Young creatives gathered in two dozen cities around the world this week (May 20) to have their work reviewed and receive advice from some of the industry’s most highly regarded creative directors. It was all a part of ADC’s 13th annual Portfolio Night, and through our global partnership, Shutterstock was there — from Shanghai and Tel Aviv to New York and Dubai — too.

To celebrate this event, we reached out to some of the judges to get insight into what they look for in a great portfolio. See their illustrated tips below!

Wes Phelan
Creative Director at Johannes Leonardo in New York

“Less is more. Always put your best pieces in your book. Quality beats quantity.”


Thomas Yang
Deputy Executive Creative Director at DDB Singapore

“Ensure your first work/ project in your portfolio is the best among the lot. Wake them up and keep the momentum going.”


Go Sohara
Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson Japan in Tokyo

“Simple, inspiring, and human are always the keys for good ideas. And it’s same for your portfolio.”


Brian Lovell
CEO of Red Interactive in Los Angeles

“We’ve seen candidates customize their portfolios for us. This isn’t mission critical, but it can be a good way to stand out.”


Alex Brunori
Regional Executive Creative Director of Publicis Middle East in Dubai

“Your portfolio is like a Game of Thrones episode. It has to start with something great, keep the interest high throughout, and end with a WTF!”


Bart Cleveland
Founder of Job Propulsion Lab in Austin, Texas

“Show what you can do, not just what you’ve done.”


Peter Little
Creative Director of Ogilvy and Mather South Africa in Johannesburg

“Show off your skill. The crafting of the idea is as important as the idea.”


Nisreen Shahin
Creative Strategist of Hatch Concept Studio in Dubai

“Awesomeness is in the details. Make it pixel perfect.”


Fadi Yaish
Regional Executive Creative Director of IMPACT BBDO in Dubai

“Your portfolio should reflect the diversity of your abilities.”


Balázs Pőcze
Creative Director of Mito in Budapest

“A portfolio isn’t a bedtime story, so don’t put anyone to sleep. It should be like a strip show, where every page reveals enough to keep the audience hanging.”


At each Portfolio Night event, attendees also had the opportunity to draw on our trademark “viewfinder” napkins, vying for the chance to be named the global #PortfolioNight sketch winner! (Prizes included bragging rights, a $200 gift card, and the opportunity to have their sketching skills highlighted in this post.)

This year’s winner is @nashaification, a.k.a. Lynnasha Galbreath!

NapkinSketch Winner 2015

Lynnasha graduated from University of Kansas with a BFA in Visual Communications, and she’s currently a creative design intern at Barkley in Kansas City, MO.

Have a portfolio tip (or an awesome sketch) to share? Tell us about it in the comments below! Plus check out more helpful tips for building your portfolio: