5 Great Tips for Building an Awesome Portfolio

5 Great Tips for Building an Awesome Portfolio

If there’s one thing you need on your side as a graphic designer to ensure you get a steady flow of new clients then it’s an amazing portfolio.

The contents of your portfolio are there to do one thing and that’s to floor potential clients with the design skills you’ve got to offer. It’s the client’s first impression of how you operate in the creative sphere. And we all know how important first impressions are.

To make sure your portfolio is match fit and ready to dazzle clients into hiring you I’m going to go through some tips to help you achieve this.

1. Build Bespoke Portfolios

A portfolio’s pretty straightforward, right? Just stick your best pieces of work together and that’s job done, right? Because if they’re that good then it’s going to win you any project, right?!

Ah, if only it was this easy!

The fact is that every client is different and they’re going to be looking for different clues as to what you can deliver.

For example, say you’ve got a client who works in the care industry and they’re looking for some design work. And say you’ve also got a client who’s the lead guitarist in a thrash metal band.

Do you think it’s going to be productive to give each of them the same portfolio to peruse? No, you’re going to want to tailor separate portfolios with voices which will speak to each client.

It may seem a bit fiddly not having a ‘portfolio to go’, but in the long run you will clinch more projects.

2. Include 7 – 10 Projects. No More and No Less

It’s very easy to misjudge how much work to include in your portfolio, but I would always say that between 7 to 10 projects is enough.

Sometimes it feels as though you’ve got so much amazing work that you’re doing yourself a disservice by not including all of it. However, you have to take clients’ attention spans into account.

Bludgeoning a client with 20 projects is a tiring affair and it’s more than likely that the client will lose track of what they’ve viewed. Less than 7, though, and it all feels too brief and the true breadth of your talent is left untold and ambiguous.

3. Treat Your Portfolio like a Project

We’re graphic designers, people! And this should mean that even our portfolios are an expression of our creative talent!

You need to package your portfolio so that it looks like your graphic design skills are present at every step of the project. Keep the layout simple, and most of all, make sure your message is conveyed in the same manner that your great logos communicate your clients’ needs.

Don’t forget, though, that you need to make sure the projects in your portfolio are the focal point. It’s easy to overdesign your portfolio and this can draw attention away from what you want the client to see, so don’t get carried away!

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Show How the Magic’s Done

It’s important to show not just finished designs in your portfolio, but also details of how these designs were constructed.

Clients are curious individuals and want to know exactly how you operate. And by sharing the creative journey that you undertake you’re showing how you manage to go from a blank canvas to that incredible final piece.

This instils confidence in the client as it demonstrates your organisational skills and shows them how their project is likely to unfold.

5. Include an Intro

A lot of graphic designers forget to include an intro to their portfolio as they feel their work can do all the talking.

However, just titling the portfolio as Johnny’s Portfolio is a little uninspiring, don’t you think?

You’re going to want to reveal a little bit about yourself to add to the story feel of your portfolio. Include a brief background about your passions and creative outlook and you’ll find that viewers of your portfolio are engaged from the get go.

Just don’t include an entire biography or they’ll be bored before they’ve got to your designs!

Now go ahead and get to work creating the damn best portfolio you can!



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