Regardless of whether you are a designer freelancer or an entrepreneur who offers various services, graphic design included, it’s essential that you present your work to the world properly. Obviously, the times they are a changing, which is precisely why your main portfolio today will be online. There are many ways to showcase your work on the Internet in this day and age, from using platforms such as Behance to creating your own portfolio site or a portfolio page within your business website.
Your portfolio page will show the clients just what they can expect when working with you. In that respect, your portfolio can make or break you. In the end, it’s not your experience and resume that matters but what the clients can immediately see. This may not be the fairest thing in the world, but more often than not, it’s the way things simply are.
That said, make sure that your portfolio page stands out from the rest. For starters, it should make YOU proud before anyone else. But, as you want to impress potential clients, there are some tips and tricks you may want to remember.
Know your goal
In order to create a great graphic design portfolio page, you need to pinpoint the main objective behind this practice. After all, not everyone wants the same things. Also, the way you showcase your works can affect the way your clients will perceive you. You don’t have to limit yourself in any way but the objective you come up with will help you focus on the best presentation of your creative work. In that respect, you can concentrate on highlighting your creative talent:
- in order to land a job and impress the potential clients;
- to sell your work, which would mean that you want a commercial portfolio;
- to gain reputation and recognition within the industry;
- or to simply network with others and strengthen your connections.
You may want to achieve all of the above at once, which is also a possibility. For instance, TechBear, as a company offering different IT services, graphic design included, created its graphic design portfolio page with all of these objectives in mind.
Keep it simple
Simplicity is always the key to the great graphic design portfolio page. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to ditch more complex works, not at all. It simply means that the whole page won’t have too many distractions.
Basically, the design of the page itself will focus on showcasing your creative work. There’s really no point in adding to many clickable links and a ton of other bits of information when your main goal is to show potential clients what you can do. Actually, someone who may be interested in your work can only get confused when faced with a bunch of noise and irrelevant details when opening your portfolio page.
Essentially, make your portfolio page about your portfolio only. Forget about colorful and flashy images popping up here and there as this will prevent the interested party from properly concentrating on what you have to offer.
Use an intuitive and user-friendly interface
This tip is a continuation from the previous one as a user-friendly interface is often the simplest one. In general, you want to make sure that your prospective client and anyone else interested in your work knows exactly where to look, click and go as they land on the portfolio page. As mentioned, you don’t want flashy images and pop-ups, but you also want to avoid complex page structure that may confuse the visitors. What’s more, the navigation of your portfolio page should be easy and intuitive, with additional filters to make the browsing through your work like an enjoyable walk through the park.
Opt for the best work or categorize properly
You have to be really careful about the choices you make when picking out the work you’re planning to showcase in your portfolio. You may want to put every piece of your creative work in there but if you believe this to be a good move, you should also add proper categories that would allow the clients to find the most relevant work for them.
For instance, TechBear has decided to use a number of different categories and tags on our portfolio page to make the search simple and quick.
We did the same on our Behance portfolio as well. Luckily, this particular platform already has a proper categorization strategy and a way to present collected work in a neat and design-focused fashion.
On the other hand, if you’re not 100% satisfied with all of your work, simply don’t use it in your portfolio. Showcase only the work you consider the best.
Update your site regularly
Technology compatibility is essential if you want to make a mark in the sea of online portfolios. After all, if your company website or online portfolio page is up-to-date, your content will be available to a larger group of people, using different devices to view it.
If you’re a freelancer, setting up an online portfolio on your own, it would be wise to look into the technologies behind this so that you can make changes to your portfolio whenever necessary. This way, you’ll make the whole experience of checking out your portfolio more user-friendly.
Obviously, a company website should always keep up with the updates if your business goal is to stay relevant in the search. For starters, incompatible technology and lack of updates may mean that your content can’t be viewed properly on smartphones and tablets, which is a huge mistake in this day and age. Not to mention that such a slip up can only make you seem less professional.
Just put yourself in the shoes of your prospects. Would you want to work with someone if you couldn’t view their work properly on your device, experienced lagging on their portfolio or waited too long for the page to even load?
Always make your contact info visible
If you actually want to get some work based on your portfolio, it’s essential that you include your contact info. But, don’t just add your contact info with no rhyme or reason. Make sure that the prospects logically find every bit of information they may need in order to get in touch with you. In general, the most obvious place is definitely a header or a footer. Company websites, as you can see on TechBear’s example, have a separate Contact menu category which is clearly visible from our graphic design portfolio page.
It’s very important that freelancers who are responsible for their own online portfolio don’t make the mistake of forgetting to add their contact info, or misplace it completely, thus making this crucial part of their portfolio extremely difficult for the clients to find. What’s more, try to include as much info as possible when it comes to different ways of getting in touch with you. This includes your email, phone number, Skype ID, and even your business street address. Of course, if there are other ways to get in touch, don’t hesitate to include them as well.
Use the testimonials to your advantage
It’s always helpful to add more authority to your designs. One of the most effective ways to do exactly that is with client testimonials. You can include testimonials to your graphic design portfolio page, have them as a separate page on your company website, or simply leave the link to the client’s website together with your listed works done for them. Even though this may not be an absolute must-have when creating an online portfolio is concerned, it can definitely help gain the prospects’ trust. Sometimes, an honest testimonial can be the decisive factor for getting more work.
In the end, don’t be afraid to be unique. Of course, all of the above-mentioned tips stand, and you should do your best to follow them. But, as a true creative, feel free to add your own touch to the whole story. It doesn’t matter if it’s the introduction message or the design of the whole site; show confidence by not being afraid to be a bit different and stand out from the crowd. This will get you noticed for sure.