9 Tips on Creating a Potent Design Portfolio


Let it be a hard copy or an online document, your design portfolio is your professional presentation in the industry. Therefore, it is essential for students and professionals to create the right design portfolio and call it their best career calling card.

People should understand that demonstrating their expertise and best work in a simple, yet aesthetically pleasing and accessible manner is the key to unlocking the most powerful opportunities in their career.

As for this discussion, we are going to examine the tips provided by professional designers, creatives, illustrators and artists in the industry on how to revamp your design portfolio to showcase a brand new beginning for dream job hunting.

These tips are divided for physical and online portfolios, let’s initiate with the physical one.


Physical Design Portfolios


Physical design portfolios can be altered on type and requirements of the job applied, in short, a one-off paper creation. You can create multiple portfolios to cater different jobs in different companies with little fuss.


Add a breadth of your work

It’s a tricky thing to decide how many examples you should include in a physical portfolio. However, applying at a reputed company requires the candidate to fill at least 20 pages and 30 examples from his/her best work until now.

More importantly, you need to ensure that a plethora of examples are added in the folio. The breadth of your work indicates that selecting various examples, even from a single project, is treated individually.


Add relevant examples

It is important to add the design portfolio examples that are essentially suitable for the job you are applying for. Consider applying for the position of a creative director, here the role will require your expertise in planning the advertising and leading the creative process of the company. Hence, adding work of your typography and other artwork would be inappropriate.


Explain the context of your work

Designers and illustrators aren’t just hired on the basis of their creative style, but the clarity through which they analyze and narrate the creative brief is also mandatory. Therefore, you need to explain your artwork with the right context in the portfolio.

Additionally, never forget to add annotations and notes when you are talking about how and why the work was catered. Clearly examine what the brief demanded for each design example you have included, and then proceed on to demonstrate how you achieved it.


Add the besides-client work

It is a common misconception for professionals, especially newcomers in the industry that their portfolio must only consist and present the work done for clients. Some full-time jobs also welcome personal projects that illustrators do to hone their skills and for their own satisfaction.


Provide case studies

Don’t be content with the fact that a design portfolio is merely a collection of your design and art work in various projects. At the same time, recommendations from previous employers and real-life case studies on any random project throw a mighty impression on your work and capabilities.


Online Design Portfolios


Today an online portfolio is as much relevant as the physical portfolio due to the ever-increasing usage of digital media for conducting business and other professional correspondences.

The best part about an online design portfolio is that it is always available all year round, your creative shop window displaying your profile and work in the market.

However, it becomes more crucial to assure if your online counterpart is displaying the right you. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your portfolio tempting and strong enough?
  • Have you presented it appropriately?
  • Is your best work easily prominent?
  • Is it calling for enough hits and exploration?

Let’s discuss the fundamental things that should help you create the right online design portfolio.


Choose your online portfolio medium

Fortunately, there are a plethora of options for you to set your online design portfolio. If you are technically sound enough, acquire a personalized domain name and create a website on WordPress.

The best thing about WordPress is that it is an open-source CMS featuring incredible flexibility and a huge community support. Even if you aren’t technical, WordPress allows you to become one with self-explanatory steps to build an interactive website.

On the other hand, you can also set up a hosted blog on WordPress.com, in no time. Or try a little more elite through the drag-and-drop feature of Squarespace.

Furthermore, you may also use exclusive, design-based platforms such as Behance, Portfoliobox, Big Black Bag, etc. to showcase your online portfolio and acquire inspiration from countless other projects uploaded on the creative networks.

In short, there is actually no shortage of the number and types of digital mediums you choose to upload and demonstrate your work online.


Discern your aim

Prior to the step taken for building your design portfolio website, you need to realize your core purpose for doing this. Often designers think that creating and uploading a nice, thick portfolio on their profile is the end game. However, without knowing the objectives of your work you won’t be able to gauge whether it’s taking you anywhere productive or not.

For example, you can post just one or a couple of images from your work in order to acquire constructive feedback.

Furthermore, display different applications of a design and narrate some insights regarding the process.


Stay choosy

Just like a physical portfolio, avoid showing too much of your work. Remember, genuine clients won’t be seeing everything you have done, therefore, being selective is a wise move.

Emphasize on the work done for top-profile clients displaying your proficiency at the highest level. In other words, the work you love to do most which tests your aesthetical sense and technical expertise at its extreme is the real deal.

At the time of displaying your work, locate the type of briefs that you would want to encounter in the future. In doing so, you are actually also stating that this is the type of project you want to acquire more.


Curate your work vigilantly

Selecting the right examples and projects for in-portfolio display is one thing, but how well those individual items work together is a different thing altogether.

Apparently, online work needs to realize the same rhythm and systematic sense as its physical counterpart. In doing so, you tell a story and place your projects in a way that they appear sequentially and usher each other collectively.

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