How to Create a Stunning Design Portfolio

How to Create a Stunning Design Portfolio

One of the most important things for a creative professional is to have an incredible design portfolio. It could be the reason you do or don’t get your next design job. It provides a summary of your work and is the first thing a potential commissioner will look at.

Your portfolio should showcase your skills, experience, and output. It should show how you come up with ideas and how you execute them. Basically it shows off the creative process.

There are a number of different opinions over what should be included in a design portfolio – particularly the format they should be in – but there are golden rules of design portfolios that will help you put your own portfolio together.

1. All Killer and No Filler

You’d think this was common sense but a surprising number of people don’t follow this golden rule. Your design portfolio should contain nothing but your best work. If you aren’t completely happy with something you’ve done, then leave it out.

When putting together your design portfolio remember to showcase your work in it’s best light, so you will need a decent camera to shoot print work. You can also use ready made mockups to show your work.

Logo Mockup
Show your logos with style by using logo mockups.
logo mockup
Brand Identity Mockup
Perfect mockup to present your brand design work.
branding identitny mockup
Brochure Mockup
Present your print work with a ready made mockup template.
brochure mockup
Package and Box Mockups
Use packaging mockups to showcase your package designs.
package box mockups
Website and App Mockup
With this mockup you can showcase multiple web and app pages.
website mockup

2. Make Sure to Start and Finish With Your Best Work

This is another thing; start the portfolio with an attention-grabbing killer piece, and close it with another striking piece that leaves people wanting more.

You can see how this might apply to a regular print portfolio, but you can also apply this logic to an online portfolio as well as a PDF attachment on an email.

3. Leave Viewers Wanting More

Remember to avoid overdoing certain parts of the portfolio. If you have some experience creating infographics, then put some of the key pieces in there before moving on to something different. You never want to feature too much of one type of work and bore people. Show some variety.

4. Create an Online Portfolio

There’s no excuse for not putting together an online portfolio, even if you are primarily a print designer. There’s no need to know how to code to put together an online portfolio. There are a number of ready-made WordPress and Tumblr themes that look amazing and make for great portfolios. Don’t forget about social portfolio platforms such as Dribbble and Behance.

Avada Multipurpose WordPress Theme
Avada is a great responsive multipurpose theme for WordPress with great portfolio section.

Brooklyn Multipurpose WordPress Theme
Responsive multipurpose theme for WordPress with great portfolio section.

Måne Modern Portfolio Theme
Creative WordPress theme. Responsive template so you can present your work easily on any device.

Onero Creative Portfolio
Wordpress theme for designers. Responsive design.

Thecs Portfolio Theme
Responsive WordPress portfolio theme.

5. Let the Designs do the Talking

Avoid over-embellishing online – and print – portfolios. Let the designs do all the talking for you by making it easy to see projects in a large format.

6. Curate Your Design Portfolio Around the Job

If you are sending out a sampler or curating the portfolio for a specific job interview, then make sure you include some pieces that are tailored around the specific client for the job.

7. Self-Initiated Work

You’ll can hear other creatives talking about how important their self-initiated work is to them. Potential employers will also want to see what you can do and express yourself individually, with many employers making it one of the requirements on their job ads.

8. Show Your Journey From Creation to Implementation

As well as putting in self-initiated projects, you might find it useful to showcase your process and the journey that brought you to the outcome. This could be the journey from creation to implementation for a digital art project or the crafting process behind a physical piece of work you did.

9. Choose a Good Format

The general consensus among the design community is that it’s redundant to have your traditional print portfolio when attending an interview and that it’s easier, more contemporary and convenient to display your work on an iPad using a PDF or website.

Lahei Portfolio Presentation
PowerPoint portfolio template that you can save as PDF or even turn in to a video presentation.
PowerPoint portfolio
Indicate Portfolio Presentation
Another great PowerPoint template for you to present your work. Just save it as PDF and present on iPad or email.
PDF portfolio
Portfolio Template for InDesign
Build your portfolio in InDesign with the help of this template. Save it as PDF.
Graphic design portfolio
InDesign Portfolio & Lookbook Template
InDesign portfolio template to build your PDF portfolio with.
PDF portfolio lookbook

A quick recap below. Save it to Pinterest for later.
Design portfolio

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