How To Take Your Design Portfolio To The Next Level
If you’re looking for new clients you’ll neat a great design portfolio to sell your work for you. This is because your portfolio provides a showcase of your best work and where you would like to go as a designer.
Research shows that up to 63% of employers will make a decision to hire you based on the contents of your portfolio.
Your portfolio really does give you the opportunity to put your best foot forward. It gives you the chance to get noticed for your work or abilities rather than our interviewing skills.
It provides an unbiased representation of the work you are capable of doing. Clients can then determine whether this fits in with their needs or expectations.
In a digital age, an online portfolio provides the opportunity to make yourself visible to potential clients. You’ll be able to use your portfolio as the first point of contact between you and your future clients.
It’s therefore crucial that your portfolio represents you. You’ll want it to contain your best work, your interests and your achievements as a graphic designer. Your portfolio is there to communicate who you are.
The following tips are here to assist you in putting your best foot forward:
Tips #1: Build your portfolio online
When you create an online portfolio you enable yourself to interact with clients from all over the world.
Your portfolio will assist you to reach a large audience. With the possibility of working online as a freelance designer, this will assist you to develop a range of new clients.
An online portfolio is extremely versatile. You can change the content of your portfolio as your work evolves and changes.
With a printed portfolio, designers would have to go to great expense to change their portfolios. A printed portfolio could only be shown to local clients who expressed interest and had to be carried around.
With the evolution of email, many designers moved into PDF format, but once again, these documents were sent to clients who had already expressed an interest. The documents are often large and clutter up email inboxes.
Creating an online portfolio is, therefore, a versatile and effective option to seek out clients before they find you.
Tips #2: Focus on your strengths
When you’re showcasing your work, take an objective look at what you are putting out there.
What do you think represents your strengths? What do you think of your projects? What does your work say about you?
Put the unique value proposition in your website header to make sure the possible clients can see it first.
Seeing your work objectively will assist you with putting your best foot forward. Your customers won’t only assess your strengths but your weaknesses. Go for quality over quantity.
If you are no longer happy with some of your work, don’t put it out there. Show your best work and your clients will see your true potential.
Tips #3: Show off your interests
When you create your portfolio, show clients what your interests are. Many clients are afraid that by presenting their interests they will be turning away work. The opposite is true, however.
Instead, you’ll be attracting clients who share your interests. This will help you to further your career in the direction you’d most like to take.
If you’re a new designer or you’re seeking to make a change into a new area of interest, showcase some of your personal work. This will give you the opportunity to show off your potential.
Tips #4: Show your clients
If you’ve worked with prominent clients then let your future clients know this. Big brands often ensure they get the talent they want. If you were that talent, let your clients know. This will boost your portfolio.
Alternatively, you can offer testimonials from old clients who you have worked for in the past. Let your clients speak for you. This will inspire trust and create exciting new opportunities.
Tips #5: Create a pattern for your viewer
The rule of three explains that when you use three different projects to tell a story of your work you can create an effective pattern to engage your viewers.
Our brain appreciates it when we see information as a part of a pattern. The smallest number you can use to create a pattern is three.
When creating a pattern with your art, use the first piece to introduce a concept. Your second work is there to confirm your concept. Your third piece of work is there to add an element of surprise.
If you repeat this pattern throughout the portfolio, you’ll engage and intrigue your viewers.
Tips #6: Caption your images
Although your art speaks for itself, it doesn’t exist in isolation. When you caption your work you’ll introduce viewers to who you were working for. Captions are also a great way to credit your collaborators.
If you’ve used specific techniques behind your designs, captioning is an opportunity to share this with your viewers.
When you caption your art, you’ll also be providing a name for your work. This will give your viewers a language to discuss your work further, should a particular piece capture their attention.
Tips #7: Provide a bio
Your viewers will engage with your art but you’ll also want to let them know who you are as a person.
By providing a bio you can share where you’ve come from, what your artistic interests are and where you would like to go in the future. Let your viewers get a sense of who you are as a person.
This will add warmth and make you seem easy to engage with.
Tips #8: Clarify your goals
Where would you like to go as an artist? How would you like your career to develop? Are you passionate about your work? If you were doing the same work in three years time how would you feel?
Your portfolio is an opportunity to attract future work. By assessing how you would like to develop as an artist you’ll be able to construct a portfolio to meet your future goals.
Tips #9: Create an overview of your work
When you’re setting up your portfolio, let it tell your story as an artist. Create an overview that puts your work into perspective.
You could set themes such as ‘illustration’ or ‘font design’ and allow your viewers to explore your work under these headings. You could also group your projects under client names.
When you upload your art online create a site which is easy to navigate. This will assist your viewers in finding work which interests them most.
Tips #10: Contextualise your work
When you show viewers your work it often helps to explain the story behind it. You could share who you’ve worked for, what the design brief was and how you interpreted the brief.
Letting your clients know how you solve problems or create visual messages can give insight into who you are as an artist. By understanding your goals and your manner of working, they gain insight into you.
If you’d like, you could allow your viewers to look into your process of creation. You could include your final product and then allow viewers to work backwards through a series of images.
You could also allow them insight into your conceptual planning or storyboards.
Where possible, allow your viewers to see any impact your work has had.
Have you won awards? Do you have any client testimonials? How has your work enabled you to contribute towards a larger project?
Have you created websites where user engagement improved rapidly?
Let your viewers see the stats. This is the kind of information your clients are looking for when seeking to hire you.
Tips #11: Design your site too
As a designer, you’re showcasing your artistic abilities. Your site provides you with the opportunity to showcase your creativity.
Your site represents you. Use fonts, color, layout, headers, contrast and logos to show who you are. Allow your viewers to create an emotional resonance. This will keep them coming back.
When creating your online site you don’t have to make it too complex. Simple designs will give your portfolio centre stage. You’ll also want your site to be intuitive and easy to use.
You could ask friends or family to give you feedback on your site before placing your links online. Is it easy to navigate/ Do they understand the content? What impressions are do they form? You could make changes or adjustments based on their feedback.
Tips #12: Add a call to action button
Once you’ve set up an online portfolio, encourage your viewers to engage. You could set up a contact form which lets them contact you. You could also encourage them to subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media.
Set up a call to action button which shows viewers how to remain in contact.
Setting up an online portfolio will assist you to showcase your work to a wide audience. This creates a flexible opportunity to showcase your work as it changes or improves.
You can add or remove trendy items to your portfolio (such as Gifs or animations) and in order to show your audience the work you’ve done and where you want to go as an artist.
An online portfolio will offer the opportunity to connect and engage with viewers, converting them into future clients.
About the Author!
Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He’s reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.