A design portfolio is a collection of items that show what you can do.
It’s like a resume, but instead of just showing your qualifications and skills, it also shows examples of the work you’ve done in the past.
A great graphic design portfolio will demonstrate to potential clients that they can trust you with their project.
You’ll need it to show your work, showcase your skills, expertise and personality and give employers reassurance that they can trust you with their project.
What is a strong design portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of items that show what you can do.
This could be anything from your work history, to examples of the work you’ve done, to your skills and qualifications.
A great graphic design portfolio will demonstrate to potential clients that they can trust you with their project.
It’s important to make sure that your graphic design portfolio is up-to-date and well organized so that potential employers can easily browse through it and find the information they need.
For example, are you a brand identity designer or a creative director? Create a portfolio website.
Work stand out!
What should a design portfolio include?
Employers want to know that you can do the job they’re offering, and a good way to show them is by including work samples in your graphic design portfolio.
These need to be well-presented though you don’t want employers thinking that you’ll make a bad impression on their project because your portfolio is messy or unprofessional.
You should include all your qualifications and show examples in website categories of any design work you’ve done, like:
- Logo Design page
- Print Design page
- Website Design page
- Landing Page Design page
- Packaging Design page
Note: this is the best thing about a portfolio website because employers aren’t limited to what you can do based on what they see they will know that if they hire you, you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure their project is completed well.
You should think about making your customers’ life easier.
How to organize your content for easy browsing by customers
Whether you are a web designer, an art director, an illustrator or a branding expert, it’s important to make sure that potential employers can easily look through your portfolio and find what they need, so you’ll want to consider how you will organise the information.
You could divide the sections of your portfolio website up based on whether it is skills or work samples, for example:
- Your bio
- Your case studies
- Your creative process
- Your design process
- Your showcasing work
- Your skills
- Your work history
- Your education
- Your expertise
- Your contact information
This will make it easy for potential employers to quickly find the information they need.
Another way to do this is by dividing your portfolio into categories (eg. Graphic Design, Web Design, Writing).
This will help you a lot if you’re a T-shaped designer, with skills as a product designer, brand identity designer, website designer, graphic designer, creative director, etc.
Also, this will help customers see the range of work you are capable of doing.
Why it’s important to keep your portfolio website up-to-date and organized
Keeping your portfolio up-to-date and well organized will show employers that you care about your work and career.
Employers want to hire someone who is reliable and capable of doing the new job, so they’ll be impressed if you show them that you’re passionate about what you do by keeping your designer portfolio updated and in tip-top shape.
Tips on how to make sure that clients can trust you with their project when they view your portfolio
This will help them know that they’re making the right decision about hiring you!
When potential customers are looking through your physical portfolio or online portfolio, they will want to be reassured that they’re making the right decision in hiring you as their graphic designer.
One way to do this is by including content (such as portfolio images) that will help them trust you.
This could be anything from explaining your process for working on a project, to providing testimonials from past clients.
Having this content will help clients know that they can trust you with their project and that you’re the right person for the job, and get exactly what they need.
Non-client work is OK (also for a creative director)
Non-client work is something that you should think about before you show your portfolio website to clients.
Some people might not want to hire someone if they know they are doing other things, so it’s best to be upfront with them about what you’re working on.
It will also help them trust you because they’ll know that your focus is on the work they’re hiring you for.
What should I put in my design portfolio?
Do you want to impress employers and customers with your work with just a few clicks, but don’t know what to include in a design portfolio?
Whether you are a freelancer or a design studio, a well-rounded design portfolio will show clients that you are the perfect person for the job.
Clients want to see a record of your past work so they can gauge your capabilities and also personality.
Qualifications and skills
First off, it’s important to have your qualifications and skills at the top of your resume.
Potential employers will want to see that you’re qualified for the position they’re hiring for before they continue browsing through your designs.
Next is work history – this includes the perfect example of past projects as well as explanations of how long it took you to complete each project.
Keep these items organized so it’s easy for clients to find what they need when looking through your own design portfolio.
Next, it’s time to show off your best work.
Show off your best work
Give clients an idea of the quality they can expect from you by showcasing projects that are similar to what they’re looking for.
Also, include content that will reassure employers that you’re the right person for the job – this could be process information so clients know what you do when designing a project or testimonials from past clients so your employer knows how much other people have enjoyed working with you.
When potential employers view your portfolio website, they want to know that you are professional and capable of completing their projects to the highest standard.
Include all of these features in your graphic design portfolio website and watch as employers flock to your designs!
Do you need a physical design portfolio?
It’s important to have a portfolio that’s easy for customers to navigate.
This means having all of your work histories in order and updating it with new work regularly.
This means that it would be better to focus on an online portfolio, rather than a paper portfolio.
The physical portfolio is also difficult to show when dealing with customers living on the other side of the world.
This can often happen, especially if you offer your graphic design services outside your own country.
Most creatives have moved from a paper portfolio to an online portfolio, precisely because the design is a digital service that can be offered worldwide.
Stay current with your portfolio website
If you want to impress potential employers with your work, it’s important that you keep your portfolio up-to-date.
This means that each time you complete a job, you should add it to your portfolio immediately.
In addition, be sure to delete old projects from your portfolio after they’ve been added so that there isn’t any confusion.
Showcase the design process
When creating a design portfolio, one of the most important things to showcase is the entire process. This will reassure clients that you are capable of completing their projects to the highest standard.
Include information about how you approach a project, from start to finish. This could include sketches, wireframes and final designs.
This will help clients understand how your creative mind works, and they can see that you have a solid understanding of the design process.
When clients know that you have a strong grasp of the process, they are more likely to trust you with their project.
Make sure to update your portfolio website regularly with new work, so employers and clients can always see your latest skills and designs!
Make your design portfolio website interesting
Your design portfolio should be interesting to look at – if it’s boring, potential employers aren’t going to enjoy looking through your work.
Use typography that is easy to read and colours that are bright or will compliment your work.
Not only will this make the portfolio website aesthetically pleasing, but it also makes certain routes of navigation more obvious to the reader.
If you’re using a lot of images in your own portfolio website, using a coloured background will make it easier for readers to see which images are clickable within a page of the website.
A very popular trend now among most designers and creative directors is the use of the dark mode, i.e. the use of black background in the online portfolio.
If you do not feel comfortable with the dark mode, you can always opt for a lighter theme: always remember to give your site the right amount of white space.
Another idea would be to use a pastel palette (you can find more inspiration on websites such as Dribbble and Behance).
Including interesting design choices in your portfolio site is key in making sure that potential employers stay interested until the end!
Can you create a portfolio with no experience in graphic and web design?
It is possible to build a portfolio website without any experience in graphic and web design.
If you don’t have any previous work experience in the real world, including relevant coursework or projects that show off your skills.
You can also include writing samples that show your ability to communicate with businesses or other designers.
Practice makes perfect, so keep building your design skills and soon you’ll be creating a portfolio that employers can’t wait to check out!
One of the most frustrating things for employers is an illegible portfolio website, so make sure to use large, high-resolution images.
Potential clients should be able to zoom in on your work without compromising its quality, which means that if they’re viewing your portfolio site on a computer screen it should be at least 1MB (and the bigger, the better).
If you’re including images of physical products, make sure to take high-resolution pictures from all angles.
This will show that you have put in the extra effort to create a portfolio website that is easy on the eyes and looks professional.
Should you use video in your own portfolio website?
Using video in your portfolio website is a great way to allow potential employers and clients to see you speak about your projects.
It also allows the viewer to hear how you speak, which can give them a better idea of what it would be like working with you.
However, too many videos will take up valuable space on your site and might cause clients to lose interest.
How many pieces?
Including one or two short videos that show off your skills and explain your process is the best way to go!
Make sure the pieces flow nicely from one to the next
When creating your portfolio, make sure that the pieces flow nicely from one to the next.
This means that if clients are reading through your work, they should be able to understand the story that you’re trying to tell.
Your work should also be easy to navigate – use headings and subheadings to help break up text and show how your portfolio is structured.
Finally, make sure that your work is meaningful to clients by including case studies of completed projects, using images created in the real world.
If you include examples of real products, services or businesses you have worked with, this will allow employers to see that you are capable of working in the industry!
Where can you find graphic design portfolio website inspiration?
Looking for design portfolio examples?
Check out some of the best design portfolios and showcasing case studies on the internet, for example:
These are all great resources and features for finding high-quality design work and are mostly connected to most designers’ online portfolios.
Make sure to take a look at the work that other creative designers have included in their portfolios, as you might find some new and interesting ideas and a clear example of what to include on your own website!
With these simple tips, you should be able to create a design portfolio that will impress employers and convince them that you deserve to work on their projects.
Where should I host my own portfolio?
It might seem like a good idea to host your design portfolio on your personal website, with a custom domain, but if you’ve already got clients and employers contacting you as their next designer it’s probably best to use an external service.
This will help keep all of your important information secure while allowing potential employers to get in touch with you – the right designer – quickly and easily!
A good idea is to create a graphic design portfolio website, using one of the website builders like:
Wix is a website builder that allows you to build your own site using both custom and pre-made themes.
What are the benefits of using Wix?
Wix offers 1,000s of responsive website templates for all designers to use.
There are multiple different layouts available, which means that it should be easy for you to find the right look and feel for your portfolio website.
Wix also offers a wide variety of features, like built-in SEO (search engine optimization) and social media integration, that will help you get the most out of your website.
Squarespace is another website builder that allows users to create their own portfolio websites.
As well as offering products that are similar to Wix, Squarespace also offers ecommerce tools that can be added to your site, allowing you to sell your work directly from the page!
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to create your own website, without having to learn to code!
What are the benefits of using WordPress?
One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is the large community that has formed around it. This means that if you get stuck or need help, there is likely to be someone out there that can assist you.
WordPress is also a very stable platform, meaning that your website won’t go down – or need frequent updates – like it might on other platforms.
Weebly is a website builder that is designed to be easy to use, even for those who have no experience in web design or development.
What are the benefits of using Weebly?
Weebly offers users a wide range of templates to choose from and all of their templates are fully responsive, meaning they will look great when used on all types of devices.
Weebly is also known for offering one of the best-organised and easiest to navigate portfolio websites in the industry, helping you stand out from the crowd and showcase your design work in a way that makes it easy for employers to see what you can do!
Cobiro is a social media management platform that allows users to create and manage their own social media accounts, as well as provides insights and analytics on how well your social media campaigns are performing.
What are the benefits of using Cobiro?
One of the biggest benefits of using Cobiro is that it allows you to track how your social media campaigns are performing.
With this data, you will be able to see what type of posts get the most engagement, as well as provide metrics for your clients on how their campaigns are doing!
You can read our in-depth guide to the best website builders.
Do graphic designers need a portfolio?
Whatever you prefer, having an Internet portfolio is essential for growing your client list at all levels when you are promoting freelance design services.
Now that you know how to create design portfolios, make sure to keep them up-to-date!
You want your portfolio to reflect your current skills and showcase your best work, also in an engaging way!
Remember, potential employers will be looking at the quality of your designs – if they see something that looks unprofessional then they might not be willing to work with you.
Once you’ve got your portfolio up and running, be sure to keep it fresh by adding new pieces of work regularly!
Add your personality, add a new page in the portfolio website when you have new work done, create a new example of a non-client work if needed.
So, do graphic designers need a portfolio?
The answer is yes! Having a design portfolio is essential for growing a client list when you’re promoting freelance design or design studio services.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, why not check out some more information on how to become a graphic designer?
Good luck in creating an amazing design portfolio!