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Are you thinking of creating your design portfolio but aren't sure how to get started? Fear not, as we'll walk you through all the parts a great portfolio should include and answer any questions you might have.
An excellent way to approach the creation of your design portfolio is to treat it like any other design problem. Ask yourself the following questions:
The contents of your portfolio will depend on the answers to these questions.
The main rationale behind a design portfolio is to help you (the designer) find work. This outlines its target audience: HRs, hiring managers, potential freelance clients, and fellow designers (i.e. your potential colleagues).
What do these people expect to find in your portfolio? Is it beautiful mockups? Or perhaps a list of your hobbies and interests? First and foremost, people viewing your portfolio want to understand what kind of designer you are. Some of the questions they might have include:
Think of your portfolio as your spokesperson (or spokesdocument) that can answer these questions in your stead.
To fulfill its objective, a designer's portfolio must include 3 main components:
When you meet someone in real life, you most likely start by introducing yourself. The same goes for your portfolio. Include your name, the roles you are looking for, and any relevant background information such as your education or work experience.
You can also include your passions and hobbies but don't overshare. The purpose of this section isn't to learn everything there is to know about you — it's to get a feel of what kind of person you are.
Keep the copy simple and straightforward — use the same language you would when introducing yourself in person. The copy is a reflection of your style and brand voice.
Case studies are successful projects you’ve worked on. While good-looking final visuals are essential, they aren't the only thing that the recruiters and clients want to see — and they’re certainly not the most crucial thing.
Let's be honest — anyone can take anyone else's designs and present them as their own. What's important here is to walk the audience through your design process. Think of it this way — for each project, you need to clearly explain the problem and its context, how you went about solving it, how successful it was, and what you learned from it.
Let's have a closer look at what a case study should contain:
Start by describing the overall topic of the project and the problem you needed to solve. You can also explain your role and responsibilities if it was a team project.
Include the finished designs early on — or use them as your project thumbnails. This will grab the viewer’s attention and make it clear what kind of project they’re looking at.
Use visual aids to guide viewers through your design process. Consider including:
Describe your final solution and explain what makes your designs the best.
Explain how your design was successful. Did it increase signups or revenue? This is a great place to share what this project taught you — even if it's that you would do things differently next time.
Since the goal of your portfolio is to get you more work, your contact information must be easy to find. This is basically your call to action. Include your email address and, optionally, links to your social media accounts.