Like any other field, a portfolio holds great importance for a website/graphics designer. An eye catching design has great benefits. It reflects your designing skills and attract your clients.
Being a website/graphics designer myself, I have met a lot of designers that don’t even have a portfolio. When they get clients, they just send over some of their recent designs. In this way, there clients are unable to review most of their work and there are more chances that they will back off and find some other designer.
Why Make a Portfolio?
There are a great number of designers all over the globe and it’s one of the most rapidly growing information technology fields with the growing demand of website and graphics designing. This is a vast field and it constitutes of many sub fields. Graphic Designing includes logos, banners, brochures, flyers, business cards and a lot more. Today, there are a lot of individuals or companies that regularly need some kind of graphic design. Whether it be for online uses or printing purposes.
A portfolio for a designer is the basis of clients whether to hire you for their designing needs or not. Your portfolio demonstrates your skills, expertise and talent.
A design portfolio is compulsory for freelance designers as well as those running a designing company.
Designing a portfolio is not something that you just start doing without any preparation. There are a number of things to consider but before you start designing your portfolio, study the reasons why is it important and in what ways will it help you. This will help you in coming up with more creative ideas for your design showcase.
Following are a few points explaining why a portfolio holds so much importance.
- Presents Your Skills
I have seen many designers’ websites without any graphics. They are just full of text and stories. Mentioning what services you offer and what can you do is not enough. You should show a proof of what your are doing. Your client will not be interested to choose you as their designer unless you don’t showcase your work in that specific designing they want from you. Suppose you get a client visit your site wanting to get a brochure designed for their business but don’t find even a single sample of your work.
Clients need satisfaction as they are spending something to get the job done!
- Makes Clients Trust You
When you display your work; you make new clients trust in you. Get the testimonials from your old clients along with your portfolio so that the new clients get more satisfied from you. This will in turn bring more customers to you.
- Represents a Genuine Business
There a lot of designer emerging nowadays. Many are talented and possess great skills but still there are some designers that don’t have a proper experience in this field. They have learnt a bit of basics and promise their clients to provide quality work. As there work is not worth showcasing, they don’t show a proper portfolio. This simply results in wastage of their clients’ time when they don’t like the unprofessional work.
In comparison to this, a buyer will prefer some designer showing his/her work.
- Prevents Rejection from Clients
Everybody has their own choice for designs. Similarly all people don’t like some specific kind of graphics. Some will prefer really professional, clean graphics, some prefer 3D, while others want shiny, colorful designs. Suppose you make specific type of designs and you don’t have a portfolio. You get a client and start working on their order. Soon you will come up with a final design and when you submit a preview of it to them, you get bad remarks. This will not only waste your precious time and effort but you will also get a bit frustrated and end up saying bye to your client.
Showing a portfolio to your clients before taking their order will prevent these situations. Your client will confirm before if they need some variation in their design from the past work you have done.
After getting to know the reasons to make a portfolio and how much importance it holds you must be thinking ways to make a beautiful portfolio. Yes! It should be highly attractive, and force the people looking at your portfolio to choose you as their designer!
Design an Attractive Portfolio
I am going to give some useful tips and tricks that will lead you to come up with a beautiful design and finally some examples for inspiration!
I am not just focusing on Graphics Designer in this article. But this is also to address the website designers! Most of the graphics designers know how to make a graphics template of website. So if you got skills and can come up with a design on graphics software, it will be way too easy for you. And if you have the coding skills it would be a plus.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code an image to working website! You can get it done from any coder for as low as $20 for single page!
Most of the designers have their websites setup already where they offer their packages or services. But I have seen a lot of designers that don’t even have their websites. They advertise their services on different forums or websites. They think that they are getting enough customers but they are not aware of the fact that they are also missing a lot of clients due to some flaws.
Firstly they don’t have a website which is a turn down for clients who look for legitimacy.
Moreover they are not providing a proper compilation of their past work to their buyers. Anybody going to pay for something needs a proof, and a design portfolio is similar to a proof for buyers!
So following are the essential tips that you should keep in mind before designing your own portfolio website! These are the things that really matter and will make your portfolio stand out!
- Make a Decent Collection
Before making a portfolio, do enough work and increase your collection till some extent. Your portfolio should be not be empty. This is a great turn down for clients and they will probably think that you are an amateur and you don’t have much experience in designing field. Just to give an idea I would suggest you to have atleast 15-20 items in your portfolio. But still you can have more. But remember don’t overfill it. Just keep a balance.
You can tell your clients later that you have a lot more designs and you can show them if they want something more.
- Filter Your Design for Portfolio
Take a hard look at your past work. Which of your designs are catchy? Separate the work you thing is best. Don’t include the designs you think are not much attractive as compared to your other work. This may cause your client to loose interest in getting their job done from you.
- Categorize Your Portfolio
Your goal is to convert your portfolio visitors to your customers. To do so, you have to try your best to make your portfolio easy on eyes. It should not become a difficulty for your visitors. Don’t just make it jungle of images. This will just annoy your visitors and they will most probably end up closing the window.
Separate your designs according to the categories. Like if there are logos, banners, business cards, flyers, brochures, just separate them up under different partitions with a prominent title to distinguish it from other designs. It helps the buyers in a way that they will look for samples in that specific design category they want to get a design from.
- Variety in Samples
As I discussed earlier in this article, that all the clients do not have same choice. Your design may have a preference of one client and it may be rejected by the other so don’t ever do the mistake of adding same kind of designs in your portfolio.
Have a variety of samples, so your client may have an idea that you will come up with something unique, different and something new for them. On the other hand if you have all same kind of designs with similar effects used in all of them, your client will not be much interested and you may loose them. Also add any photo of your print work. I myself request a photo of printed graphics I design for my clients.
- Include Testimonials
Include testimonials from your past clients somewhere in your portfolio. Don’t just throw it somewhere. Instead be clever and place them in an efficient way so they are as prominent as your portfolio items are. Testimonials help a lot in motivating your visitors to become your client. It is a quick way to build trust with visitors. Many designers ignore this factor but testimonials help a lot. Let your client write a little about how was their experience to work with you.
- Show Your Work Properly
Many designers add small thumbnails of their design work or show a little part of it due to the fear that someone will copy their work. Don’t do that, instead host the full-sized images on your own server and link the thumbnail or small image to the full size image, or make some functionality so that the image may zoom up on clicking. Avoid linking your samples to the clients’ website for which you made that design.
People do not always keep same designs, they might change it and it will be a problem for your further clients later.
Same thing applies to the web design projects you have worked on. Host them on your own server instead of linking to external websites, you may give a link though but keep a check if your client has not updated their site.
- Make Your Layout Simple
People in search of a designer are looking for a website with an easy navigation. The layout should not be over done. It should not be filled up with a lot of colors and too much fancy techniques. The layout as a whole should look simple, attractive and everything on the website should be easy to understand. Don’t confuse your clients in any way. Make your contact details easily accessible. Remember contrast is your friend and you have to play with it in a creative manner.
- A Little About Yourself
Having an ‘About Me’ page is also a plus point. Do not take it as granted. You have to deal with your visitors in a friendly way. For individuals, it’s a place to show off who you are as a person. Tell about your qualifications, experiences and expertise in your field. To make it more attractive, add any kind of picture of yours, a portrait, sketch, caricature or anything representing you.
Moreover giving links to your social networks profiles from here is better. It builds more familiarity and makes you more approachable if the client is in need of a designer ever again.
- Keep Your Portfolio Up to Date
Design your portfolio in such a way that it is easier for you in future to update the pieces.
It’s a common fact that as you make more deigns and gain more experience, you start to like your new design more than the designs you had made a couple of months or some time ago. So if you think that there is something in your portfolio which seems to be odd to you then there is no need to keep it anymore in there. Just replace it with your new designs. Keep on revolving items. It gives a good impression on returning customers.
I have added some really attractive portfolio designs for inspiration. It will give you a better picture of how you have to get creative and design your own unique portfolio.
In this portfolio, the design has given a very easy way to navigate around. The animation gives access to contents of website with keyboard shortcuts.
The designer has beautifully embed the images in a frame. The frame effect makes this portfolio unique!
This design is full of creative ideas. The designer has wrapped all the necessary components of a portfolio website in a single book shelf. There are no unnecessary items in the shelf. Every item gives the information about that designer.
Simple yet attractive design. This website would have been so dull without the lightning or glow effects used. They have given life to the design. See how little sprinkles and toppings can make your site delicious!
The design is an example of use of many colors in a proper and beautiful manner. The abstract not only contain colors but also represents the name of designer along with easy navigation beside.
Here is another creative artwork. The designer is welcoming his visitors and requesting them to have a seat. This builds a friendly environment and look at the way how designer has introduced himself to visitors. Such techniques leave impressions in the mind of your visitors.
If you have a look at the complete website, you will see how in only a single page, the designer has added all the information a client is seeking for. Starting from his introduction to a few recent designs followed by his service offerings and then finally an easy contact form at the bottom.
And at last, simple yet effective about us page. It consists of a paper background effect, little sketch of the designer, and some introduction to him.