Building a graphic design portfolio can feel overwhelming, especially if you are new to the field or don’t have many samples to provide. A solid portfolio is crucial for any graphic designer, as this is often the first thing a potential client will see when selecting potential applicants. This is why designers must have a portfolio that accurately represents their unique skills and previous experience while also aligning with a client’s creative vision. Below you can read more about how to make the perfect graphic design portfolio to help you secure a new position.
Invest In Your Brand
Some of the best ways to invest in your brand are to create business cards or a logo for your design services. While a portfolio is meant to reach potential clients or employers and showcase your unique experience, it is also an excellent way to present your personal creative vision. It’s essential to put time into your work and meeting clients’ design needs, but it’s just as crucial that you allow yourself time for personal projects and creative expression. Investing in your own brand will help to merge your identity as an artist with your graphic design career and show others that you are professional and driven in the field.
Highlight Your Unique Skills
Personal branding is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience and secure clients or full-time employment. Many designers shy away from talking highly of their skills or focusing on their brand, but this is crucial to success as freelancers or company employees. Graphic designers should design their own logo, branding materials, and website to add a personal touch to their portfolio.
Focusing on your skills is also an excellent way to highlight specializations in your portfolio to ensure you find a role that works with your career goals. This is especially helpful for graphic designers that want to work in a niche area, like UX Design, UI Design, or video editing.
Try to Tell a Story
One of the best ways to personalize your portfolio is to have the content follow a story-driven format that works to establish your identity as a graphic designer. Essentially, this means that having a narrative arc or structured format for your portfolio allows potential clients and employers to understand your personal insights on past projects.
Graphic designers should familiarize themselves with storytelling terms like thesis, narrative arc, and conflict. While you are not writing an actual fiction story, a portfolio that feels like a natural conversation may be more relatable than a standard pitch.
Volunteer with Nonprofits or Charities
If you are new to the graphic design industry or need a way to boost the content in your portfolio, reaching out to a nonprofit organization or charity may be beneficial. It’s common for these organizations to need marketing content but lack the ability to compensate a full-time employee. Reaching out to the HR manager can not only provide you with an opportunity to craft content for your portfolio but also helps the community. If you want to work with a local nonprofit and offer volunteer design services, search for options in your area to find the best fit.
Research Different Platforms
There are countless platforms available to host your online portfolio, which is why it’s crucial designers research the options to determine which is the best for your expertise and career goals. Some designers prefer to develop their own portfolio websites if they have coding knowledge, while others prefer to use more standard sites like WordPress or Squarespace. Another popular platform is Adobe Portfolio, as it provides both hosting and unlimited pages per website. Adobe Portfolio has the ability to integrate with Lightroom and provides sleek templates for those who need additional help with the coding portion of their website. There are ample options for customization to ensure your site fits with your brand and unique style as a graphic designer.
When researching the different hosting options, be sure to consider the pricing and features provided with your subscription. Will you need a custom domain name? Are you looking to design the layout yourself or choose from preexisting templates? These are all crucial factors to consider when making this investment for your graphic design career
Use a Simple Format
Using a simple and organized layout for your online portfolio may seem obvious, but it can sometimes be challenging. It’s common for designers to try and provide as many samples as possible in their portfolio but this can leave the webpage feeling cramped or unorganized.
Choosing a hosting platform that has template layouts is a great way to ensure there is a logical flow and presentation to your samples though designers with coding experience may opt to develop their own web pages. There are countless providers available, though designers looking for portfolio templates should check out the options from Behance. The site has a variety of different templates and color schemes available to choose from, with many options being free or affordably priced. Designers with coding knowledge can use platforms like WordPress to host their portfolio, though there are also templates available to use as well.
Join a Design Challenge
Working to build a graphic design portfolio can be stressful and may affect a designer’s creative process. One of the best ways to spark your creative thinking and craft content for your portfolio is to complete a design challenge! There are countless different design challenges online from renowned companies like Adobe as well as smaller organizations that have daily prompts for designers to follow. Completing a design challenge on your own doesn’t have to be stressful, as it is merely an opportunity to get your creative thoughts flowing and spark ideas for portfolio content.
Starting a career in graphic design can feel like a challenge when you need to build a portfolio during or right after completing classes. You may not have a lot of quality work to add to your portfolio, but following these helpful tips can make the process much easier. Taking graphic design classes is another excellent way to gain content for your portfolio and learn additional skills in the field. If you are new to graphic design and want to learn fundamental skills and complete hands-on projects from home, live online graphic design bootcamps may be an excellent choice. One of the easiest ways to sign up for one of these immersive courses is to search for graphic design bootcamps in your area.