You took time to master the fundamentals of graphic design. You also recognized the need for preparation and have developed a good plan of action. It’s time to launch your career as a freelance graphic designer. Your first order of business — creating a great portfolio.
Your portfolio is your calling card; it’s where you prove your skills to clients by showcasing your best projects. You should never underestimate the importance of a great portfolio, especially when you’re starting out. Clients usually aren’t particular about your credentials or work history. Instead, they look at what you can do and how well you can meet their needs. In other words, your portfolio is what determines your success as a freelance graphic designer.
To reiterate, a great portfolio will show that you’re a skillful professional who can add value to any business, while helping you stand out from the competition. The projects you show should be unique, with creative solutions to design problems. Of course, if clients think your projects aren’t up to the quality standard they have in mind, they will go someplace else.
As such, you have to invest time and effort to make your portfolio look as professional as possible. There’s a lot of work involved — you have to pick and choose your projects, pay for a reliable web hosting service, and build a website that runs smoothly and is easy to navigate.
You should plan ahead to ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your portfolio. It also gives you time to think about and take on projects that are more likely to showcase your creativity and skills.
Even after everything is set up, don’t think you’re done. Maintaining a portfolio is an ongoing — and often exhausting — process, not something you set and forget. But given its importance, it’s no question that you should constantly strive for perfection in your portfolio.
I took a few months to create and set up Johnery. Some designers use services such as Squarespace, with tools that make it much easier to build beautiful websites. Since I’m familiar with HTML and CSS, I chose to modify a Bootstrap template, which gives me more control over the look and functionality of my portfolio.
If you’re looking for inspiration, I have selected 3 amazing portfolios to get your creative juices flowing.
Smart! is a multidisciplinary team of professionals in graphic design, communication and information technology located in Perú and Buenos Aires. Their portfolio is a lesson in simplicity and elegance. Content is curated and organized into a single page, creating a flawless and efficient user experience.
Melanie Daveid is a UX designer and art director living in Berlin. Her past experience in artworks and illustrations is fully displayed in her portfolio, with an intricately illustrated logo that captures your attention and leaves an impression even at the end.
Christopher Lee is a designer and illustrator from Sacramento, California. You can see his love for old school cartoons in his portfolio, which is bold and punchy.
Now that you’re ready, let’s start creating a great portfolio!