As a creative professional you live and die by the quality of your design portfolio; it sums you and your work up and is the first port of call for anyone looking to hire or commission you. It needs to show the breadth of your output, your skills and experience, how you generate and execute ideas, basically your whole creative process.
When done well, a creative's portfolio should impress and surprise the viewer, demonstrating how you and your work will be an invaluable asset to the viewer, whether that be as a full time member of staff or on a freelance basis.
There are lots of varying opinions on exactly what a design portfolio should contain (especially what format it should take) but there are some golden rules and theories that will set you in good stead when putting yours together. Read on for my 10 top tips for creating a killer portfolio, gleamed from over eight years' industry experience as a commissioning designer and art editor, not to mention my own experience of preparing portfolios and attending interviews. I'll also showcase some portfolio examples from fellow designers that I think work particularly well.
01. All killer, no filler
This should really be common sense, but you'd be surprised how often it isn't followed. Only ever show your very best work in your portfolio and if you aren't 100 per cent happy with the outcome then don't feature it. It's fine to show a creative journey through your work but people don't want to see way back to your college years (unless of course you're a recent graduate) and the old adage that 'you're only as good as your last job' should spring to mind. It's often hard to self-edit, but it's important to be quite ruthless when selecting the work to ensure that all of it is up to scratch and of a standard that you're happy with.
02. Start and end with key piecesPhotographer Valerie Phillips makes a lasting impression on her landing page through the use of full window imagery that cycles though different images as you hover over the sections
This is something that I learned quite early on: to begin with a really strong killer piece that will grab their attention and then finish on a similarly striking talking point that will leave them wanting more. It's easy to see how this can apply to a traditional print portfolio, but the same thinking can be applied to an iPad folio or indeed a simple PDF attachment in an email.
03. Leave them wanting more
As mentioned above, its important to leave the viewer wanting more, especially on initial application as you don't want to arrive at a meeting or interview with nothing left to talk about. Also, remember not to overdo it in certain areas of your portfolio. If you've done some infographic work then feature a few key pieces and then show something different, the last thing you want is to bore someone with 100 examples of the same kind of work.See also:
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