Tips for Creating a Graphic Design Portfolio
When done well, a creative’s portfolio should influence and surprise the viewer, representing how you and your work will be an invaluable asset to the viewer, whether that be as a full-time member of staff or on a freelance basis.
There are lots of varying views on exactly what a design portfolio should contain but there are some golden rules and theories that will set you in good stead when putting yours together. Read the tips for creating a killer portfolio.
- All killer, no filler
This should really be common sense, but you’d be surprised how often it isn’t followed. Only ever show your very greatest work in your portfolio and if you aren’t 100 percent happy with the outcome then don’t feature it.
It’s fine to show a creative journey through your work but people don’t want to see way back to your college years and the old adage that ‘you’re only as good as your last job’ should spring to mind.
It’s often hard to self-edit, but it’s significant to be quite ruthless when selecting the work to safeguard that all of it is up to scratch and of a standard that you’re happy with. More can also be learned by going through a Graphic Designing Training in Chandigarh and enhancing your skills.
- Start and end with key pieces
To begin with, a really strong killer piece that will grab people’s courtesy, and then finish on a similarly striking talking point that will leave them wanting more.
It’s easy to see how this can apply to a traditional print portfolio, but the same thinking can be applied to an iPad folio or indeed a simple PDF add-on in an email.
- Leave Them Wanting More
As mentioned above, it’s significant to leave the viewer wanting more, especially on the early application as you don’t want to arrive at a meeting or interview with nothing left to talk about.
Also, remember not to overdo it in definite areas of your portfolio. If you’ve done some infographic work then feature a few key pieces and then show something different, the last thing you want is to bore someone with 100 instances of the same kind of work.
- Get an Online Portfolio
There is simply no excuse for not having an online portfolio in this day and age, even if you are mainly a print designer. You don’t have to know any code to take advantage of the features that sites like Cargo Collective and Square Space offer, not to mention an abundance of readymade and beautifully designed WordPress themes. Not overlooking the social portfolio platform behemoths, Adobe Portfolio and Behance.
Cargo is a platform allowing creatives to quickly set up an online portfolio and customize it by editing the CSS or HTML
If you do wish to edit the look and feel of some of these sites then most let you edit the HTML or CSS directly and it only takes a conversation with a code-savvy friend to learn the (very) basics. Or failing that, Google is always your friend.
- Let the work speak for itself
Don’t be attracted to over-embellish your online portfolio (or printed portfolio for that matter). Let the work to do the talking by making projects easy to view in large formats. SAWDUST’s site is a great sample of a clean online portfolio that’s easily navigable and puts the work at the forefront.
- Curate for the job you want
If sending out a PDF sampler or curating your portfolio for an interview, always make a modified selection of work each time that’s tailored to that exact client.
Although it may be the thing that you’re most proud of, a potential corporate client probably isn’t fascinated by the experimental fashion shoot you’ve just worked on. This applies to whole collections of work on websites as well; only show the kind of work that you want to get commissioned for or hired to craft.
- Self-initiated work
Potential employers are also interested in seeing you flex your creative muscles and express your individual voice, to the point that I actually saw it specifically stated as a requirement on a job ad.
Including self-initiated work helps the employer to see where your passions lie and the kind of work that you’d choose to do if not limited by a tight client brief. Also, unless you’re at a senior/art director level then it’s sometimes tough to tell how integral a role someone played within the creation of a large project, and whether or not they were working to severe guidelines and design systems.
- Choose the right format
To iPad or not to iPad. The general agreement is that the traditional print portfolio is jobless when attending interviews and that displaying work on an iPad is a much easier, suitable and contemporary way to display your work.
Perhaps a boxed folio of the actual printed matter is better for the traditional leather flip book. There’s nothing wrong with a PDF on an iPad or indeed a keynote presentation, but when dealing with a print I think wherever possible it’s nice to see the actual parts and feel the tactility of the product.
It makes sense that printing out digital projects is a pretty useless activity, and photo shoots and illustration both look great on iPad, but if you’ve been working with dissimilar paper stocks and finishes it’s nice to see those pieces in the flesh. Eventually, use your common sense and select the best format to display the kind of work that you produce.