If you’re a graphic designer or aspire to be one, it’ll be a waste of your talent if you don’t know how to create an effective portfolio. You will be creating arts with no tangible results, making it impossible for you to advance your career and land prospective gigs.
Fortunately, you can learn how to create strong and engaging portfolios to showcase your design work effectively. This article will show you how to develop a solid portfolio and use it to your advantage. Continue reading to learn how to create a professional yet stunning design portfolio!
What are Graphic Design Portfolios?
Graphic design portfolios are visual representations of previous work created by graphic designers. However, it’s more than just displaying the visualisation of their results. Instead, it’s also an honour because the portfolios demonstrate the quality and dedication they put into their work.
Since most graphic designers aim to impress people with their portfolios, they will most likely put the creations they favour and set aside the ones they’re less interested in. Graphic designer portrays how they want to be perceived by potential recruiters and clients by carefully crafting their professional proof.
Due to the widespread use of the internet in the digital era, today’s graphic designers will almost certainly use online platforms to display their portfolios. It will be much easier to showcase their creations without paper – which can be messy at times.
Graphic designers can use a variety of well-known platforms. Some graphic designers prefer to create their website online, while others may use Behance, Dribbble, ArtStation, and other media.
Why is a Design Portfolio a Must for Creators?
A design portfolio is essential for creators because their work requires proof of their skillset and experience. Potential clients and recruiters will not understand how you work as a creator if you do not have a design portfolio.
Additionally, many clients and recruiters do not have deep knowledge of design. Even though you have explained in detail about your previous projects, they may have difficulty grasping the idea without the visualisation.
As a result, you will need to help better them understand your skillset and experience by compiling your previous works into a design portfolio. However, putting your previous projects altogether into a portfolio alone may not be enough.
You will still need to strategise to make your portfolio stand out and attract the attention of potential clients and recruiters. If you’re still unsure about making your design portfolio stand out, we’ll explain the fundamentals below.
Design portfolios checklist
The design portfolios checklist refers to the fundamentals that we’ve mentioned before. Many graphic designers, especially beginners, still forget to put the essential elements into their portfolios.
That omission may prevent you from attracting potential clients and landing potential gigs. Surely you don’t want to compromise your career as a graphic designer, do you?
As a result, you might want to ensure that you follow our recommendations when assembling the portfolio designs as listed below:
- Select the right platform
We previously discussed graphic designers who have their preferences regarding the platform to use. Stemming from that, you can also do the same, but make sure that you select the right platform for your design portfolio.
For example, if you want to create your website, you could use WordPress. WordPress is one of the content management systems (CMS) easily attainable for users to access. You can also take advantage of its themes, plugins, and settings. As a result, you will have a less cluttered site that does not confuse visitors.
On the other hand, if you prefer to use more simple steps, you can put your work into well-known platforms like Behance, Dribbble, or ArtStation. Furthermore, you can benefit from putting several pieces in your dedicated Instagram account and adding links to your portfolio websites, letting people know your works better.
- Display your best work
As a graphic designer or an aspiring one, you must sort your works and put your best work into your portfolio. Now you might get a little confused by what we mean by best work, do you?
So, putting your best work forward entails selecting the arts that you like the most and that you enjoy creating. The reason for this suggestion is that it will allow you to tell your story behind the work more easily, without having to fake anything.
Telling a story is an essential component of developing a strong design portfolio. We’ll get into that in a later section because this one is all about emphasising the importance of displaying your best work.
Finally, putting your best work into your portfolio does not imply that you should use true resolutions. You might want to reduce the resolution of your images to avoid art theft.
- Write a story
Many graphic designers are capable of producing eye-catching works of art. If you only rely on your ability to convey messages into your design, you may miss out on a great opportunity. Instead, you can distinguish yourself by including a story in your design portfolios.
However, even if you think your story is fascinating, you must consider the people who will be viewing your portfolios. Since some may not be experts in graphic design, you should avoid using too many technical terms. You can keep your story short and simple while still keeping everyone’s attention.
- Showcase case studies
Showcasing a case study will demonstrate your problem-solving abilities. The job of a graphic designer isn’t just to create a good design. In contrast, this field necessitates the designer’s ability to provide value through their designs.
For example, you can describe the types of briefs your previous clients provided, as well as how you turned those briefs into a beautiful and valuable designs. Finally, you can explain why you created the designs and how they will solve the problem according to the client’s wishes.
- Sort your work into categories
If you look at our previous articles that specifically describe the graphic design, you will notice several specifications in the field of graphic design itself. As a result, many experienced graphic designers will sort their works into categories based on the outcomes.
They may have previously created brand logos, user interfaces, product packaging, and many other things. Because of the variety of projects they have completed, they will categorise them separately. This step will make it easier for people to view their portfolios and judge based on different results.
- Add testimonials
Adding testimonials can take the form of comments from previous clients or companies that have worked with you. You can benefit from this step because it will increase the trustworthiness of your potential clients in your work ethic.
- Provide your contact details
The most important aspect of putting together a design portfolio is getting people to contact you. No matter how beautiful your designs are, people will have difficulty reaching you if you fail to include your contact information.
And what happens if people have difficulty contacting you? They will most likely hire other graphic designers instead of you, making you lose the opportunity to advance your career as a graphic designer.
How to build strong graphic design portfolios
As a budding graphic designer, you can build your design portfolio on online portfolio platforms by displaying your previous works. There are several platforms available as we have mentioned before, such as:
For instance, Behance is a specialised platform for visual artists to showcase their work.
It is a simple and user-friendly platform. It allows people who work in the visual field – graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, and others to build their portfolios with ease.
In comparison, building a design portfolio in Dribbble allows you to display your visual work and browse inspirations. Dribbble has a system similar to social media, and with its large community, the engagement is beneficial for artists to get new ideas while showing off their portfolios.
On the other hand, ArtStation is a user-friendly platform for displaying your design portfolio and attracting potential employment, whether freelance or full-time. However, this platform will not only benefit visual artists; it will also help anyone looking for work in the entertainment industry.
Advancing design portfolio through a website
We have previously discussed the benefits that visual designers can attain by utilising online portfolio platforms. These platforms are indeed enough to show your abilities as a graphic designer. However, most professional graphic designers will have a dedicated website as their portfolio.
Therefore, you can advance your design portfolio by creating your portfolio website. It does take more time and effort to build a website because you need to understand some technical issues. However, creating a dedicated website will help you appear more professional, aside from the complexities.
The importance of updating your design portfolios
Now that you already understand the importance of design portfolios, you will also need to understand the importance of updating your design portfolio. Without routine updates, people may perceive you as an inactive graphic designer.
What happens when people assume you’re inactive or on a break? They might hesitate to contact you, especially when they want to offer you a collaboration or employment.
As a result, you will need to keep your portfolio up to date by uploading your most recent work, whether self-initiated or project-based. Updating your portfolio regularly demonstrates your commitment as an artist to continue to grow.
Aside from updating your portfolio regularly, you will need to promote it for people to see your work. You can experiment by including a link to your portfolio website in your social media profiles, such as Instagram and LinkedIn.
Examples of graphic design portfolios
Following our discussion of what design portfolios are, their importance, and the most effective method of creating portfolios for visual artists, it’s time to look at real examples of graphic design portfolios from professional artists.
We will show examples of graphic design portfolios from a variety of artists, ranging from those who use online portfolio platforms to those who built their websites, as listed below:
- Kson Tay
Kson Tay is a graphic designer from Singapore who specialises in packaging, print, illustrations, and digital designs. She has experience working with clients from all over the world. She creates a design portfolio on a professional website to show people her work.
In addition, she categorises her work based on the type of project. As you can see, she organises her work into the “All,” “Branding,” “Packaging,” “Digital,” and “Print” columns. People will assess her abilities more easily when she divides her work based on the type of project.
- Aaron Lowell Denton
Aaron Lowell Denton is a graphic designer from Bloomington, Indiana, USA. His signature surrealist design style is well-known, as he has created posters and album covers for several musicians.
He uses a website to display his design portfolio. As you can see, he divided his website into three sections: “Work,” “About,” and “Shop.” He may appear unclear about the contact button, but that is because he is a well-known graphic designer. His potential clients will most likely put effort into contacting him.
- Shanti Sparrow
Shanti Sparrow is a designer, illustrator, and educator from Australia who resides in New York City, USA. Her design focuses on posters, product packaging, user interfaces, and book layout. She is also an active educator, speaking about the design field and inspiring many people to improve their talents.
She uses a variety of platforms for her design portfolio, ranging from Behance to a professional website. We show you how her Behance profile looks so you can get a better idea of what a talented and famous designer’s Behance profile would look like. As a result, you can take inspiration from her profile while also sharpening your design portfolio.
- BÜRO UFHO
BÜRO UFHO is a design solution created by Yana & JUN, a Singaporean design duo. BÜRO UFHO has been creating designs, identities, illustrations, 3D animations, AR, and typography for their clients since 2008.
BÜRO UFHO created a Behance profile that can inspire many visual artists looking to build their portfolios. Their work has also appeared in several Behance galleries, including Behance.net, DIgital Art, Branding, AR/VR, and Photoshop.
- Tad Carpenter
Tad Carpenter is a designer and illustrator with working experience with well-known clients, such as Target, Atlantic Records, Hallmark Card, and Kidrobot. He is also skilled at creating illustrations for children’s books.
In terms of his design portfolio, he uses a variety of platforms, ranging from Dribbble to a professional website dedicated to his design studio, Carpenter Collective. Tad Carpenter and his partner, Jessica Carpenter, are well-known for their packaging, illustration, and brand identity specialities, which you can notice in their online portfolio.
Now that you’ve finished reading this article, we hope you can have a comprehensive understanding of graphic design portfolios. Not only that, but we also want you to realise the importance of the work compilation for your career development as a graphic designer.
Since a design portfolio is important for you who is a graphic designer or aspires to be one, you have to make sure that you design it as well and as clearly as possible.
Let’s get this timing right! It’s time to unleash your creativity and take your graphic design career to the next level by creating a stunning design portfolio!