The graphic & web design fields are highly competitive. To attract clients and garner interest in your work, a portfolio is a must-have. Not only can you use it to showcase your talent and tell the world you are for hire, it also acts as a point of contact and a place where prospective clients or employers can learn more about you.
Whether you are freelancing or seeking employment in a design agency does not matter. As this AIGA article mentions, your portfolio needs to reflect who you are, include your best work and be engaging for viewers.
What Should Appear On Your Portfolio
Portfolio websites come in all shapes and sizes but most of them have the following basic information:
- A gallery page to showcase your work and show potential employers what you are capable of.
- Information about yourself such as your name, the city and country you live in, and any other information you believe might play in your favor like your hobbies and other interests.
- Your current work status and the types of projects you are looking for – whether you are seeking full-time employment, a part-time job, or freelance projects.
- Valid contact information is also necessary – be it a phone number, a contact form, or a simple email address.
While the actual layout and design of your portfolio may not be crucial, it must reflect your skill levels. There are thousands of portfolios out there, make sure yours stands out from the rest.
One thing employers are not necessarily looking for when they browse portfolios, contrary to popular belief, are pixel-perfect designs. Instead, employers want to know how you have solved problems and found solutions to complex issues. They are more interested in understanding why you chose a certain design pattern, rather than how you did it.
With that in mind, a gallery of screenshots does not say much. Instead, explain your design decisions in detail – it will be much more valuable to potential clients and employers, as they are the ones you need to impress.
Update As Often As You Can
A portfolio is only as good as the work you showcase in it. Ensure that you frequently update your portfolio to display your more recent work. How frequently you update it is up to you; Brooks Institute recommends updating it at least once a year.
You may choose to eventually remove older pieces from your portfolio, but don’t forget that employers may be interested in seeing how you have progressed over the years. Be proud of your past work, it will only make your recent projects shine even more.
Web & Graphic #Designers: Check out this @AdeccoUSA blog post on creating an online #portfolio. http://adec.co/1aDMsNF #design
How Should You Create Your Portfolio?
Content management systems like WordPress are great platforms upon which to build your online portfolio. Keep in mind that you will need your own domain name, a hosting account, and some front-end development skills to navigate PHP files and write the necessary CSS. This is obviously not for everyone, but it is the most customizable option as you retain control over everything from the number of pages, to the colors and typefaces you use.
If you prefer a simpler route over writing code and creating your own website, here are some of the top online portfolio services out there.
- ProSite is a popular and very well-featured portfolio website platform. It is owned and run by Behance, the leading networking site for creative types.
- CarbonMade was created by designers for designers and is home to over 500,000 online portfolios.
- Launched in 1997, Coroflot has grown to become one of the world’s largest portfolio website and also features an industry leading job board.
- Dunked is a relatively new player to the online portfolio scene, but the features they offer make Dunked a very capable and attractive alternative.
- While PortfolioBox is primarily an online portfolio solution, it offers a blogging platform as well as a seamlessly integrated e-commerce store.
- 4ormat is a very affordable solution for designers looking to build their online portfolio. From new website themes released monthly to a great drag and drop interface and mobile support, 4ormat is definitely a great platform.
- Even though Dribbble is not an online portfolio website per se, many designers and illustrators use the social networking site to showcase their work. Recruiters actively scour the site to find talent.
Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, as well as unique feature sets. So keep in mind that you can have several portfolio sites.