How to Make a Design Portfolio? [Top 15 Tips]
Whether you are a designer, an artist, or any other creative professional, this post is for you! However, if you are not from the creative industry, the graphic design tips in the blog will help you create your business portfolio as well.
In fact, if you are looking for a design platform that will help you create online portfolios of any kind, you can do it easily with Appy Pie Design without any prior experience or expertise in the field.
Table of Contents
So, what is a design portfolio?
A design portfolio is a personal website made by creative professionals to showcase their designs, artwork, photographs, and more!
A design portfolio is more than just a way to showcase the best of your work. It is a great way to put your name out there in the digital space and even sell your work or products!
Before we move further into the blog, let’s take a look at the infographic below to understand the benefits of a design portfolio and look at the tips that can help you create online portfolios with ease.
Why do designers need a portfolio?
Any professional or a business is bound to benefit from a personal website as it gives them a space to publish their work and products. However, when it comes to designers, a personal website or a design portfolio assumes critical significance.
Let’s dig deeper and look into the benefits of making a professional design portfolio.
- Showcase your work in a professional manner
- Make an excellent first impression
- Establish a solid online presence
- Indicate that you’re more than just a resume
- Enjoy the flexibility
A graphic design portfolio, a fashion design portfolio, or a product design portfolio can help you present your work to the right audience, including future employers, in a professional manner. When you create an online portfolio, you can showcase the best of your work in a convenient way.
You can present your work in a great layout, and with each piece, you can provide a narrative that explains the design brief and your design process before showcasing the final design.
Whenever you are applying for a job or bidding for a project, or simply approaching a client as you scout for opportunities, including a web link for your design portfolio is a great way to assert your professionalism.
Creating a separate website to showcase your work indicates that you have a certain passion for your work and that you would go the extra mile for your work. You can also include client testimonials and recommendations from previous employers to make a strong impression on your future employers.
When you create an online design portfolio, your personal website will come up in the search results whenever someone Googles your name. It increases your online credibility helping you establish a stronger brand name for yourself.
You can also get your design portfolio featured on other design platforms or websites to get noticed and inspire other design aspirants.
While applying for a job, sometimes merely sending out a resume is not enough, well, certainly not for a designer. A well-designed design portfolio, whether a graphic design portfolio, fashion design portfolio, product design portfolio, and industrial design portfolio, tells prospective employers or clients a little more about you as a designer and your personality.
You can change entire layouts, try multiple visual options, and experiment with different color schemes with just a single click!
This especially comes in handy when you want to add more content, remove older content, or update the entire style of your design portfolio.
In the next section, we will give you some actionable tips on how to make a graphic design portfolio that would get you your dream design projects or the job you want!
Top tips for designing a portfolio
Now that you know all the benefits of creating a design portfolio, it is essential to understand how to make a portfolio that would get you leads and lucrative offers.
- Showcase your work as case studies
- Curate your work
- Present real-world work, irrespective of the result
- Talk about design goals
- Make your portfolio easy to navigate
- Write sincerely instead of a generic cover letter
- Consider creating a physical portfolio
- Include high res images
- Follow the latest trends
- Create a flow
- Include non-client work as well
- Include client feedback
- Showcase your design process
- Keep it simple
- Review and edit
Now, I am saying this from experience. Yes, today, I am a content creator, but I have a background in Design. However, both as a designer and a content creator, I totally understand the importance of case studies in portfolio design.
When you include case studies, you talk about the design problem faced by the company, the design process you followed, and how you solved their problem! Good quality images look great, but it does not tell your employer whether you are a good problem solver or not!
Decide what work you want to include in your design portfolio. You can make it as generic or as specific as you want, depending on where you are applying and where you want to be!
For example, if you are sure that you want to work on UI design, it makes sense to skip on any print work that you may have done! However, if you are still in the exploration phase or are unsure where your interests lie, you can include the best of your work from every genre and give your prospective employers and clients a peek into your abilities and range as a designer.
There are times when as a freelance designer or as an intern, or even as a full-time employee, you may do some really great work, however, the project does not go through for whatever reason. Do not worry about it coming across as your failure!
The bottom line is – if you like the work you did for a client, go ahead and include it in your portfolio. You can even mention the reasons why the project failed and what could have been done differently to make it a success.
Creating a flashy design is, well, great! However, would an employer really be interested in something that looks great but serves absolutely no purpose? Of course not! What they are looking for is someone who can solve problems with a design.
As you present your design, mention clearly what is the goal of the entire exercise. Why you did, what you did! For example, if you are designing a new interface or site layout, make sure that it improves the user experience, solves specific business goals, or accomplishes certain goals set forth for you.
It is better if you have first-hand data, but if you can’t, then include expert opinions or survey data that you may get your hands on!
The client or the prospective employer may get hundreds of applications in the form of portfolios. The hiring manager may have to skim through them all before they can shortlist.
A complex portfolio that needs a lot of attention and focus may get piled in the ‘not shortlisted’ category quite quickly. The idea is to create a portfolio that is easy to flip through quickly.
If you cannot design a good user interface for your design portfolio, what does it say about your talent as a designer?
Stuffy, verbose cover letters don’t really get through to the managers because they see them all the time! What works better for you is showing some sincerity in what you write. Write down what you genuinely want to say, let your passion come through the email, and make it personalized.
Let them know of your strengths and passions so that you can indicate how perfectly you fit their requirements.
Though I am talking primarily about online portfolios here, there are times when a physical portfolio makes sense. For example, when you are going for a face-to-face interview, it is a good idea to carry a physical portfolio with you to present and discuss the design work you are passionate about.
High res images can slow down a site, it’s true, but keep in mind that the screen where your audience may be viewing your portfolio may actually be much bigger than your laptop or tab!
A close-up image of the ready product, a portrait you shot, or a fashion detail helps you create drama, but that is only if you include excellent quality images. Another point to remember is that if you do not have a good camera, do not use your iPhone camera. Either hire a professional to do it for you or borrow the right equipment if you have the expertise.
I agree that it should not even be here! I mean, you are a designer. You pretty much have to stay current with the trends! But I am still saying this. A design portfolio is never a one-and-done deal!
Make sure that you keep revisiting your portfolio design and editing it as per the latest trends. An outdated design portfolio is indicative either of a lack of knowledge or a lack of initiative.
In your design portfolio, there should be a flow from one object to another. You don’t have to go from category to category, instead create a visual flow of lines, colors, shadows, and more so that your portfolio looks cohesive. Keep the images consistent on a screen so that it looks visually cohesive and appealing.
It is important to include all the paid work that you have done for your clients. However, if you have some of your personal work that you are proud of, include it in your professional portfolio by all means!
Including a variety of work widens the range of your portfolio, opening you up to greater possibilities.
Feedback or compliment from your client can give you much-needed street cred. This is great for authority building, thus helping you gain people’s confidence.
Most of your clients who were happy with your work would be happy to oblige!
Pick some of the really good designs and show the process you followed to reach the final stage. Explain briefly about the brainstorming, ideation process, show your sketches and form generation before presenting them with the final result!
When you do this, you essentially tell a story, and who doesn’t love a good story!
Adding a transition between slides or scrolling effects is nice, but make sure that you do not make it complicated. Do not add too many effects. Keep it clean and simple with no distractions.
When you make it simple with little to no effects to distract them, the viewers can click through the content on your portfolio at their own pace.
Once you have completed the entire portfolio design, it is time to publish. But, wait! Before you rush and click on the button, take a second look at the entire portfolio and figure out how you can make it even better.
Taking a look at your work with fresh eyes always bears great results for any creative professional. Your design portfolio is also a design project of a kind, and you must take it on with the same passion as any other project.
Whether you are making a graphic design portfolio or any other kind of design portfolio, the tips above can help you create the perfect one.
Whether you want to create a layout of your own or start working with a readymade template, Appy Pie Design has something for everyone!
Would you like to add something to the blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends and colleagues.