I was hunting for an old ad to illustrate a typography point to my creative team and as I dug, I started to throw.
I threw out things that started their life as physical mechanicals. Things that were set in hot type. Things that were set by Photo-Lettering and couriered back and forth. I tossed things that never were, and now never will be, digital files.
I threw work that was laminated because lamination was the archived pdf of its day. There were cheap laminations, and fancy ones with non-glare plastic, rounded edges and felt backing.
I didn’t throw away everything. Some of this stuff still elicits a “Huh…this really isn’t bad.” Some of it smiles back at me from an earlier, sweeter moment in time. But most of it was there because it used to ride around in a large black pleather bag (hence the felt backing) trying to get me a job.
These ads were trendy-looking at some point, and now look as bad as a ‘70s haircut. Or they were ads demonstrating I had experience in a category, something we mock clients for in RFPs but have no hesitation doing for our own careers.
Portfolios, physical or digital, are no longer useful in my life. The ads that were in them no longer need to sell me or impress others or tell much of a story of any kind. The ones that still make me proud go back in the drawer. The rest can go.