As a rookie web designer, your portfolio is a way that you can turn your creativity into lucrative projects. With an outstanding portfolio showcasing your design skills and past work experience, clients will better understand your capabilities and consider hiring you.
But what if you’re a newbie with no experience? How do you effectively create a web design portfolio that attracts clients to work with?
Relax, we all got to start somewhere, and don’t worry too much about your absence experience! In fact, while you need a portfolio to entice clients, you don’t necessarily need clients to make your web design portfolio.
Wonder how you can create a portfolio without any prior clients? Keep on reading as we’ll guide you through creating a killer portfolio that attracts potential clients and sustains your career in this field.
What Does a Web Design Portfolio Include?
As a rookie web designer, the importance of having a portfolio at hand should be obvious. Yet, with so much competition, you need to build one that effectively catches the attention of your potential clients.
You may have been told that a web design portfolio should include your past working experiences. But, what many people need to understand is that a portfolio is not all about showcasing experiences.
Instead, a portfolio should have a unique selling point that gives potential clients or recruiters a clear sense of your personality as a designer. As a result, they can better understand whether or not you are the right fit for the project or position they’re hiring for.
In order for you to make a compelling portfolio that lands you lucrative projects, you may want to copy the strategy from experienced web designers in showcasing their capabilities by adding the following information to your portfolio:
Every portfolio should start with a self-introduction. Keep this section short and simple by providing your name, your working objectives, your design school or any relevant educational background, and why potential clients should work with you.
Though many experienced web designers add photos in the self-introduction part, it’s optional. The more important thing is ensuring this part is engaging and leads potential clients or employers to pay attention to your portfolio.
Successful web designers feature their experiences in their portfolios to showcase the projects they’ve completed for various clients. Typically, the more recognisable the client’s brand is, the more effective the designer’s portfolio will be in attracting new business.
Working with notable clients builds up the designer’s credibility as they will show their audience that they have been trusted to create effective web designs. Aside from looking attractive, effective web designs should solve tangible problems, and they’re evidenced through case studies.
A case study is an essential part of this section. Hence most web designers will also incorporate compelling storytelling in their case studies. They may, for instance, explain how their designs have increased conversions, sign-ups, visitors, and many more.
It may seem obvious but an effective web portfolio must include the web designer’s contact information. They do this so that potential clients or employers can easily get in touch with them.
Having multiple contact points like an email and contact number allows web designers to be easily contactable. Potential clients or recruiters may ask them questions, request more samples, and set up interviews or meetings. It also streamlines a job application follow-up and keeps the line of communication open.
Web designers create portfolios as a way of self-branding, aside from showcasing their work ethics, skills, and experiences. You can copy this strategy by including links to your social media channels, such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Medium.
However, simply adding these links is insufficient to make an impact. You’ll need to ensure that your social media channels contain relatable content, such as personal projects or your thoughts on the web designing field.
By doing this, you can enhance your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential clients or recruiters and give them a better understanding of who you are before they meet you in person.
What Will a Web Design Portfolio Highlight?
A web design portfolio’s purpose is to showcase designers’ skills and experiences. However, saying that it proves one’s capabilities and knowledge of working in the field may be insufficient to give you an in-depth understanding of what it highlights.
For instance, you may be wondering what would spark the interest of potential clients or recruiters into hiring you.
Attain a better understanding of what clients or recruiters are considering while looking at your portfolio and leads you to get hired, as we’ll explain below:
Web design is a matter of usefulness, easiness of understanding, and how it creates a better user experience. Though designers are aware of these factors, they may have their own unique design tastes.
Potential clients or recruiters, on the other hand, also have their own design preferences. These preferences often align with their brand personas, and they may wish to keep them consistent. As a result, they usually hire designers with similar tastes as theirs.
From this, it becomes clear that being hired for a web design position is not just a matter of distinguishing between good and bad design. It also depends on the uniqueness of the design, which is something you may want to hone to stand out as a web designer.
Time management skill
A web design portfolio usually consists of case studies aside from working samples. Case studies entail storytelling about the project details and how the designer delivered the outcomes for the clients.
A web design portfolio typically includes both working samples and case studies. Compelling case studies should provide a detailed story of the project, including the timeline or schedule of the task.
From this, potential clients or recruiters can better understand the designer’s work ethic. They can identify the designer’s approach to delivering outcomes that meet the planned deadlines.
Dealing with client’s requirements and skills
Most clients have a vision of the final design looks. It could be the interface, colour scheme, font, and many more. They usually demand the designers follow through with these requirements and present the final output as planned.
Working based on what your client demands is advantageous as you’ll be able to provide the best results. However, your critical problem-solving skills are also needed to evaluate whether or not the client’s requirements align with their goals.
In the case where a client asks for a web design that is not aligned with their goals, web designers must be prepared to suggest alternative ideas. This creates a better professional relationship as well as shows that you’re being empathetic towards their businesses.
Working on design projects for your clients means that you will collaborate closely with them a lot. Your clients will convey their requirements and what they intend to achieve with the design, while you will be the one who is responsible for turning their vision into reality.
This is where effective communication skills are needed to work smoothly with your clients. In order to showcase your teamwork skill and professionalism, explain it as clearly as possible in your case studies.
For instance, you can describe how you facilitated the design and creation process using design thinking skills, from creating the initial design and working on the revisions, until a design that satisfied all stakeholders could be created.
Featuring your collaborative skills is essential, as it shows that you’re open to feedback from your clients. As a designer, you’ll need to take the input and work on the revisions without being upset. As a result, you can provide them with the best possible results.
How Can I Make A Web Design Portfolio If I Have Yet To Work On Any Projects?
After you’ve determined what should be included in a web design portfolio and what it should highlight, you may be wondering how to get started. Yet, the question now is how you can create one without any prior experience.
In fact, while experienced web designers need working samples to land on new projects, as a beginner yourself, you won’t need any of them to make a portfolio. All that you need is your creativity!
Yes, you read that right. Your creativity in making self-initiated projects is what gets you to have a web design portfolio that attracts future clients. Are you excited to learn more about it? Continue scrolling as we’ll delve into the steps below.
Identify your ideal clients
The first thing that you need to think of before jumping right into creating your self-initiated portfolio is to identify your ideal clients. Ideal clients are the brands or companies that you dream of working with.
You may be interested in renowned enterprises, startups, or small businesses. Knowing your ideal clients helps in turning a portfolio-making process into a more enjoyable task rather than a mundane responsibility you do merely to get a job.
Feeling delighted during the process may lead to optimal results, as you’ll willingly put in your best efforts. Although it’ll be a self-initiated portfolio, you’ll be able to prove your best capabilities and enhance your value in the job market, even without prior experience.
Building case studies around your ideal clients
After you’ve determined your ideal clients, the next step is to build case studies that revolve around their businesses. The case studies, of course, are fictional. But you’ll still need to make them appeal to the real problems.
Conducting research before writing each case study helps you in gaining a better understanding of the particular industry. Through extensive research, you will grasp the problem-solving process from start to finish, as well as other influencing factors.
For example, you want to make a case study about a startup industry that wants to add e-commerce to its website that is considered to be able to solve problems from its users. In this case, you’ll need to gather design-related information about the problem.
Ensure that your findings answer the following questions:
- What makes the issues raised relevant for both the business and its users?
- How will the website e-commerce design be a solution to the problem?
- How have other similar solutions helped in addressing the problem?
Treat your self-initiated projects as paid projects
Treating your self-initiated projects as paying ones leads to you unleashing your maximum effort to yield the best possible outcomes for your future clients. Clients would typically hire web designers to provide them with a visually appealing layout that attracts tangible benefits.
The benefits may include increased visitors, a higher number of conversions, and many others. This means that the visually enticing layout is only sufficient with carefully considering the user experience that leads users to reach the intended goals.
In this case, you can design self-initiated projects by referring to the case studies you’ve previously developed. This way, you can implement your creativity in creating the sketches while still considering the problem-solving factors.
Should I Work For Free as a Career Kickstart?
Working for free, or without earning something in return may seem an attractive option to build up your career, is a trap that is unfortunately quite common among rookie web designers. They usually take this path hoping to land a lucrative full-time or freelance position.
While it’s entirely your choice whether or not to take a pro bono project, don’t be surprised that it might leave you disappointed. Giving your ideas to clients or employers that won’t appreciate your effort is such a waste of time.
Additionally, working for free has a negative impact on the entire web design industry. The presence of web designers who are willing to produce work without fair compensation will cheapen the value of web design work and also foster unrealistic expectations amongst those looking to hire web designers.
For this reason, consider other options as your career kickstart. Let’s take a look at the following beginner-friendly alternatives:
Apply for internships
Applying for internships is our first suggestion to hone your skills in the business environment. Internships allow you to learn and apply your web design ideas to solve real enterprise problems.
The positive side of being an intern is you’ll have the opportunity to learn from other experienced employees with whom you can forge strong connections. As long as you’re eager to learn, you will benefit from their feedback to enhance your abilities as a web designer.
In addition, many internship programmes provide a monthly stipend. If you’re looking for a place to learn while also receiving an allowance, apply to a company that offers such internships.
Apply to entry-level positions
Applying for the position of entry-level web designer is the right choice for beginners with limited experience. Prior working experience may not be necessary for companies that are looking for junior web designers as long as they have the necessary skills.
In this case, you can showcase your skills through your self-initiated web design portfolio. It’s even better if you have previously redesigned website layouts of the companies you are applying to; it shows that you have interest in and familiarity with their problems.
Offer your services at a discount
Offering your services at a discount can be an alternative to starting your career as a freelance web designer without compromising your income. This creates a win-win solution for both you and the clients; they get designs at a lower rate, and you gain testimonials from them.
Testimonials have high value in proving that a web designer has a pleasant work ethic and skills that match the client’s demands, which is something you are yet to gain. By offering discounts, you can attract potential clients while still earning money to sustain your career.
However, this is not to say that you have to set predatory prices for your services. Ensure that you set an explicit agreement with your clients about the discount policy. Let’s say you’ll only provide a discount for the first project, and if clients wish to extend the contract, they’ll need to pay at full price.
As a result, you can save yourself from the disappointment of receiving insufficient compensation for the time and effort you’ve spent on creating the designs. Offering discounts for a limited time also sustains the web design field, where designers will earn their fair pay.
Reach out to your connections
In addition to applying for in-house or freelance web designer positions, networking is also helpful in increasing your chances of getting hired. Consider reaching out to your connections, such as friends, family, or peers in similar fields, to enquire about any available vacancies in their workplaces that you may be qualified for.
Often, some web design vacancies may be published internally or spread within a company only. You may find it difficult to find out without asking your connections, yet you surely should take advantage of the opportunity to get the experience you need to foster your career.
Where Can I Showcase My Web Design Portfolio?
In today’s digital era, it may be insufficient to keep your web design portfolio in a PDF file and show it manually (i.e., by sending it out through email based on a request). It may hinder potential clients or recruiters from being able to see your design skills.
Therefore, aside from learning how to create a web design portfolio, you’ll also need to identify where you can publish it digitally, which allows people to access your portfolio easily.
Here is the list of popular portfolio platforms that you can choose to showcase your skills, increase your visibility, and boost your chances to land a job even if you’re a creative with no prior experience in business settings:
Behance is a popular creative network to showcase and discover creative work. You can use this platform to display your web design portfolio and allow anyone, including potential clients, to access your self-initiated or real-case working samples easily.
One of the reasons to use Behance is that it has a simple user interface that makes it easy to use, even for beginners. With just a few steps, your portfolio document will be uploaded to your profile.
Behance also has a “Hire Page” feature that lets you notify potential recruiters that you’re open to a freelance or full-time job. You’ll be listed as an available web designer by simply filling out the availability section in your profile.
Dribbble is another creative network platform that you can choose to display your web design working samples. Its social-focused format allows you to get easily recognised by other creatives as well as potential employers.
As a popular creative network platform, Dribbble also provides a simple user interface. You can easily upload your samples in a 400×300 shot. Uploading multiple shots for one sample is also possible so that you can display it as a whole.
Most interestingly, Dribbble has several features that enable you to get higher visibility from potential clients. The “Hire Designer” page has “Designer Search,” “List my Job Opening,” and “Post a Freelance Project” features that serve as a bridge between recruiters and available creatives.
Choosing to use a personal site to showcase your web design portfolio may be more complex than using social platforms such as Behance and Dribbble. You will need to deal with the site’s domain and hosting, which requires more effort.
However, using a personal website has advantages in terms of personal branding. You can build your website the way you want and do a lot of customisation so that it will look according to your desired aesthetics.
There are several platforms that you can use to create your personal website. WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are some of the Content Management Systems (CMS) that you can choose as your site builder.
Stellar Web Design Portfolio Ideas
If you wonder how to create a web design portfolio with no previous experience, then creating one may come across as confusing. A great way to get inspiration and ideas for your own portfolio is by taking a look at the portfolios of notable designers.
Browse through different styles and layouts to find one that resonates with you and that you’d like to incorporate into your own digital portfolio, as listed below:
- Dann: A portfolio that displays different creative projects
Dann is a versatile designer with a diverse range of skills and expertise, including web design, iPhone app design, video editing, and many more. He presents his skills in an interactive digital portfolio, making it easy for visitors to navigate and explore his work samples.
For instance, if a visitor wants to explore his web design samples, they can simply click on the web design category. Inside the category, there will be several projects, along with overviews and deliverable formats.
Additionally, Dann has included links to his social platforms, including Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Dribbble, and Behance. This allows potential clients to explore his online presence and effectively get in touch with him to enquire about future collaborations.
- Owltastic: A simple one-page portfolio
Meagan Fisher Couldwell is a web designer who showcases her digital portfolio on a site named Owltastic. Owltastic has a sleek and simple appearance, with all the important information displayed at the site front.
As you scroll through the site, you can see that she presents her past projects in a 3×3 format. It’s an effective and neat way to showcase previous work with clients, as she only focuses on displaying projects that she’s most proud of.
At the bottom of the site, she invites visitors and potential clients to contact her through her email address. Overall, you can copy her strategy in building a digital portfolio that is both interactive and emphasises only the essential information.
- Inaki Soria: Curated work samples, displayed on a single page
Inaki Soria is a highly skilled freelance designer who specialises in creating visually stunning designs for a wide range of clients, both big and small. As a remote worker, he is able to collaborate with clients from all over the world.
His digital portfolio shines a spotlight on his design quality. Through compelling copywriting, he ensures potential clients that every design he creates is polished and professional.
To provide even more insight into his work, he also includes a link to his Dribbble account, where visitors can view additional design samples. This is particularly useful for potential clients who are looking for more detailed examples of his work.
- Patrick David: A uniquely designed digital portfolio
Patrick David is a web designer and developer who stands out from the crowd with his uniquely designed digital portfolio. The background of his website features Renaissance art, giving visitors a glimpse into his artistic sensibility and attention to detail.
As visitors scroll through Patrick’s website, they will see his curated portfolio of three case studies showcasing his UI/UX design and development skills. These easy-to-navigate samples give visitors an easy way to see the projects that he is most proud of.
Given the importance of social proof, he includes a list of awards he has won in his portfolio. This helps in increasing his credibility in the eyes of potential clients.
Lastly, at the bottom of his single-page portfolio, visitors can find social links that lead to his Dribbble, Behance, Twitter, and Instagram. This way, visitors can see more of his work and get a sense of his online personality.
- Virginia Orosa: Minimalist and efficient digital portfolio
Virginia Orosa is a talented UI/UX designer who showcases her design skills in a minimalistic and visually appealing digital portfolio. The portfolio is divided into several sections, including a self-description, work samples, recommendations, and contact information, making it easy for visitors to navigate and quickly find the information they need.
Additionally, she includes her social links to creative networks like Behance and Dribbble, which encourage visitors to explore her other design works. She also included a link to her LinkedIn profile, so that people can see her experience in the field.
Finally, she invites potential clients to contact her through her email address, making it easy for them to get in touch and enquire about her services. Overall, her portfolio is a great example of how to effectively present your work and make a strong impression on potential employers.
In conclusion, knowing how to create a web design portfolio, even though you’re a beginner with no prior experience in solving real business cases, is necessary to secure your lucrative projects.
It demands your effort and creativity to develop self-initiated projects, which may seem daunting at first. But with the guidance provided in this article, we hope you can seamlessly create yours that will land you a freelance or full-time job soon.
All in all, a well-crafted portfolio will only be something with your willingness to continue learning. So remember to hone your skills, be open to feedback, and keep up with the latest trend to stay on top of the career market!
What should I include in my web design portfolio?
If this is the first time that you’re creating a web design portfolio, then we’d suggest you have the following information in your portfolio:
– Self-introduction: It serves as your first impression as a web designer. It should include your name and brief objectives.
– Work samples: Work samples entail projects you’ve done in the past. It can be your self-initiated or real-case samples.
– Contact information: Contact details (e.g., email address) allow potential clients to get in touch with you quickly.
– Social links: Links to your social media channels give potential clients a better understanding of yourself before they get in touch with you.
How can I make my web design portfolio stand out?
In order to make your web design portfolio stand out, you should first understand what makes an impactful and effective one. Keep it short and simple by emphasising the samples and case studies.
How can I present my portfolio to potential clients or employers?
Presenting your web design portfolio to potential clients or employers is now easier than ever, thanks to digital creative platforms. With digital creative platforms like Behance, Dribbble, or your personal website, you can easily showcase your portfolio to a broader audience.
Need More Guidance To Master Web Design? Beginner and Advanced Intensive Design Courses Are Here To Help You Out!
In order to be able to create a one-of-a-kind portfolio, you certainly need to have the knowledge and expertise to apply qualified design principles. Self-learning can provide you with web design skills, but it usually only goes to the surface level.
It’s tricky to hone your skills by relying solely on self-learning, as you will hardly gain constructive feedback from this method. Rather than feeling stuck on your journey, enrolling in an interaction design course can be your alternative to effective learning.
With the assistance of the experts, enrolling in a design course can give you a more positive learning experience. You can get the constructive feedback you need to become a more skilful web designer.
Not only that, but joining an interactive design course will also put you in an environment of people of the same passion. The learning process will be far more enjoyable when you’re together with friends striving for the same goals as yours.