

If you are using video to increase conversions and generate revenue it’s really, really important that they stream reliably and everything works properly.

In the event of something unexpected happening it’s vital to your business that you get your videos up and running again quickly and with as little hassle as possible.

This is where free services fall short. Often help is only available on confusing support forums. If you need to speak to a real human being who can help you get to the bottom of your problem and tailor a solution just for you, professional video hosting is really the only way to go.


So, when should you use free platforms?

Free services are great if you believe you have genuinely entertaining content. This type of video excels on social oriented platform and can be a fantastic source of brand awareness as more and more people tune in to see your super funny video and share it with their friends.

Keep in mind, though, that viral videos of this nature are difficult to pull off. Unless your content (somehow) manages to strike that magical balance between humor, entertainment and sales, it just won’t pay off. The audience is there but they’re not in the right frame of mind to be receptive to your marketing efforts.

What do you think? Would you rather invest in a professional platform to help market your product, or take the functionality cut that comes with keeping costs down? The debate is open – join it here.

Hayley Dixon is Marketing Executive at vzaar, the video hosting platform for business. Created and designed for businesses who understand the impact that video has online, vzaar comes preloaded with all the tools you need to develop an effective video strategy.




This article gives you an understanding of what a trademark is, what it does, what kinds of trademarks can be registered, how to do this and the extent of its protection worldwide.

Reproduced courtesy of The World Intellectual Property Organization*


A trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. Its origin dates back to ancient times, when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or “marks” on their artistic or utilitarian products. Over the years these marks evolved into today’s system of trademark registration and protection. The system helps consumers identify and purchase a product or service because its nature and quality, indicated by its unique trademark, meets their needs.


A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Trademark protection is enforced by the courts, which in most systems have the authority to block trademark infringement.
In a larger sense, trademarks promote initiative and enterprise worldwide by rewarding the owners of trademarks with recognition and financial profit. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services. The system enables people with skill and enterprise to produce and market goods and services in the fairest possible conditions, thereby facilitating international trade.


The possibilities are almost limitless. Trademarks may be one or a combination of words, letters, and numerals. They may consist of drawings, symbols, three- dimensional signs such as the shape and packaging of goods, audible signs such as music or vocal sounds, fragrances, or colors used as distinguishing features.
In addition to trademarks identifying the commercial source of goods or services, several other categories of marks exist. Collective marks are owned by an association whose members use them to identify themselves with a level of quality and other requirements set by the association. Examples of such associations would be those representing accountants, engineers, or architects. Certification marks are given for compliance with defined standards, but are not confined to any membership. They may be granted to anyone who can certify that the products involved meet certain established standards. The internationally accepted “ISO 9000″ quality standards are an example of such widely-recognized certifications.


First, an application for registration of a trademark must be filed with the appropriate national or regional trademark office. Add link to text in bold – The application must contain a clear reproduction of the sign filed for registration, including any colors, forms, or three-dimensional features. The application must also contain a list of goods or services to which the sign would apply. The sign must fulfill certain conditions in order to be protected as a trademark or other type of mark. It must be distinctive, so that consumers can distinguish it as identifying a particular product, as well as from other trademarks identifying other products. It must neither mislead nor deceive customers or violate public order or morality.
Finally, the rights applied for cannot be the same as, or similar to, rights already granted to another trademark owner. This may be determined through search and examination by the national office, or by the opposition of third parties who claim similar or identical rights.


Almost all countries in the world register and protect trademarks. Each national or regional office maintains a Register of Trademarks which contains full application information on all registrations and renewals, facilitating examination, search, and potential opposition by third parties. The effects of such a registration are, however, limited to the country (or, in the case of a regional registration, countries) concerned.
In order to avoid the need to register separately with each national or regional office, WIPO administers a system of international registration of marks. This system is governed by two treaties, the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Madrid Protocol. A person who has a link (through nationality, domicile or establishment) with a country party to one or both of these treaties may, on the basis of a registration or application with the trademark office of that country, obtain an international registration having effect in some or all of the other countries of the Madrid Union.
For more information on Trademarks

*This information is reproduced courtesy of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

If you would like advice on specific projects, please contact our IP partner A SPACE.

A SPACE is committed to industrial development by way of creativity.  It is our belief that designs become essential instruments to bring about authentic changes in any trade.
Our job is to provide solutions to problems that arise from the use of modern day technologies, as well as options that are distinctive for the identification of any business.
A SPACE takes into account your business profile to originate a design strategy and also protects any of your intangible asset by way of intellectual property rights.




Our Q&A with Rory Dodd of Designersblock explains how a recent graduate can find the exhibition that’s right for them, the questions to ask the organisers, how to prepare for the event and how to deal with buyers, the press and the general public.

Q&A with Rory Dodd, Designersblock

Designersblock: 45 design shows in 13 cities, in 10 countries with over 1000 exhibitors from 30 nations…….and counting. See more information on Designersblock at the end of the post.


ARTS THREAD: You want to take a stand at a design exhibition for the first time – how do you choose which exhibition to show at?

RORY DODD: It’s always best to visit; nearly all the people that exhibit at our shows have either visited previous shows or know someone who has exhibited with us. If you can’t visit then find out as much as you can. Look at the exhibitor lists from previous shows and try to gauge how you and your work would fit in the context.

AT: If you go visit the show in advance of deciding, what should you look out for and what questions should you ask?

RD: Check out how busy the show is and try to work out who the audience is. Check out how happy and busy the exhibitors are. Talk to exhibitors and learn from how they talk to you, imagine yourself standing where they are and how that would feel. You want a nice busy show with lots of talking, bright enthusiastic visitors and everybody having a good show. If they’re not having a good time then the chances are that they won’t be back for the next edition.

AT: What other things should you consider?

RD: Ask as many people as you can about the shows you are thinking about and other shows. See how visible they are in the press, check out which press and make sure that you send material independently to journalists who feature the show and that you invite them along.

AT: Do I need to have an interview to be accepted for an exhibition? How does this work?

RD: Whether you have an interview or not depends very much on the exhibition, most trade shows don’t have as far as I’m aware, you apply to them and they get back to you. I think most of the trade shows have panels or a committee of some kind. We like to have as much dialogue as possible with people before a show but we don’t do formal interviews.


AT: What are the key deadlines you need to keep in mind before the event?

RD: Press deadlines, manufacturing time if you’re having things made, print deadlines for your promotional material.

AT: How many pieces should you show?

RD: Depends on the space, make sure what you have draws people in and interests them. Make sure that your photography is one of the things that you consider when you are working on stand layouts,

AT: How far in advance do you need to get a press release and images ready?

RD: As soon as possible makes life easy for journalists, PR companies and show organisers; we always say get something together fast so you have something and then you can keep updating it. Publications and websites are always looking for strong visuals. Some magazines need white background shots, so have a good range of images. Shots in environments, studio shots, close ups, details etc and if it’s relevant get a shot that you think could be a cover. Some publications or sections in magazines will only feature work if it’s available to buy from somewhere so make sure that you have all the information for anyone to feature, buy, borrow or sell your work. So prices, ranges, colours, sizes, materials, availability, stockists etc.

AT: Are there other considerations?

RD: Make sure that everything is current, up to date and that you have enough of everything; use a standard size for business cards, small ones get lost, big ones are a pain, choose a nice stock for business cards, the only graphic that we have retained is our business cards from 5 or 6 years ago simply because people like the look and feel of them.

AT: How about insurance?

RD: For trade shows exhibitors generally need to take out public liability insurance. Also generally exhibitors will need to insure their work and any valuable items like laptops etc that might be part of their presentation.

AT: Stand design? How much should you spend?

RD: The more time you have to plan the stand, the more likely it is that you might be able to get the costs down by involving a material sponsor, then you can maybe do something more ambitious with the structure. Exhibitions are good environments for material suppliers and other sponsors, so think about what you need and who might have an interest in giving/lending you things in exchange for reaching that audience.

AT: Who should I invite and how far in advance should I invite them?

RD: Exhibitions are the best backdrop for meetings and appointments so make as many you can, invite as many people as you can; if you haven’t already then start a database. Add to it every time you meet someone and spend some time looking at magazines for press contacts etc. Exhibitions are a great way of getting a lot of work done in a very short space of time.


AT: What forms will I need to complete for the organisers and what about insurance?

RD: You’ll probably have to provide some kind of method statement for your area of the exhibition, get this to the organisers as soon as you can, some organisers will advise you on things like set up, easier ways of doing things etc some won’t. You might also need your own public liability insurance, and it’s worth looking into insurance for your work and any equipment you have, especially laptops, iPods, iPads, anything shiny and portable; be super careful during set up and takedown when there are loads of people going in and out. Keep an eye on any tools.

AT: How long should it take to put up the stand? Any essentials to bring along?

RD: Bring everything that you need for the set up so that you are as independent as possible, set up can go pretty quickly so you don’t want to be spending time borrowing ladders and going to the shops. That said; check out the area so you know where you can get things if you need to, hardware/electrical/paint/print facilities etc. Have somewhere where you can store things during the set up and during the show – coats, bags, etc.


AT: Should you let people wander around the stand or go up and tell them about your work? When’s right?

DB: Use your judgement; observe how other people do it. We always say talk to people at our shows, that’s often what visitors come for. Always remember to breath when you’re talking to people. Make sure you have water; most exhibition environments will remove all the moisture from your throat within minutes. Generally the more active you are in the run up, during and after a show the more effective it’ll be for you.

AT: Do you need to be on the stand all the time?

RD: Yes and don’t come in late the morning after the private view especially if you’re looking for press contacts, some of the best journalists are there in the morning when the doors open and if you’re not there then your stuff will get nicked.

AT: The other stands – good to make friends with them?

RD: Be friends with everybody, we try and make our shows work as well for the people in the shows as visitors, you’ll find people to work with and people to show with at other exhibitions. Think about sharing stands as well, it can make life cheaper and easier for you. Think about who you could share a stand with, whether you share with people that are doing similar things, have graduated from the same course or have work that’s very different but complementary to what you are doing.

AT: The private view and (usually) a party – does and don’ts?

RD: Talk with as many people as possible. Have cards on you. Private views and parties tend to be faster than show days; there are more people in a shorter space of time and loads to distract them. Work out the really key things that you want to get across and make sure they are on the tip of your tongue. Above all enjoy it.

AT: Pricing – how flexible should you be?

DB: Be very clear. Have trade prices and retail prices, and work out bulk discounts if you can. Pounds. Euros. Tax. Delivery times and terms.

AT: Should you take images of your stand for promotional purposes later?

DB: Yes you should and if you see anyone else taking pictures try your best to get them to send you copies or get the card out of their camera then and there and get them on your laptop.


AT: How quickly should you email all the contacts made at the show? And what should you say?

DB: As soon as you can, email them and say thanks for coming, make sure that you ask them if you can send them any information about anything that they were interested in. Always give people a card at least and ask for their card if they don’t give you one straight back. When they’ve gone jot down a quick note on their card to remind you what they were like, what you promised to do or what you talked about, refer to this in any emails that you send them subsequently. Check out what they all do before you email them back and if you’re interested in what they do then say so.

AT: How can you measure if a show’s been successful for you?

DB: Good conversations to follow up, good meetings, who did you expect to meet and who didn’t you expect to meet. Sales, orders, press, learning curve, reactions to what you do, new people to work with, networking and did you enjoy it.

Image credits: Designersblock 2011

*Designersblock: Since 1998 Designersblock has been pioneering the approach of working with building owners to effectively utilise transitional architectural spaces. From launching the Truman Brewery as a major design destination with the first Designersblock show, the team has gone on to use St Pancras Station, the Tea Building and the Nicholls & Clarke Buildings in Shoreditch and in 2008 No.1 The Piazza Covent Garden and most recently the Farmiloe Building Clerkenwell for London Design Festival 2011.




There are lots of websites and video clips now freely available, offering excellent information about how to handle an interview and nail that all important job. Design education expect Joyce Thornton offers the following tips.


Once you have landed an interview, you need to do some really thorough research into the company and the position itself. Find out as much as you can. If it is a big organization, request information such as a company profile, from the marketing department or a press pack. Obviously, have a good look at the website, noting any key messages and important policies that they have.

Prepare to be asked questions relating to the company/brand’s current products, its position in the marketplace, its competitors, its history/heritage and very importantly, be prepared to be asked how you would contribute to its success. This research is hugely important and will give you the confidence to answer lots of varied questions that may be posed. Neglect this essential element at your peril!


Most interviews for a position in the design industry won’t be scarily starchy affairs but will mostly appear fairly relaxed. But don’t be fooled – how you come across to a prospective employer on the day is all-important and nowhere is this more relevant than if your job is in the image-obsessed design industry. In any interview however, image and body language are said to count for a whopping 70% of an employer’s impression of a candidate – made in the first five minutes of an interview.

Don’t forget really important but simple things such as eye contact, smiling and a confident handshake. Always aim to arrive early: you should allow plenty of time to get to the interview, allowing for all eventualities of weather, public transport failures etc.


Most jobs in the design industry are almost always about being able to work within a team and employers will be looking keenly for someone who can fit well into their existing set-up. This can take some adjusting to – as the focus of students at university or college is invariably on working as an individual. Of course employers are interested in your individual qualities – but be prepared to talk about your excellent communication skills and cite examples of how you have previously worked well in a team.


This can takes up a large chunk of the interview , but aside from showing your talent, you must be prepared to talk enthusiastically about your work. Consider what you are going to say, and practice showing your portfolio to a friend or family member prior to the actual interview. Remember that there will be other candidates who also have good portfolios – so make sure that you stand apart from the crowd through your memorable presence at the interview. Be very careful however, not to drone on with a long story relating to every page or project, otherwise you will be memorable for all the wrong reasons! Keep it snappy and relevant and remember interviewers have limited time to spare.


When showing your portfolio, listen to the questions and wait for them to finish before answering. However, if they don’t ask anything – talk them through what you enjoyed and felt you learned from particular projects. On no account stay just silent as the pages are turned! It’s worth remembering that research has shown that the way you say something, including the tone of your voice, is generally reckoned to be even more important that what you actually say. Try to portray a lively personality without going over the top: aim to come across as open, honest and confident.


There will definitely be time allocated for this, usually at the end of the interview, so make sure you have something ready. Prepare some relevant and intelligent questions, but these do not have to be too involved or complicated – you could start just with asking about the team you may be working with, and what the day to day duties will be. Obviously you will want to know when a decision will be made about the position, and how a successful candidate will be notified.

Remember, research and preparation are the keys to success. Good luck!