How to Build an Awesome Graphic Design Portfolio

March 10 2021

For a graphic designer, it is almost mandatory to have a portfolio. It plays a big role in landing you a dream job or to attract new clients. You may already know that you are supposed to publish your most accomplished projects but building a portfolio does not really mean putting up pretty pictures and sample work. It is a promotional tool and therefore you need to carefully design it to get the most out of it.

To build an awesome graphic design portfolio, you must pick out the items to be included in your portfolio carefully. These items you put up are likely to speak for your authenticity and credibility.

So, what should be in a graphic design portfolio?

You must have heard the adage quality before quantity. Well, it is time to apply this maxim here when you are selecting the items to show off in your portfolio. Understand that your portfolio is a public showcase of your skills so you would want to put the best of your work in it instead of putting plenty of unorganized items.

How do I make a graphic design portfolio?

To make an impressive graphic design portfolio, the following thoughts need to be kept in mind:

  1. Diversity

An awesome graphic design portfolio is not essentially a digital repository of every .psd file you have on your hand. It is the display of your best work till date. Therefore, we recommend you choose the items for your portfolio carefully. Spend a good amount of time selecting what you want to showcase and how it highlights your skills.

If you want to attract a vast audience, try to be as diverse as possible. Include those projects which are the most diverse and show a different range of skills you have. For example, instead of showing five best videos you made for a regional bank, display the website you designed for a marketing company and a print ad you designed for a charity event.

  1. Quality

Remember that nobody wants to hire a dull designer with no imagination. So choose the knock-em-dead samples of your work. Keep the right balance between quality and diversity so that the audience will know the prospective clientele you have. It will also show off the diversified skills you have. It is always good to show your clients the different niches you have worked with. It opens a window of endless opportunities for you.

Here is a tip: Choose riveting designs which demonstrate the breadth of your experience in graphic designing. Treat your portfolio as an art exhibit.

  1. Tell them the Story Behind each Sample

To build an awesome graphic design portfolio, it is not enough to just put screenshots and pictures. You need to show the clients the story behind every design you have created. You can start by simply telling the ideas or imagination you have put behind every project you have worked on. It will not only engage your prospects but it will also give them an insight into the approaches you use in your work.

Imagine you are the owner of an art gallery and you are looking for a web designer. You narrow it down to two designers and they both have gorgeous pictures of websites they have designed for an art gallery.

However, one of the designers you have finalized has taken things up a notch and with each picture, there is a little descriptive text. The explanation states the client’s goals and what was done to achieve them.

And that’s not at all! The designer has also added a detailed summary of each project in the portfolio.

Isn’t it obvious that this is the person you would want to hire, instead of a designer who has simply put up a few pictures together in his portfolio?

The key point here is to not just upload the pretty pictures. Tell your audience the story behind every project and the inspiration behind it.

Pro tip: Don’t turn every image in your portfolio into a case study. Nobody wants to read lengthy essays. Be specific but give your audience a sense of design’s purpose. Tell them what was achieved for the organization through your design.

  1. Choose a Web Platform to Upload to

So you’re done picking the spell binding samples to be included in your awesome portfolio? The next step is to choose a web platform for making your portfolio enjoyable and easy to browse.

The choice for web platform must be made on the basis of your technical skills. Most of the times, the websites used for presenting and formatting the portfolio require basic know-how. It will take you some time to get familiar with it. For example in order to format your portfolio you might need to know how to tweak CSS and HTML.

But when choosing a web platform, bear in mind that there are certain platforms which have out-of-the-box interfaces. These platforms are hard to use and require expertise as they are not easy to customize.

So if you are a graphic designer who is not familiar with coding, go with the web platform which does not require coding. However, if you have experience with coding, then go and show off your skills!

  1. Optimize your Portfolio

Even the most brilliant and awesome graphic designer portfolio are likely to fail without performing modest refinements. That is why we recommend that you put effort into optimizing your portfolio and make it easy for your targeted audience to contact yo

 When you optimize the images in your portfolio, you boost your portfolio website’s lead. In return, it generates potential for your portfolio.

Ensure that your portfolio images load smoothly. Here’s what you can do to prevent the sluggish loading:

  • Resizing: You should always resize your images before putting them on the web. Nobody wants to load thousands of square pixels just to view a thumbnail. Instead, resize your images to match the available space.
  • Compress: The size of a file can be easily tempered with. Even if you are using .png or .jpg files, you can easily change the size of an image without changing its dimension.

6. Let’s talk about Promoting

Though it is not a technical step in building an awesome graphic design portfolio, it can prove to be a very important step in maximizing your portfolio’s reach. Because if nobody’s looking at your portfolio, it’s of no use right?

You can promote your work by joining online communities of designers. Therefore, you can share your achievements with other designers and grow. The online communities allow you to easily post your work whilst also allowing you to get feedback from your fellow designers.

It’s also a great way to build your network and let people know of your existence!

How many pieces should be in a graphic design portfolio?

There’s no universal rule for the number of items that your graphic design portfolio displays. The key is to showcase your best work and present it in a manner that the great designs you have produced appear prominently.