This post is sponsored by Blurb.

Do you know Blurb? I first wrote about them in 2008 — not long after they had launched. Blurb is an independent, creative book-making and self-publishing platform, and they’ve been innovators in the book-making space for a decade. And I’ve been a fan for just as long. Recently, they reached out to ask if I had ever created a portfolio with their super cool tools. I hadn’t. But I looked through the inspiration on their site — tons of unique book projects by Blurb’s community of photographers, designers, and creative makers — and suddenly I really, really wanted to be holding a portfolio in my hands asap.

I immediately reached out to Amy Christie — if you’ve been reading Design Mom for awhile, you know she’s my crafting guru — and threw out the idea of a book full of Design Mom Projects. Not a DIY book with instructions and how-tos, but instead a record of the amazing work we’ve created over the years. 

Amy was all in, the project is done now, and friends, I am so pleased with this book. We filled 148 pages! And it doesn’t even contain every single project. We could have added at least a dozen more. For me, looking at it is pure joy. There’s so much work I had forgotten about. So many favorites that had faded from my view. And then, just the sheer numbers. I mean what an accomplishment. I’m so proud of Amy and Design Mom and what we’ve created.

And I’m not sure how to express it, but it’s a game changer to see it all in book form — about holding the work in my hands. I suppose when work is digital, taking up no weight or space, sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much you’ve actually produced.

So I’m here today to encourage you to make a record of your work. You don’t even have to call it a portfolio if you don’t want to (because I know that can imply you want to use it to get more jobs). You can just make it for you. No one else even has to see it and it will still be worth it.

Whether you are a designer, a photographer, a painter, an illustrator, an architect, a crafter, a typographer – you are an artist. And having a record of your work, something tangible that you can hold in your hands, really feels like a big deal. 

And the nice thing about using Blurb to make your book, is that it was designed from the ground up with professional creative in mind. It’s based on the tools creatives already use, like InDesign and Lightroom.

The whole thing is really simple. You sign up, you pick a format, you upload your photos. You can pick from lots of sizes. We chose a really generous 12 x 12 format and I love seeing the larger than life photos. Next, you can move things around, switch layouts at the touch of a button, add text wherever you like.

If you’d prefer to work offline, they’ve got you covered. You can even download their free, professionally designed templates, or create the whole thing in InDesign. The templates are thoughtfully designed, so you can work quickly.

I also need to tell you, the quality is seriously remarkable. Gorgeous heavy paper. Vibrant printing. Hard back covers with printed sleeves. The materials are top notch, and pulling the book from the package is pure joy.

Something different about Blurb (compared to other book making companies) is that they offer self-publishing and the ability to sell the books you create, giving fans access to your work. Their tools make it easy to create photo books and magazines in print and digital formats, and then you can sell the books on Blurb, through Amazon, through Ingram (a major distributor used by thousands of bookstores), or in Apple’s iBooks store. For inspiration, check out some of the cool book projects created by Blurb’s community makers here. You can order 1 or 1000, and the more you order, the better the rate.

Don’t think of yourself as an artist? I would still recommend creating a book of things you create — you could use Blurb to make a portfolio of the recipes you’ve invented — or maybe more fun, to make a record of the recipes you’ve tried! You could use Blurb to make a portfolio of your child’s artwork, and help them take their work seriously. Or maybe you could make a book of the outfits you’ve put together.

Sidenote: it’s so fun for me to see the real life objects next to the photos in the book. Can you believe how good the color is on the printing?

Anyway, all that to say: I’m so glad we now have a book of our work. It may never be looked at by anyone but me or Amy and I wouldn’t care. I hope you are able to make one for yourself and take the chance to acknowledge whatever it is you spend your time creating.

Now it’s your turn. If you were making a portfolio of your work, what would you feature? Make the plants in your garden that you tend so carefully? Pages from the bullet journals you fill? And do you consider yourself a creative? Or an artist? Personally, I believe everyone is creative, and I think we as a society tend to define the term “creativity” too narrowly? Do you agree?


Credits: Photos by Amy Christie.