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Tips for making a great portfolio

January 06, 2020

There are many debates concerning the portfolio value in designers’ careers. Some say that portfolios aren’t necessary, while others believe it’s a must-have for everyone. What are the main points you should think about when creating a website, and how to make a great one? Before making your internet presence, you should consider one big question: do you need a portfolio, and what purpose will it have?

The portfolio is required if:

You need a strong showcase

A portfolio is necessary if you are in a position where you must show your work experience and design work. Most of the time, freelancers need to show their previous work to get the job — that’s when a portfolio comes in help.

You are applying to a design position

Sometimes, when looking for a job, you will need to present your portfolio link. It usually happens when the position is entirely new, and there is a need for companies to understand your experience. A clean portfolio always works like a charm.

You got a lot of exciting projects

There will be a moment when your projects would not fit into your head. To not forget anything important — portfolio is the best way to keep your work and not get lost in many different design files.

The portfolio is not required if:

You’re just starting out

If your design career started only a while ago, it is okay not to have a collection for your work. The best thing you can focus right now is to make as much quality work as possible and later on publish it on your portfolio.

Social media works fine

There are many working examples when great designers rely on popular showcase platforms. For example, Dribbble has a feature to display your work as a portfolio website. Behance, for example, also offers a way to show your work without any portfolio creations.

Big experience in design

If you are counting your decades in the design background, most of the time — portfolio would not be necessary. If you are doing everything, alright, your experience will speak instead of your work.

Know your audience

The first step of creating a vast portfolio is to understand where your potential clients come from. Your clients may come from different sources: from mouth-to-mouth (when Joe tells Kim how great a designer you are), or from social media platforms where you post your work and cats daily. The formula is simple: if you get clients from any sources already, you should continue working on them and continue gathering the traffic.

Plan your budget

When considering having a portfolio, you need to look at your budget. There are a lot of different ways you can create a portfolio, and the cost of creation varies from almost zero to hundreds a month. Also, there are many different paid showcase websites such as Dribbble. Anyways, it is always the best choice to create a WordPress website with a portfolio feature. In the long term, it will cost you less and gather more traffic on the way. Click here to learn more about creating a WordPress portfolio.

Pick the right theme

There are thousands of templates when creating a portfolio. When selecting one, you should focus on the template loading speed. John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, mentioned that websites should load fast, and everyone’s aim should be less than 2–3 seconds. Also, check if the template is easy to edit for yourself. If you aren’t experienced enough with WordPress, the best way would be to select a website builder tool, like Zyro.

Prepare unique content

The best way to represent your design qualities is to make enough case studies of your work experience. No matter how many designs you’ve created before, it is essential to leave a story behind your every creation. By explaining your design thinking, you will unlock a lot of possibilities to work with potential clients — because they will believe in your work, the same as you do.

Conclusion

There are a few different answers to the question of how to create a great portfolio. Looking at the point that many designers already have their presence listed somewhere — you might need to step to the next level and deliver something that has not been delivered yet. Differently, you might not need the portfolio at all — sometimes, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook profiles will work just fine to present your work and job experience. However, if you are planning to rock the world with your fantastic portfolio — understand your audience, always plan your budget, pick the right theme, and explain the content you upload. That’s the key to the ultimate portfolio.


Written by Benas Bitvinskas who lives and works in Lithuania 🇱🇹 building impactful things. Learn more about me