For freelance designers, finding work is all about being able to prove yourself to potential clients. One thing that plays a key role in this process is compiling a digital portfolio.
How can you make sure your portfolio stands out amidst the thousands of others online? Start by doing the following 5 things:
1. Use the Power of Contrast
Your portfolio – not just the work in the portfolio – needs to make a visual statement. Do something unique, don’t just paste images on a web page and slap in a header that reads “My Portfolio.” Get creative and use your skills to design something unique.
This portfolio from Website It Up is a fantastic example. Notice how they use the contrast of a grey background to help their designs stand out. The header is also unique, featuring jagged lines and clean breaks.
2. Be Selective in What You Feature
You have complete control over your portfolio, so don’t get pressured into including things you don’t want. “I’ve found that what you put in your portfolio for people to view, you get in return,” says designer Liz Grant. “So if you don’t want a certain type of client, don’t show that type of work in your portfolio. Also, show the best of what you have, you don’t need to show it all. People have short attention spans, especially on the web, so show your best first – don’t make them dig through tons of projects to find it.”
If you do want to show a lot of work, start with your best at the top and then gradually fade out with your less impressive work. Most people won’t make it to the bottom of your portfolio, so it’s a waste to put quality work at the end.
3. Show Diversity and Flexibility
While you should never include a design that you aren’t interested in replicating, it is a good idea to exhibit diversity and flexibility. Clients want designers who can take on a variety of projects, as opposed to needing multiple designers for each project they have.
You can study a great example of this by checking out Studio Schurk. As an animation studio, they produce a lot of different types of work, and they aren’t afraid to feature it all for prospective clients to see.
4. Feature Case Studies
A picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you need to cut out the text altogether. In addition to featuring images of your work, it’s a smart idea to include a couple of case studies. These case studies can explain the scope of the project and provide tangible data points that exhibit the return on investment the client received. Large businesses find case studies especially valuable, and you can increase your credibility by featuring them.
5. Rely on Quality Over Quantity
As is the case in just about every aspect of business, quality is preferred over quantity. If you only have five designs, but two of them are terrible, don’t feel like you have to include them all, just for the sake of filling up space. A client is much more likely to hire you if they see three high-quality examples, as opposed to three high-quality examples and two terrible examples. More is not always better. It’s often worse.
Let Your Profile Shine
Your design portfolio is supposed to show prospective clients your best work and highlight the various skills that you bring to the table. Make sure you’re doing yourself justice by compiling a portfolio that’s compelling and worthwhile.
Any investment in this aspect of your freelance career will benefit you in the long run.