If you're a graphic designer you know that having an online portfolio is essential to your design career. Whether you are seeking employment or attracting new clients, people will almost always request to see examples of your work. Its unavoidable! An online portfolio quickly demonstrates your credibility as a designer.
When I ventured out in search of my first design job I made sure to invest time in creating a clean professional online website. This allowed me to direct potential employers and clients to my work and ultimately land numerous job interviews and freelance gigs.
This week I want to share my personal experience and process for creating my online portfolio. Let's jump right in!
#1 – Research
Like any design project, my journey began with research. Some great websites that I turn to for design inspiration are Behance and Dribbble. By looking at portfolios of other designers I was able to quickly create a list of my top favorite website layouts.
#2 – Choose A Web Platform
Next, I needed a website platform that would allow me to build my portfolio quickly and easily without the worry of HTML code. My top choices: Adobe Portfolio, Cargo Collective, Squarespace, WordPress, Wix.
Squacespace has an impressive selection of portfolio templates. I like their simple, clean, minimal design options and began working with a template called Avenue. When selecting a design template, it's important to keep things clean and simple. You want your work to take center stage – I'd suggest avoiding templates that are over-complicated or too busy.
A responsive design is a must have. Your portfolio should work on various screen sizes including desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Not only will your website get a boost in search rankings but your visitors will enjoy a better user experience.
#3 – Upload Work Samples
When selecting items for your portfolio, quality trumps quantity. I'd recommend no more than 8-12 of your best projects. Unless you specialize in a specific area of design, the more diverse your projects the better you will be able to showcase your capabilities and range of skills. With short attentions spans, people take only a few quick seconds to glance over your work. If you're not making an impression, your visitors will be in and out quicker than you can say lickety-split.
Do not upload flat representations of your work. Provide context through the use of mock-ups. Mock-ups can easily add professionalism, sophistication and dimension to your work. Click on the link to my previous blog post on the Best Mock-Up Websites For Graphic Designers for some excellent mock-up resources.
I also provide a short 2-3 sentence description of each project with my portfolio. Explaining your thought process, concepts, struggles and solutions can help generate a greater appreciation and understanding of your work.
#4 – Create a Short Bio
Don't be shy! Placing a photo and a brief description about yourself will give the impression that you're a real human. Keep things brief, and maybe share a little about your journey as a designer and your future aspirations. If you have a dog or like to take long walks on the beach. Great! Do whatever it takes to make yourself relatable.
How can you be contacted? Include some form of further communication, a phone number or e-mail will work. I setup a simple form for visitors to fill out which directs all messages to my e-mail and helps to prevent annoying spam.
#5 – Publish & Promote
Congrats! Your portfolio is finished. Think again…an online portfolio is useless if no one is looking. Share your website with the online design community and seek feedback from other members. Promote your website on social media and get the word out to family and friends. You never know…you may end up with a call for an job interview or gain a new client.
A portfolio is never really finished. Make sure you continue to update your portfolio with new and better work. If you haven't created anything portfolio-worthy in the past six months you need to refocus your efforts and get back on track to creating awesome!
What are some of your experiences, successes or struggles with creating your online graphic design portfolio? Maybe you're looking for feedback? Feel free to post your comments and portfolio link below.