Creating an online portfolio is an effective way for designers to showcase their work. A great online portfolio will show your potential to future clients and employers.
As a designer, I also know how challenging it is to create something so personal. You’re your own client now–usually the most challenging client of all. I’ve designed many concepts for my online portfolio only to never actually publish it. But, sometimes you just have to screw self-doubt and just do it. In this article, I’ll show you five helpful tips for creating your best online portfolio.
1. Have A Purpose
As with any web design project, you need to get down to the core purpose of this portfolio. This will help guide you as your mocking up the design. Below, I’ve listed three portfolios types that I usually see within the design industry:
- The Job Seeking Portfolio is designed for one purpose–to get a job. With this type of portfolio, you’d focus on your past experience and work that would best relate to the job you’re seeking. You might also include any relevant education. A cool feature to include in this type of portfolio is a button for visitors to download a PDF version of your resume.
- The purpose of the Reputation Building Portfolio is to build your name within your industry. This type of portfolio is typically designed as a gallery that showcases your best work. You might even share your design process. Or, even share tips with others on a blog or via social media sites linked to your portfolio.
- The Multi-Purpose Portfolio is a combination of the job seeking and reputation building portfolio. This portfolio includes some or all elements from the two portfolio types listed above. Sometimes, designers might also create multiple portfolios using a variety of different portfolio websites. Having multiple portfolios helps prepare designers for different situations where a certain portfolio type is needed.
2. Know Your Clients
Every designer has their own unique style, whether its minimalistic, edgy, conservative or whimsical–it’s yours. The beauty of owning your particular style is that you’ll be able to attract your ideal clients. Figure out what you want your ideal client to see when they visit your portfolio. Want to work with sophisticated corporate companies? Design a clean, conservative portfolio.
3. Keep It Simple
Great portfolios don’t show a lifetime’s worth of design work. Only the best of your design work should be showcased. Think of your portfolio as if it were an art gallery. Only a select few of your best work would be on display. I’ve found that keeping your portfolio design simple is best. For most visitors, “simple” is easier on the eyes. Maybe even use the 80/20 rule– 80% of your portfolio should be visual and only 20% should be text.
4. Keep It Organized
Most designers are not one-trick ponies. We’re multifaceted! For example, I’m a web designer, graphic designer and front-end web developer. But, I’m also a writer, photographer and a videographer (thanks to my blog, YouTube channel and day job). If you’re a multifaceted designer, it would be a good idea to organize your work based on the different types of work you’ve done.
5. Shamelessly Self-Promote
As the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. No matter how extraordinary your portfolio is, if you’re the only one who knows about it, it doesn’t exists. It’s so important for designers to promote their portfolio. Even if you feel like your portfolio isn’t the best, someone (out of 7 billion people) is bound to admire it. I would be lying if I said my first portfolio was amazing–as a matter of fact, it was horrible. But, that didn’t stop me from showing it off to some important people. Looking back, all I can do is laugh and cringe. But, I’m proud at how much I’ve improved since then, and you will too. Now, what are you waiting for? Share your portfolio with your friends, family, on social media and anywhere else you cant think of!