How many samples of my work should I keep?

Hi! I like to save samples of my work to document what I’ve done (to use them for teaching or showing examples to clients when they don’t know what they want), and I also have a collection of graphic materials that I find interesting and attractive that I keep for inspiration. I put them in folders with sheet protectors. What would be a good number of samples to save, in your opinion, for personal work? 2,3 … 5? We are talking about postcards, brochures, and publications mainly.

Whatever you’re comfortable with. Personally, I ask for four samples. One for a physical portfolio and three for the archives. I used to ask for more, but I never dd anything with them.

Maybe my kids will hold on to a few samples for posterity. More than likely, they’ll pitch everything. I’d be okay with the latter.

As many as you think necessary! You should always archive at least one. If you produce a lot of brochures or pamphlets I’d keep the ones that use different stock, finishes, inks etc.,

If all the pamphlets use the same stock, ink etc., than all your really showing clients (when you show them 2—4 examples) is the visual style. Which is nice, but variety in the finishes is so much nicer!

Plus it’s nice for reference for yourself if you ever want to use a certain stock or finish, but can’t remember—so you can pull the sample to jog your memory.

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Most printed materials are fairly cheap, so I’ve never hesitated to ask for a dozen or so. I rarely have needed that many, but every now and again, I’ve needed to cut them apart for studio photos or needed some leave-behinds for prospective clients, so they’ve come in handy and don’t take up much space.

A few years ago, I designed book for the U.S. Forest Service. The book consisted of a series of essays by various writers on the value of public lands. I asked them if I could have a few when it was printed, and they agreed.

About a month later, I get home from work and two big boxes were on my front porch. They had shipped something like 400 books to me. I called them up to see if they wanted about 395 of them back, but they said there was no process in place to return them. I was giving them away for years.

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It depends on your great work and choice. If you’ve performed so many great personal tasks, then you can save 3 best samples of work that will satisfy your clients.

But it may be 4 or 5 if your clients would like to check out and ask you to show.

Thank you! I have settled on 5 samples of each. I think that’s a good number.

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