Getting Started with Your Portfolio
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. Now it’s time to kickstart 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 showcase your skills and expertise. You should never underestimate the importance of a great portfolio especially when you are starting out. Clients usually aren’t particular about your credentials. Instead, they look at your past work and how well you can meet their needs. In other words, your portfolio is what determines your success as a freelance graphic designer.
So what makes a great portfolio? In simple terms, it should represent you as a skillful professional who can add value to the client’s brand or business. Choose only your best projects, focusing on ones that feature creative solutions to design problems in order to help you stand out from the competition.
I would argue that you should invest the most time and effort into your portfolio. And 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. As such, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that you make the best decisions for your portfolio right from the get-go. Think about what kind of graphic designer you want to be portrayed as and the clients you want to attract when building your portfolio.
Even after setting everything up, don’t think you are done — if possible try to update and upgrade your portfolio regularly.
Over the past 5 years I have made 4 major overhauls to my portfolio, each taking up around a month’s worth of work. Maintaining a portfolio is an ongoing and often exhausting process — but well worth it in the long run.
I took a few months to create and set up my own portfolio. 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 are 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 artwork and illustrations is fully displayed in her portfolio, with an intricately illustrated logo that captures your attention and leaves a lasting impression.
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.
Are you ready to create a great portfolio? Let’s get started!