For someone working in the creative industry, taking time to plan out and create a portfolio website is essential. In fact, reading your resume will never be able to replace the act of looking at your actual work for someone looking to hire.
Most importantly, an online portfolio website can help you build and maintain your personal brand image, which is key to generate work inquiries or job offers.
Here are 7 useful tips to help you create a beautiful and effective portfolio online.
1. Select your best work
Before jumping into the process of creating your actual website, take some time to go over your past work and select the projects that you would like to showcase.
The goal of your portfolio
what kind of new work, contacts, inquiries are you hoping to receive thanks to this portfolio? The goal should guide you when selecting “the right” type of work, rather than only “the best”.
Quality over quantity
make sure you only select the work you are really proud of, or that shows your best skills, even if it means showcasing a limited amount of projects.
2. In-depth case study of your selected pieces
Don’t just show your work: tell the story behind it. Give a background explanation of the purpose of the project, the approach you took to come up with a proposal and the amazing things your client achieved thanks to you!
Your potential new client may be interested in how you tackle challenges rather than just quickly scrolling through beautiful images. A very good example is how Maya Patterson, a product designer, describes her work in detail with a case study on her portfolio.
3. Write a short biography
Even though pictures are worth a thousand words, they won’t be able to quickly explain what you do and what your background is.
While your visual projects may take the central stage, include a one-line introduction of your creative specialty, as well as a more in-depth biography explaining:
- Your skills
- Your picture
- Your location
- Your work so far
- Your credentials: anything from client names, testimonials, awards. Just show off as much as you can!
- Contact form & social media profiles
4. Express your personal voice
Having a nice gallery and a brief description of what you do will never make you stand out from hundreds of other portfolios.
To make the final decision, a perspective client may eventually pick based on minor details such as your unique personal voice. So don’t be afraid to be a bit more casual and to include some humour in your copy!
5. Where to create your portfolio
Once you have a clear idea of both the work and the content that is going into your new, online portfolio it’s time to think of how you’re actually going to create it.
If you are happy with a simple, template-based website Adobe Portfolio offers free access if you have a Creative Cloud membership.
If you’d rather create your own, unique portfolio design from scratch quickly & without writing any code STUDIO may be the best option for you.
If you have no problem both designing and developing your own website, that’s also an option of course.
6. Design your portfolio
From finding inspiration to choosing typography and color palette, thinking of the design of your portfolio is as important as for any other website. Check out this complete website design guide for tips and free resources.
When it comes to showcasing your work on a portfolio, less is definitely more: a good strategy is to go for a simple layout and let your work take the central stage.
However, don’t be afraid to let your creativity flow and build a unique portfolio that stands out not only because of the work showcased, but because of the website itself (especially if you’re a web designer)! Here are 6 gorgeous examples of web designer portfolios that managed to do just that (and some of them even got a mention on Awwards in the process).
7. Promote yourself online
It may sound like a never ending promotion vicious circle, but even though you created a portfolio to promote your work it will be quite useless if no one visits it: so after completing it, a bit of self promotion using other channels is definitely necessary.
You don’t have to be a social media expert to get some incoming traffic: putting a bit of effort into engaging with your profession’s online community on twitter, or dedicated social media is bound to pay off in the long run.
Finally always keep your portfolio up to date with fresh content. Your client doesn’t want to see that website you designed back in 1995..
And most importantly: enjoy creating!