Top tips for creating the perfect design portfolio to stand out from the crowd

It’s that time of year again, when recent graduates are busy considering their next step. “I have spent the last three or four years growing up as a designer, but how do I find a job? Who will see my work among the white noise of new design graduates? ”

The doubts are real, it’s really difficult there. And of course, this is a real case of the cream rising to the top. But even if your work is able to stand on its own, you will still have to put in some serious effort to be seen. This is why portfolio control is a crucial next step. But how do you stand out, demonstrate why you should be chosen among thousands of others?

Creating an effective design portfolio may seem like a simple task, but agencies are given hundreds of them, and making sure yours has the impact it needs to grab their attention is no small feat. You’ve earned your badges, but now it’s time to step into the real world. Following these simple steps can help you create an efficient and streamlined portfolio that demands the attention of future employers or clients.

1. Don’t choose just one format.
2. Refine your singular style.
3. Include a diverse selection of work.
4. Edit, modify and modify again.
5. Make sure your projects stand out.
6. Tell a story.
7. Include testimonials.
8. Take risks.
9. Support your wallet.
10. Research who you are offering your portfolio to.
11. Don’t give up.

Portfolio Design Tips

Physical or digital? Choose both. Now is not the time to take a punt on something, cover all your bases. You will need a nice physical portfolio to meet clients or potential employers, so make sure it stands out. Use what you’ve learned to get there, be creative and think way beyond the box, but don’t produce something without immediate impact; a pretentious high concept portfolio is just going to waste everyone’s time.

Likewise, keep your digital format simple but effective. Use your design to create a beautiful PDF and keep it small; No one wants to waste time uploading a 200MB file stuffed with TIF, if you’re sending something online (think hosting on multiple platforms, such as WeTransfer and Dropbox), keep it under 10MB.

How to create a design portfolio that stands out from the crowd

You shouldn’t have to tell yourself this, but consistently producing personal work is essential to your future success; it allows you to develop a style that will become your calling card, especially in the world of illustration. A unique style that’s truly yours will keep clients coming back – being original gives your work a timeless appeal and sets you apart from changing trends.

You might want to perfect an original and distinctive style, but show that you can work in multiple mediums and various briefs. Show that you can work with strict client constraints, show your progressive personal projects and demonstrate that you can work as a team; including collaborations and team projects shows employers and potential clients that teamwork is part of your arsenal.

Show no mercy when editing your work, it is an essential process in any creative endeavor. Include no more than ten projects (five great projects are always better than ten average projects) and make sure they are the best. Don’t include lesser work just because the client is in the spotlight, a personal project that says more about you would always be a better option, as are projects that you can talk about with passion.

Portfolio Design Tips

If your work has been printed, photograph it, but photograph it well (consider bringing in a friend or classmate who can help you.) If you have designed packaging, make a mockup of it and repeat what precedes. It is essential that the presentation of your project is as good as possible, as shortcuts will demonstrate a lack of attention to detail. If you are showing your work to a top agency then watch how they present their work, they won’t want to hire someone who can’t match their own standards.

How to create a design portfolio that stands out from the crowd

Provide context, your portfolio is telling a story of your abilities, and your process is part of that story. You want your portfolio to have a visual impact, but including small notes can help those who view it understand how you arrived at the end product. Explain your role in the project, detail your process and describe the client’s goals, clarify their success. Don’t assume that those who view your work will understand the importance of a project only visually. And don’t forget that attention to detail, have someone proofread your copy, and if your writing skills don’t match your design abilities, consider freelance platforms like the EduBirdie.com writing service, where experienced writers can make your story as compelling as your work.

If the rating culture brought by Silicon Valley’s sharing economy has taught us anything, it’s that testimonials matter. From Uber driver ratings to Netflix shows, everything and everyone is judged harsher than ever. If you have satisfied clients (the kind that agencies look for) then make sure their opinions end up in your portfolio; show that you can meet briefs, deadlines and that your character is as good as your job.

You are at the start of a long career in a creative discipline, now is the time to take risks. Be bold, be experimental. Do you have a project that says everything there is to say about who you are as a creative and as a person? Remember to show just that. Be courageous, be confident in your own abilities.

Support your design portfolio
Support your design portfolio

It is 2019 and we are surrounded by online platforms, social networks and digital identities. As you need to build physical and digital portfolios, so you need to maintain a high quality presence to support and promote them. A strong social media presence with an engaged audience shows that you can create work that stands out from the crowd and gets noticed. Consider maintaining a stylish blog, posting to top platforms like Behance and Dribbble, contributing your processes and workflow to Medium, and posting to a professional Instagram account regularly. It might sound a bit black mirror, but potential customers will be browsing your personality online, make sure it’s as healthy as your new wallet.

How to create a design portfolio that stands out from the crowd

If you are going to an interview at an agency, make sure you know the names of their senior executives, know their clients, and what sets them apart. If you are submitting your work, spell the names correctly, “to whom it may concern” is instantly disabled. If you meet a potential client, learn a little about them, appreciate their story, and identify their competition. It all comes down to attention to detail, don’t let it slip over what their first impression of you will be.

Especially at this time of year, agency inboxes are full of portfolio submissions, just because someone hasn’t responded in a month or two doesn’t mean they don’t like your job. . Weeks can go by in what seem like hours in a busy studio, and keeping clients happy is their top priority. That said, don’t be afraid of a affable nudge, be respectful, and don’t chase right away. Connect with more established designers you admire, attend exhibitions and events, seek to collaborate on personal projects, grow your network… and most importantly, continue to believe in yourself and your work.

In conclusion: be yourself, stand out from the crowd and refine a style that sets you apart, pay meticulous attention to the smallest details, tell a story, and support your projects with context and commentary. Cover all the bases, develop a network, and build a following for your work. Use the tools at your disposal, but be original and daring. Design and related creative activities are competitive, create your niche and own it. Work hard. Work smart.


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Abdul J. Gaspar

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