Nothing showcases the level of skill you hold like your portfolio. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for graphic designers is just three percent, which is much slower than average. In a highly competitive job market, it is important to distinguish yourself from other candidates. The best way to do this is to learn how to make a graphic designer portfolio.
A strong portfolio will show potential clients your design skills and what you are capable of. This article will provide examples of portfolios as well as graphic design portfolio tips so you can land a high-paying graphic design job.
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What Is Graphic Design?
Graphic design is the art of creating visual content using text, symbols, and images. For organizations and companies, graphic design is used to captivate and communicate a compelling message to consumers and prospective customers. An effective design is one of the major tools through which companies create awareness and increase market shares.
A company’s logo, product packaging, advertisements, web content, social media posts, and much more are all produced by graphic designers. As such, graphic designers should be creative people who are capable of receiving feedback and making adjustments during the design process.
Do You Need a Graphic Designer Portfolio?
Yes, as a graphic designer, you need a creative portfolio that showcases your design process and the different design styles you work with. Showcasing your experience is what gives potential employers a view into your capacity to increase their market share through great visual design.
In the business world today, professionals and organizations across different fields use graphic design portfolios to make sound recruitment decisions due to the influx of applicants they receive. Your professional portfolio will help you make a strong impression on future clients. Read on to learn about the essential elements required to create a captivating graphic design portfolio.
Elements of a Strong Graphic Design Portfolio
To put forward a strong graphic design portfolio for potential clients and design agencies, you must skillfully present yourself and your work. There are specific elements that must not be left out of your portfolio. While there are major elements in every generic portfolio like a bio and a collection of work, below are the additional elements you need in a graphic design portfolio.
- Multi-layered graphics. Unlike other professional portfolios, a graphic design portfolio should display designs that are complex and multi-layered. Make your portfolio design, especially the background, bold and striking. Use the portfolio itself to display your knowledge of design trends and your personal style.
- Captivating about page. Use your about page to establish a strong personal connection with prospective clients. While visuals should dominate your portfolio, your about page tells clients about who you are. It should include when you began graphic designing and the things that inspire your unique designs.
- Interactivity. Having an interactive experience will help you create an impressive portfolio that will make a lasting impact on clients. If you do this correctly, you also display your knowledge of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. In turn, you will set yourself apart as a multidisciplinary designer.
- Contemporary designs. One of the things businesses look for in a graphic designer is the ability to keep up with current and emerging design trends. Savvy designers understand the need to experiment with new trends. Make sure that you try out different types of design to show that you are not afraid of a design challenge.
- Client testimonials. It is a good idea to mention some prominent clients you’ve worked with in the past. It is even better if you can show a glowing review of the design project you did for them. Client recommendations can go a long way in helping you establish credibility.
How to Make a Graphic Design Portfolio
Below is a step-by-step process for creating a graphic design portfolio. If you follow these steps, you will have a beautiful portfolio in no time.
1. Create Your Website
Some professionals prefer to utilize spaces like Behance and Dribbble to share their work with the world. However, as a graphic designer, it is advisable to create a website for your portfolio. Platforms like WordPress, Cargo, and Squarespace are suitable to build your personal website.
Give a brief introduction of yourself along with your background and your work experience. A high-quality picture would be the icing on the cake. Let them know the kinds of service you deliver or what niche you serve with your graphic designs.
3. Show Off Your Best Work
Now is the time to captivate your audience with the best designs you’ve created for clients. In this step, you literally sell yourself by displaying what you’ve talked about earlier. Capitalize on your strengths and ensure that only top-notch jobs are displayed here. Focus on providing quality over quantity.
4. Display Personal Projects
One of the skills that recruiters and clients look out for when hiring a graphic designer is creativity. Take this opportunity to show your creativity through the personal and conceptual projects you’ve initiated.
5. Share Client Testimonies
The impact of testimonies and strong positive reviews from clients goes a long way to show the credibility of your work. If possible, include your best testimonies showing how your design helped a company increase its market share or monthly sales. You can add screenshots or direct reviews from satisfied clients.
6. Include Your Contact Details
This is a very crucial step of making a professional portfolio. Showing all the great things you can do and have done without telling people how to reach you is simply wasting your time. So, add your active social media handles like Facebook, Instagram, and any other medium through which clients may reach you. Also include your contact number and email address.
Graphic Design Portfolio Examples
If you’ve never created a graphic design portfolio website from scratch, the examples below will be very helpful. These are summaries of the portfolios of some renowned graphic designers. Take note the special features they included in their respective portfolios. By modeling these examples, you will be able to launch your graphic design career in no time.
Taylor Dunham is a stylish graphic designer who displays the use of design as a tool and solution for solving problems in business. She gives a summary of her education, childhood, and work history, which comes after a clear and captivating picture of herself.
Best Parts of Taylor Dunham’s Graphic Design Portfolio
- She captures your attention with a catchline that says design is the solution to your business problems.
- There are high-quality designs shared on the front page of the portfolio, including her previous work for top clients.
- She adds some personal projects and positions a call to action at the bottom of the page where her contact info is linked.
Emily Zhao is a visual designer whose focus is on visual identity and branding. In her graphic design portfolio, she displays her various work categories such as book covers, interface design, print design, visual identity, product shooting, and website user interface (UI) design.
Best Parts of Emily Zhao’s Graphic Designer Portfolio
- She gives a quick introduction through a brief bio at the top of her portfolio, right before showcasing some of her best work.
- The previous designs she shared on the front page are linked to a description of her services.
- There is a call to action at the bottom of the portfolio which increases the chances for patronage.
Hermes Mazali’s portfolio displays that his specialty is logo design, branding, and other related branches of design. The online portfolio uses an interactive design with a mix of animated effects through which the text and images reveal themselves in a stylish manner. It has a captivating homepage that can capture the attention of clients at the first glance.
Best Parts of Hermes Mazali’s Graphic Designer Portfolio
- The black-and-white design communicates simple professionalism and class.
- The well-timed website animations give a special and rare user experience.
- Hermes displays a sense of craftsmanship through the arranged itemized services placed on the left with links to the descriptions.
Fedor Shkliarau is a freelancer who has been working in product design for eight years. His portfolio is clean and simple but does not leave out any of the common elements of a good graphic design portfolio. His website features a clean design with white space and an emphasis on the images and headings. Fedor also added some interactive examples of his work, which can be easily navigated.
Best Parts of Fedor Shkliarau’s Graphic Design Portfolio
- He utilizes the white space to communicate his services to prospects in a rare but creative manner.
- Fedor itemizes his services and how he created solutions for some major companies, which gives his portfolio a great reputation.
- Even though product design is his main service, he also added his writing services, which are strongly related to content creation.
Best Graphic Design Portfolio Project Ideas
Showcase your creative skills and problem-solving skills by adding different graphic design projects to your portfolio. Below are four great project ideas and how you can add them to your portfolio to show your creativity.
- Design an alphabet poster. You can display your creative skills by creating a striking but minimal poster with only the letters of the alphabet. Adding the finished work to your portfolio will give prospects a strong impression that you can resourcefully use limited materials to deliver quality results.
- Recreate or reinterpret a classic work. You can select a classic design and create a custom edition of it, then add it to your portfolio. It could be a logo, book cover, package design, or artwork. This is another way to showcase your creativity to clients.
- Design social media posts. You can impress prospective clients by showcasing your branding, product design, and other skills by creating branding for popular events in your area. You can do this by creating unique, captivating social media posts.
- Create a product label with brand materials. Another way to wow potential clients with your portfolio is by using the materials of a brand to create a product label. Make a product label that is both relatable and stands out to consumers.
Graphic Design Portfolio FAQ
Your graphic design portfolio should include your bio, previous jobs, areas of specialty, client testimonies, achievements, personal projects, and contact information.
The main thing employers or prospects want to see is the area of graphic design that you specialize in. On top of that, clients want to see your design skills and what creative work you have done in the past.
There is no specific number of designs you should include in your portfolio, but you should focus on quality over quantity. What matters is how well you communicate your competence through the work samples you do include in the portfolio.
A good portfolio is easy to navigate and accessible. Therefore, hosting your portfolio on a live website is a great idea. Otherwise, you can send clients a PDF document.
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