If you’re looking to become a graphic designer, you’ve probably realized that you’re going to have to show potential employers your best work if you hope to score an interview. If you have examples of designs you’ve done that have been printed, you can (and should!) bring a physical portfolio with you when pitching your ideas for a project or going after a job opportunity. Developing a showstopping graphic design portfolio doesn’t have to be difficult! Read on for our top design industry tips for crafting a graphic design portfolio that will stand out to potential employers.
WHAT IF MOST OF YOUR WORK IS DIGITAL?
To get a job in the design industry in the past, all you needed was a top quality portfolio book, a printed resume, and a handful of business cards. While those things are all still great assets to a job-seeking designer, today’s graphic designers will find that they need to add a little something extra to their arsenal: an online graphic design portfolio.
An online graphic design portfolio is important not only because it can be a virtual extension of your physical portfolio that you show to potential clients and employers, but it can also be found by anyone searching for you or for designers with work like yours.
How can you build the best possible online graphic design portfolio?
LOOK BACK ON THE PAST YEAR OR TWO AND SELECT YOUR BEST WORK
The goal of an online portfolio is to showcase your unique design style, process, and visually demonstrate why clients should hire you. The number of projects in your portfolio isn’t as important as their quality and your ability to describe and ‘sell’ them to someone. It is a much better idea to carefully select and lay out the details for five projects than to try and cram in 15 projects without being able to spend much time on any particular one.
If you’re not sure which of your projects tell your story and embody your unique style the most, pick out the work you might want to include and ask a friend or colleague to look over the first round picks. Side note: don’t be afraid to include projects completed while in graphic design school, they can be just as effective at proving talent as client work can be!
USE GOOD PICTURES TO TELL YOUR STORIES
It might seem like a huge “Duh!” moment, but you’d be surprised at the number of creative professionals who don’t use high-quality images to represent their work. With so many possibilities in the variety of presentation methods available to designers today, there is no excuse for not using the high-res version of a photo, or putting up a full-size version of your latest digital creation.
Equally important is the information you include about each piece in your portfolio. The details are what sell your work, and it is through this information that a potential client gets a sense of how you approach a project. Often we hear that the designer who has the better story is the one who gets the job!
PRACTICE THE K.I.S.S. PRINCIPLE WHEN ASSEMBLING YOUR PORTFOLIO WEBSITE
The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly) Principle applies to your graphic design portfolio and should be adhered to whenever possible. In the design industry in recent years, there has been a huge movement towards minimalist design and design that focuses on contrast and the use of white space. We’re not saying that you have to strip your portfolio down to bare bones, rather we’re saying that for many prospective clients and recruiting agents, less is more.
You want to let your work shine and be what catches the eye of anyone landing on your portfolio’s homepage.
REFRESH YOUR PORTFOLIO OFTEN
Once you’ve created an awesome portfolio and published it through your website, you might think that you’re finished with it. Not so! The best portfolios are those that are updated often—at least a few times a year, you should revisit your site and take down any work that doesn’t represent who you are and the kind of work you want to do in the future, and add any new work that showcases you in the best light.
Who knows, you might land the best client in the world just by carefully curating your work and updating your portfolio every once and a while.
An important thing to remember is that your online portfolio is not an archive for examples of every project you’ve ever worked on, nor is it a place to post scraps and unfinished pieces. These things are best left to a blog (which can be associated with your portfolio site) and left out of your main pages.
Your portfolio is an important money-making tool, and can be the difference between feast and famine for you and your career. Prospective clients will be viewing your work to determine if you are a professional capable of delivering the results they need. The sooner you start looking at your portfolio as a vital asset to your design career, the sooner you’ll find yourself in the running for some truly amazing projects.
BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO AT AN ACCREDITED GRAPHIC DESIGN SCHOOL
F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Web Development And Graphic Design Program will give you the tools to become a graphic designer in just 11 months. From a faculty made up of experienced design industry professionals to a broad spectrum of courses and a dedicated Career Development department, we give students access to everything they need to succeed in the design industry, both in class and on the job.
If you’d like to know more about our Graphic Design and Web Development school, please give us a call or send us an email! Our admissions team are standing by to answer any questions you might have.