How to make the perfect design portfolio
Be selective about what you include
Select only your best pieces. Showcase your most unique and creative work. Go for variety.
How many pieces to include?
Go for quality not quantity. My suggestion is 10 on the low end to no more than 20. You don’t want to lose the attention span of the viewer.
Online or physical portfolio
If you’re a web designer online is probably the only way to go.
If you’re a print designer then you probably need both – online and physical.
Revolution Creative allows you to upload 15 pieces of work – this includes static images, videos and audio.
a website and/or a portfolio online and a physical portfolio for seeing clients in person. Check out some links at the end of this list for some ideas on how to get your work online.
Keep it up to date.
A portfolio needs to be constantly updated / edited / reviewed to keep it fresh and current.
Keep it consistent
Keep one look (ideally something pretty simple and striking that speaks to your design style) across all your collateral i.e. one look online and in print and across CVs, resumes and emails. Make sure to include contact information and hopefully a nice simple URL / link to your online work across everything consistently.
Make sure the pieces flow nicely from one to the next.
You don’t have to group all web design together and all logos together. Look at how colours and angles work together to tell a coherent design story.
Take a pic
If you only have print piece of a project and want to use it online, take some arty photos of it. If you don’t have a great camera don’t use your iPhone, hire a photographer for a quick photo shoot or even work out a barter.
Make it fresh
If you only have a PDF of a magazine or poster you designed, search online for mock-up resources such as Graphicburger. They have free downloads of layered PDF files to drop your artwork into so they look like you hired a photographer. These are perfect for websites and apps.
Non client work?
What you include doesn’t always have to be paid client projects. If you love to self-start your own projects, go ahead and include them.
Many projects are probably self-explanatory but others aren’t. Notes about the project, who the client was, what skills were used, and how the project was marketed are all great to include.
Show your design process
Maybe your client didn’t select the logo you really loved so can you include it in your portfolio? You can absolutely have a portfolio piece that shows your design process and the five logos you designed for your client to pick from. They may not have chosen the one you wanted them to but you can still show your creativity with the others you designed. It’s interesting to creative directors to see your design process.
Get a second opinion
Make sure you run it past other designer friends and get their feedback. It’s super easy to not spot mistakes and omissions after looking at a portfolio endlessly.
Rinse & repeat
Think you’re done once you’ve hit “publish” on your portfolio page? If so, go back to #4. You need to stay current so set a schedule to review your portfolio at least every six months.
Add any new projects and delete anything that’s looking dated or tired.
You’ve looked through your pieces, chosen them with care, shown lots of variety and creativity and are ready to launch it out to the internet world. What now?
If you already have a website, then adding a Portfolio section is an obvious choice. Many Squarespace and WordPress themes are made purposely for portfolios. You can title it Portfolio or some people go with Work.
Uploading your chosen pieces to Revolution Creative by way of creating a profile. Is your first stop. This is a free community of New Zealand creatives built to showcase your work. You can connect with other creatives on here and you might even get a gig on there too!
Instagram is also an up and coming platform for an unofficial portfolio. Start a second account so your selfies don’t show up in between two ad campaigns you’ve designed though. There are lots of online tutorials on how to tackle an Instagram portfolio.
By Marshall Smith – The Sound Room.
The Sound Room Ltd (est. 2003) is based in Auckland, New Zealand and is run by composers/producers Tom Fox and Marshall Smith. The Sound Room writes and produces music and sound design for film/tv, advertising, games and artists.
Marshall won a place at the Berlinale in 2016, an ART Venture Award in 2012 for creative entrepreneurs and was granted a Professional Development Award in 2011 from the NZ Film Commission. He has also been a finalist for song of the year in the APRA Silver Scrolls (2004). Marshall is co-founder and Chairperson of the Screen Composers Guild of New Zealand.