The dream job for many is still lying as just dreams. The reason being competition which surrounds it. If working as a graphic designer in an XYZ company is a dream for you, hundreds and thousands also have that as their dream job. To increase your chances, you need to stand out among the crowd. But how? There are endless possibilities to curate your unique designs and emerge the best in a creative career like graphic designing. But how you will be showcasing your creativity plays a significant role. Your portfolio is what will differentiate you from the lot. It is imperative for those, especially in creative fields like graphic designing, to have a stunning portfolio.
Before we delve into the world of a digital portfolio, first, let’s see what a portfolio is?
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is like the backbone of a creative as it shows what you are capable of. It is a curation of all the design projects you have done in your career.
Print Vs. Digital:
For years and more, print portfolios have been a standard method of presenting the creatives. But the birth of the digital age has emphasized the need for designers to have an internet presence. It has become necessary to have a digital portfolio that can be accessed by anyone 24×7, without the need for you to be present all the time. But the printed ones have to be physically mailed to the potential employer or should be carried during interviews.
When you have a digital portfolio, you can keep all your creatives in one place, neatly set, while the printed portfolios may become cumbersome and fragile. You always have to make the effort of arranging and putting them back after each interview. There are even chances of them getting misplaced.
The whole process of printing them and arranging them in a case would also cost you more. Whereas in digital, you can maintain an easy and flexible portfolio with a relatively lower cost or no cost.
Your portfolio will be with you throughout your life. You are supposed to keep updating it now and then till the end of your professional career. That becomes a herculean task with the printed ones. But your digital portfolios are updated friendly and can be edited as you wish. All your new works can get into it immediately without needing to redo anything.
Gone are the days when you have to take printouts of your works, store it carefully in a suitcase, and show it to your prospective employer. With the advent of the internet, creating a design portfolio is just a cakewalk. You are only required to select a platform that best suits you and play with your creativity here and there, and design it; however you like.
The Importance of digital portfolios:
Gets you an online presence:
A survey by Glassdoor.com says that many hiring managers are googling their applicants before the interview process, and not surprisingly, the first thing they look for is an online portfolio. Though it sounds nerve-wracking, it is reassuring to know that it’s you who would decide what to come on the first page. Is it going to be those party images or your professional profile that narrates your story and skills?
Adorn your Google search with the designs you created, and, most importantly, an online portfolio that portrays your best works. It is not uncommon anymore to see creators maximizing their online presence through multiple channels. Be it open platforms like Dribbble or Behance or online portfolio building websites like allyou.net.
Keep your clients informed
If you’re a freelance graphic designer, an online portfolio is the best way to inform about your services and open the door widely for your potential clients. If you include the contact option, then it becomes easy for people to connect with you. Also, including your social media accounts is a great way to connect with others in the community.
Creates a personal branding
Online portfolios also showcase your experience, making you a personal branding. Like what is the image you have created with the public? Or how do you want people to see you as? This personal branding is essential to establish yourself as an industry expert and stand out in the crowd. As equally interested in your skills, people would also want to know you as a person: What is your passion, what is your work process like, how you communicate with others, and how you test your ideas as a graphic designer. Differentiate yourself from others by broadening your online presence. Your online portfolio will distinguish you from the millions of other designers that your prospective clients can hire.
Which platform to choose?
It is essential to select the right platform before starting to work on your portfolio. It is advisable to choose the ones that are easy and user friendly. There are hundreds of platforms online which let you socialize and share your designs. Behance is one such world-class platform apt for graphic designers to create their portfolios. It has plenty of talented designers who post their designs regularly. You can quickly get the hang of current trends in graphic designs, find the right influencers, and get inspired by their works.
Here are the top designers from Behance whom you should follow:
Daniel Mountford, a creative designer and talented photographer stuns his followers with his double exposure works. He makes them all in-camera but adding some bits of post-production to give it a filter effect. His artworks are not just prominent for his double exposure, but also his motion designs and unique illustrations.
Kronk, a graphic designer from Johannesburg, South Africa, has created bold and original works for brands and companies. He has the specialty to infuse his personal experiences that gives life to his artworks. Also, it makes you remember it intact after you’ve seen it. He and his team specialize in story-designing and comic-like illustration.
Yurko Gutsulyak is a Ukrainian graphic designer from Kyiv. He has been in the design industry since 2000. He owns the Gutsulyak.Studio in Kyiv, which has got him laurels. One of his great works includes the curation of the Cyrillic font that turned heads. He also worked on Kozel beer (limited edition tin), which grabbed many beer lovers’ attention.
Another popular social media network for designers and artists is Dribbble. You can find some of the most talented designers who could be great inspirations to start your portfolio. Dribbble has an invite-only membership system that helps you maintain a high level of quality.
Here are a few talented graphic designer profiles you can follow in a Dribbble:
Leo Leung has a whopping 15k plus followers on Dribbble. When you look at his profile, you will know why he makes this list. He has a keen eye for web and app designing and is a pro in motion graphics. Also, it emerges top-notch in front end development. He showcases his love for motion design with smooth animated GIFs that quickly grabs your attention.
Nick Slater, a native of California, has 66k plus followers and is a Dribbble superstar. He has a strong understanding of the design, and his works are simple yet impactful. He specializes in logos, icons, and product illustrations. He has the honor of working for organizations like Twitter, Slack, Washington Post, etc.
Cosmin Capitanu is a Romanian freelance web/graphic designer and an architect. He also has a massive 62k plus followers. He has his style and elegance on each design, which is worth marveling repeatedly. He plays with colors and keeps trying new techniques to elevate his creativity.
Creating a stunning design portfolio is a task open to interpretation. There is no one single method to lay a portfolio. In a way, that’s good, as you are given the liberty to experiment and showcase your creativity when designing your portfolio.
Here are few expert graphic designers who have their own websites. Websites are one of the most excellent methods to maintain a portfolio, but you would be required to shell out a few more pennies to own your domain. This is one of the effective methods to have your own branding and offers your potential clients a sense of authenticity.
Alex Coven is a freelance graphic designer, letterer, and front-end developer from Chicago, USA. He is famous for the three hats he wears, which he easily explains through illustration on his website. This says a lot about his skills and expertise. When you scroll down on his site, you can see his works, and across each of them, you can see more information about that project. He would have cleverly used color overlays to keep things distinctive and exciting.
Rafael Kfouri is an award-winning graphic designer working for AlmapBBDO. He has a one-page portfolio site, which is a tricky thing, but he succeeds by giving colorful and impactful visuals, including single images and collages. He provides his designs with the entire screen width, with just slim sidebars for context, allowing visitors to enjoy and complement the broad scope of his work at a leisurely pace. His way of showcasing his graphic designs smartly with minimal clicks needs to get to the central part, and it offers a lot of inspiration.
Heather Shaw has 20 years of experience in graphic design and design brochures, menus, business cards, annual reports, PPT and keynote presentations, and many more her client needs in short. Her eye-catching online portfolio site marshals all these diverse work with utmost simplicity and elegance. It contains overlaying photos of each project with a dark color that provides visual consistency. Also, the big, bold typography and simple yet practical designs make it easy to navigate.
Now that you have got the inspiration for a stellar portfolio, it’s time to create yours now. Here are the easy steps to incorporate in create a stunning portfolio:
Quality trumps over quantity
Though you would have a wide variety of designs to showcase, it is necessary to pick only your best works. While curating a graphic design portfolio, it is always quality over quantity. Many expert designers recommend choosing the strongest projects and make them the primary focus. Ideally, it should only contain the 10-20 designs that you feel are sharp and most impressive. Whoever is looking at your portfolio won’t have time to look for more. It would be best to act smart to grab their attention in the first few designs, which would cut their need to look further.
Choose the right platform
If you have a quality website with a custom domain URL, it will pay off in the long run by showing your professionalism to potential clients. Also, having your website lets you organize your portfolio that suits all your business needs. You can include ‘projects,’ ‘About me,’ and ‘contact’ tabs so that visitors can connect with you immediately if they are impressed with your content.
Ensure a visual sequence
Organize your work in a way that builds a strong case for you. Your portfolio must present all your works visually in sequence to make an impact. It is also important to categorize them based on the type of media or industry. Use tags to filter them, making it easy for clients to view relevant work samples they are looking for.
Include a case study
Through a case study, your visitors get a sense of your project, the problem you are trying to solve through the design, and the process you took to arrive at the final deliverable. It takes a lot of time and effort to develop a unique design, so a written case study will support your hard work.
Tell a story
Exhibiting your designs doesn’t just end with uploading them. Tell your viewers or your prospective clients the story behind them. Tell them what your designs have achieved and how. Assume that you have been selected for a final round by a client along with another competitor. When your designs give a good explanation, you are more likely to be picked. While providing a summary of your design, include the client’s goals and how the design has achieved it. You don’t have to write a case study but just a sense of purpose for the viewers and what it has achieved for the organization.
Remember to include your social media handles along with your portfolio. It would be a great way to build your brand and bring the necessary publicity to convince a client to hire you. Cultivate social media platforms that connect and interact with your portfolio. You can retweet a brochure you designed for a salon or use your Instagram handle to show your work progress. You can even make a time-lapse video of your work that shows your projects in a short yet entertaining format. You can link this to your portfolio to show the final product.
Keep it alive
A portfolio shouldn’t be stagnant. It should keep evolving as you do. Keep updating it often as your skills improve. As you gain experience, update it in the portfolio to reflect the type of work you want to do more. Your portfolio should feel fresh, unique, and carefully curated. If you execute it well, your prospective clients and employers will receive a strong sense of who you are as a person and a professional.
However great a designer you are or how much ever experience you have; a digital portfolio is a must to seek clients and grow in your field. Your creativity on the ground is tested through your portfolio, making sure it is impressive and unique. Keep it versatile enough for all organizations to consider you.
Your portfolio should prove that you can meet your clients’ business goals and shape their brand. It is the tool that will bring you money, so make sure to keep it updated for the trend.