Designer Shows Off His Big Talent in the World’s Smallest Portfolio

Michael William Lester's great little idea

Michael William Lester, a London-based freelance designer and illustrator, isn't afraid to think small. We're talking minuscule here, people!

Lester created "The World's Smallest Portfolio," a self-promotional piece that is 24 millimeters wide by 19 millimeters tall. That's barely the size of a postage stamp. The project originated as a brief from Jelly London for the D&AD New Blood Festival, challenging students to get people talking about their work.

"They say the best ideas fit on a Post-it note," Lester tells AdFreak, "so I decided to take it a step further, seeing how little could tell the most."

What was his work process like?

"I had to be very selective, as the ideas had to be extremely sharp and quick to understand," Lester says. "I then ran about 100 print tests to get it right. I printed it on my little home printer, as I didn't want the quality to be that sharp, in order to get that nice ink-bleeding texture when magnified. I hand-bound it, packaged it and voilà."

His itsy-bitsy book features art and single lines of copy on facing pages. For example, an eyeball-like rendering of the Brazilian flag is accompanied by the text "Monitoring the World Cup in Brazil," while an illustration of a reporter's notepad, its top sheet flapping like a cape in the wind, is captioned, "The reporter as a hero."

Lester, who has done illustration work for IBM and U.K. charity Water for Africa, says he's bowled over by the reaction to his tiny portfolio. "The project has over 5,500 views on Behance, and 1,100-plus appreciations, as well as 70-plus comments. I really didn't expect it. It's been a bit crazy."

It just goes to show that when it comes to building some buzz, size doesn't matter—as long as you've got a big enough idea.

Via Design Taxi.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.