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7 Best Tips for Design Portfolio

“So, tell me about yourself,” said the blank screen to the designer embarking on their portfolio website. Indeed, creating an online portfolio comes with its share of big life questions. It’s your chance to tell the world who you are as a creative, delving into your projects, passions, experiences, and expertise - so the stakes are high for getting it right. Not to mention, it’s what gets you hired (or commissioned).
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To help you make the right calls when crafting your shiny new online design portfolio, we compiled a list of the 7 most important things to keep in mind for flaunting your work professionally – and in style:

1. A portfolio is just like any other design project
2. It’s all about the presentation
3. Quality over quantity
4. Build a website that’s easy to maintain
5. Don’t overlook written copy
6. Give credit where credit is due
7. Get found on Google search results

01. A portfolio is just like any other design project

A common mistake in portfolio building is to “let the work speak for itself.” But a good portfolio is more than just a showcase of your past work. Your portfolio as a whole should culminate in an experience that tells a story, just like any other of your design projects.

When designing your online portfolio, remember that your website is often your visitors’ first impression of you and your work. Go for an engaging and sophisticated website that speaks volumes about your design skills by applying your web design capabilities and personal sense of style.

02. It’s all about the presentation

Rather than uploading a few exported files, bring your work to life with visuals that show the bigger picture. Take the time to set up a photoshoot of your projects. This is especially relevant for industrial design portfolios, but is also good practice for illustrations and other graphic design works. Think of your color palette, props, and settings by creating interesting pictures that capture the essence of your work.

03. Quality over quantity

Cramming everything you’ve ever done into your personal portfolio may be tempting, but most employers would advise you against it. Pick only your absolute best pieces to show, trusting them to shine bright and impress site visitors. We recommend no more than a total of six to ten projects.

Showcasing a limited amount of projects allows you to present each one thoroughly, including all the relevant details and clearly explaining their backstory. Go beyond finished pieces alone by creating casestudies, walking visitors through your design process – from the initial objective to the final results. While this is especially common in UX designer’s portfolios, it could also be beneficial in other areas of design. You can include work-in-progress pics, preliminary drafts or anything else that can contextualize the work and add to your visitors’ understanding of the project.

04. Build a website that’s easy to maintain

Your portfolio website is meant to stay with you for the long run, and you don’t want to start it from scratch every couple of years. On the other hand, you also need to keep it fresh with new content and styles every once in a while, to best reflect your creative development.

Build an online portfolio that’ll be easy to get back to for updates and revisions down the line. Make your portfolio website easy tomaintain by saving your font and color themes, your page layouts and other presets.

05. Don’t overlook written copy

Text is just as much a part of your portfolio as are your visuals. Expertly craft the written copy on your portfolioin order to amplify your message, keeping your writing style in tune with the general vibe of your site. Don’t forget to double check for spelling mistakes and typos, ensuring a professional and presentable website.

As for the text itself, be sure to add your name and specialty straight on the top fold of your homepage. This way, visitors will know who you are and what you do immediately upon entering the site. For each of your project pages, add a title and a short textual description that explains the reasoning behind your design and puts it into context.

06. Give credit where credit is due

Acknowledging the hard work of everyone involved in your projects by giving them their well-deserved credit is a common courtesy you shouldn’t neglect. And from a less altruistic standpoint, it highlights the fact that you’re a great team player.

Make sure to mention by name those who helped make your work possible in collaborative projects, and add photo credits for pictures that you didn’t take. Additionally, explain what your part was in projects where your contribution was more limited. Remember that it doesn’t detract from your role in the project – it simply explains it better.

07. Get found on Google search results

Your beautiful work deserves to be seen online – and the best way to go about it is by upping your SEO game (or ‘Search Engine Optimization’). By following a set of simple rules, you can work towards improving your design portfolio’s ranking on Google search results.

Some of the best practices for improving your portfolio’s SEO are filling in metadata for your images and pages, choosing a good domain name, and making sure you use strategic keywords that Google will associate with your site. We recommend consulting with the webtrickerfor a free personalized SEO plan.

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