How to create a graphic design portfolio

Graphic design is a competitive and evolving field with a wide range of job opportunities available across many industries. Learning how to create a graphic design portfolio is the key to standing out among a large pool of job seekers.

“Graphic design is a very visual profession, so a designer really needs to be able to showcase their core skills, abilities and the variety of styles they can present,” said the early engagement partner of Southern New Hampshire. University (SNHU). Sonja moffet. “The people who are going to assess their skills really need to see what they have done. Some brands will look for specific abilities, and a portfolio will demonstrate those skills. “

When considering creating a portfolio for graphic design, it is important to make sure that your portfolio contains the right information to clearly demonstrate who you are as a designer and who you would be as an employee or entrepreneur.

At the most basic level, a graphic design portfolio should contain:

  • An introduction or cover letter
  • A table of contents
  • CV and biography
  • Examples of your previous graphic design work
  • A list of your credentials, including education, training, industry certificates, awards, and professional group membership
  • References and letters of recommendation

Customize your graphic design portfolio

While some information should always be presented to a potential client or employer, personalization is key in determining how to build your graphic design portfolio. It is important that your portfolio reflects not only your personal artistic abilities and style, but also the needs of the client, business or agency to whom you are presenting the portfolio.

Think of a graphic design portfolio as a fluid project, said Moffet, which changes as your experience grows, your personal style develops, and you showcase your work to new and diverse clients. The person or group reviewing your portfolio should educate you on how you select and organize your examples of past work, making sure you always present your most relevant work during the hiring process.

Krysta Arabudzki with the text Krysta Arabudzki

“When creating your portfolio, think about your personal brand and how it fits across all mediums, from your CV to your online portfolio and your physical portfolio / book. ” Krysta Arabudzki, deputy creative director of environmental and experiential design at SNHU, said. “Visual storytelling and consistency are key to landing your ideal design job. “

She said if you have a specific flyer or design force, then play with it to showcase your personality and design aesthetic.

If you have one or a handful of dream employers, Arabudzki said, craft a self-promotion article that can set you apart from your peers. “Find a creative way to put this in the hands of the decision maker / hiring manager,” she said. “It’s a very effective way to step in the door and start the conversation while being memorable. “

Wallets for the digital age

Rich Grant with the text Rich Grant

In today’s increasingly digital world, it is important that your graphic design portfolio can be represented in both print and digital form. While physical printed portfolios are ideal for interviews and meetings with potential clients, digital portfolios are useful for applying for jobs, networking, and seeking freelance or consulting work.

“Having a portfolio in digital format allows a job seeker to disseminate it more widely, for example on social networks,” said Rich grant, guidance counselor at SNHU.

The way you present a digital graphic design portfolio can vary, from a PDF version of your physical print portfolio to a personal website or even a LinkedIn profile.

Jennifer Jacobson with text Jennifer Jacobson

According to the artistic director of SNHU Jennifer jacobson, variety is always preferred when building your design portfolio.

“The more you can show off, the more you will attract your potential employer. But, depending on the position you’re applying for, you might want to tailor your portfolio to that specific area of ​​design,” Jacobson said, “For example, if you interview for a digital position, include projects that show knowledge of responsive design, email marketing campaigns and animation rather than packaging or print design. “

Design your portfolio

Whether you are creating a printed portfolio or a digital graphic design portfolio, the design of the portfolio itself is just as important as the work within the profile.

ArtAndDesign Sonja Moffet category page

Designing your portfolio so that it has a cohesive layout, color scheme, and design elements develops your personal brand as a designer and helps employers or potential clients better understand who you are.

The same attention should also be paid to how your portfolio is organized, Moffet said.

“The organization of your portfolio is a representation of who you are and what you think,” she said. “Organizing a portfolio can show how you would manage multiple projects in the office. Being able to quickly show relevant content in an interview says a lot about you professionally.

The value of a portfolio

Building a graphic design portfolio is a must when preparing to apply for a job in the graphic arts. Whether your goal is to work for a thriving advertising agency, work for a company as an in-house designer, or work independently as a designer or freelance consultant, a portfolio will represent you and your abilities to clients. potentials.

While a graphic design degree program is an important preparation for a job in the graphic arts, a graphic design portfolio is the most important tool when looking for a job in the field.

“It definitely gives a job seeker a boost so they can show the quality of the work, not just claim it on a resume,” Grant said. “When I talked about portfolios with job seekers, I used the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’. “

Jacobson said personality also plays a crucial role when his team conducts interviews. “Find a way to stand out from the crowd and make yourself memorable,” she said. “Whether you like oil painting, surfing or playing the guitar after hours, make sure the passion for your craft shows in your portfolio.”

Most importantly, do a thorough final review of your portfolio before sharing it. “Details are everything, so make sure not only the design is correct, but also the content (spell check, spell check, spell check),” Arabudzki said.

Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer specializing in higher education. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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