It goes without saying that every designer needs a portfolio of their work that potential employers or clients can view. In the next few months I'm planning on working on my portfolio (with the aim of making it the landing page on this site) and I wanted to plan it out in advance, looking at what a portfolio is actually used for, how it should look, what it should include are all questions that I need to answer before beginning work on it.
To start with, I need to answer a few questions:
- What is the point of a portoflio?
- Who is my portfolio for?
- What should my portfolio communicate?
- How should my portfolio communicate this?
Once I've answered these questions, I can begin designing my portfolio's layout.
What's the point of my portfolio?
The point of any portoflio is to showcase your previous work, whether or not it was done for clients or personal is dependant on your situation, but before anyone is going to hire you, you need to communicate that you are worth hiring. I’d like my portfolio to be a central place to find my best work, as well as highlighting other things, like how to get in contact with me, or where to find more work on social media platforms like Behance or Instagram.
Who is my portoflios Audience?
This is a hugely important part of designing a portfolio, and should be the foundation of a successful portfolio. There are two audiences for my work; potential clients for freelance work, and potential employers at agencies. A potential client will most likely be looking for striking work that is representative of the work need, or even inspire them to try something new — if someone is opening a coffee shop and wants a logo designed, they might want to see previous branding and logos, particularly for existing restaurants or coffee shops. This instills confidence that you can deliver the work that they want. Employers at design agencies however will want to see technical abilities, finished work and maybe even processes showing how you arrived at your finished pieces.
What Should my Portfolio Communicate?
This is where having your own portoflio can really work in your benefit. It is your opportunity to control the messaging about you and your own brand. Your portoflio should communicate a clear and concise message about who you are, and what type of work you can deliver, and I think should also be incredibly focused on the type of work you want to get. If you want to do digital work, your portfolio should reflect this, if branding is your thing, then show your branding projects. I would like mine to communicate my abilities and passion for logos, branding and illustration. I’d also like it communicate an obvious attention to detail, and thoughtfulness in your work and how it’s presented.
How Should my portoflio communicate this?
This question will vary greatly depending on the type of work you do, and the type of work or job you want to get. Personally, I’ll be using this website to host my work. I’m still working on the details of how to lay out my portfolio, and what should be and shouldn’t be included, but again I would draw attention to the importance of focus. I want to be drawing in clients or potential employers who want branding and logo design, or illustration.
If you have any thoughts on what to include in a portfolio, or what not to include, or even ideas on how to layout a portfolio successfully, please get in touch and let me know.
Thanks for reading! If you don’t know me, I’m a graphic designer from Belfast, chronicling my journey into building a graphic design career. If you enjoyed this post, or any others, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or if you really want, hire me!