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Creating a Portfolio for Graphic Designers: Do’s and Don’ts

Creating inspiring portfolios may be the biggest challenge graphic designers face, but it doesn’t have to be that stressing. Read our tips on how you can create a designer portfolio.

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How to Create a Designer Portfolio

Let’s say you’re a creative designer or an artist trying to showcase your work. Since you already put countless hours and effort into the creation of your unique pieces, you may expect the process to get a bit straightforward from now on when it comes to getting your creations together and preparing a catalogue for potential clients who want to work with you. We hate to be the bearer of the bad news, but that’s simply not the fact.

Getting your work together and creating a portfolio is equally important for attracting new clients and making your unique style seen, especially if you are a freelancer trying to get a creative gig in a competitive market. And for designers, be it a freelancer or not, a successful portfolio can be even more important than your past job experiences or study records. A strong online presence can become a must for graphic designers since a CV or a face-to-face interview can never be expressive enough to convey your unique style and show your potential clients what you can do to create or further improve their visual worlds.

So expectedly, a portfolio works as a business card for designers; if you don’t have one, clients will not know what you bring to the table when applying for a job. But as we stated, it’s not just having ‘a’ portfolio that will instantly persuade clients to choose you over your competition; the portfolio also needs to be a successful one. You may be asking, though; What is a successful portfolio? And here’s exactly where you’re going to find that out. In this article, we tried to show what makes a portfolio creative and tell how a freelancer can create a successful portfolio that will work in the best way possible.


Best Way to Showcase Your Work: A Creative Portfolio

When telling a story, there is a universally accepted golden rule on how to transfer emotions, thoughts, senses, etc. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ And since designing can be seen as a way of creating a certain visual world according to the story a brand or an individual is trying to tell, we can say that the same rule applies in the world of creative design.

So, if a rule is important when creating designs for your customers, why wouldn’t it be important as well when putting your past works together to precisely transfer your vision to your potential clients? That’s why bringing all your past design works on a website together and calling it a day is not always enough. And that’s why your vision and visual expertise that make your works unique need to persist all through your portfolio website.


Creating a Portfolio for Freelancers: Do’s and Don’ts

Being a freelancer in highly competitive markets such as web designing or creative design constantly requires one to be on the lookout for well-paid and high-quality jobs all the time. Because of this necessity, having a portfolio that answers your needs and easily attracts new clients bears great importance for freelance designers.

First things first, to create a portfolio, you’ll first need a domain and a website to host your portfolio. After you’re done creating a website for your portfolio, you are free to get as creative as you want as long as you portray your works in a consistent and meaningful way. But when possibilities are endless, making a decision becomes impossible. So, you can start by gathering inspiration from the portfolios of people from your line of work. As you get familiar with more and more people’s websites, you’ll probably start to see common themes and details that are persistent in some of the best portfolio examples. After noticing that you probably spent more than enough time browsing through the portfolios of people from all over the world and taking notes of some of the best ideas you encountered, you can get on with your own website.

One of the essential points of preparing a portfolio is to choose the works you want to include in your website. While choosing the works that will define your vision for the customers, you can think of yourself as a vendor and your portfolio website as the display glass of your works. Being overly extensive will both harm the vision you want to convey and lead your clients to lose the focus of your works. Instead, try choosing works that visually complement each other and showcase your expertise in your field. Also, if you are a designer that works with brands from various industries, include different works from different brands to give the visitors a hint about the scope of your designing capabilities.

Another detail you’ll want to focus on is to give additional information about the works you are displaying and what you have achieved with them. In other words, turn your design work into case studies and tell them as success stories. With every work on display, give a brief overview of who the client is, what the order was, and how your works performed when the client used them. By including stories on how you helped your customers and which challenges you overcame, you can easily give your potential clients the sense that you are the right solution for their needs, whatever they may be.

Finally, don’t forget to update your portfolio with your recent and relevant works. Since you wouldn’t want to buy from a store that displays outdated goods on the show glass, regularly updating your portfolio shows that you’re putting a lot of care and work into your designs.


Creative Designer Portfolio Ideas

As you delve into the realm of amazing portfolios from all over the world, you’ll see that everyone is going for a unique look to differentiate them from their competition. That’s because the portfolios act like online identities for designers, and no one wants to get lost among countless similar portfolio websites. Even though these examples don’t all belong to designers, if you are to look into portfolio websites of Dima Kutsenko, Dani Wolf, or Quentin Goupille, the first thing you’ll notice will be the fact that the sky's the limit when imagining a portfolio.

After that, you’ll see that the designs for the portfolios always fall under the same visual realms as the artist’s or designer’s works. While Dima’s minimalistic website serves a great role in showcasing their simplistic images, Dani’s simple design filled with quirky details radiates the same energy with their works. So, we can easily say that besides what you put together to show your clients in order to express your vision, how you put them together is equally important in creating a consistent and successful portfolio.

Artboard Studio is an online mockup generator software that lets you easily create and edit mockups for your designs. So, if you're a freelance designer that is looking for ways to save time and finally focus on creating a visually pleasing and impactful portfolio website, Artboard Studio may be the perfect aid for you. With Artboard Studio, you won’t need to download any additional software to create mockups of any kind ranging from website mockups to clothing item mockups, just by using your web browser. If you’d also want to save time while creating mockups, you can start using Artboard Studio now for free!

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