5 Tips for Creating a Design Portfolio That Gets You Noticed

5 Tips for Creating a Design Portfolio That Gets You Noticed

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.

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Larry Alton

Business Consultant

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.


In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!



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