5 Tips for Creating the Best Online Portfolio

5 tips for creating the best online portfolio

An online portfolio is a chance to show the extent of a designer’s experience and skills to potential clients or employers. A great portfolio is very often the main reason why a designer will win new business or get hired. Here are five tips to help you create the best online portfolio.

Dribbble, Behance, Coroflot, CarbonMade, Cargo… designers and visual artists often turn to these free platforms for creating and hosting their online portfolio. But how to stand out from the crowd?

Keeping it simple

Potential clients or employers need to get a clear idea of a designer’s skills right away. Having too many animations, pop ups and banners may prevent them from getting the right idea, or even worse, annoy them and have them close the portfolio all together. To avoid frustration of not getting the right information, keeping the portfolio simple is the key. Navigation should be easy and self-explanatory. The work is the only thing that should stand out, not the online portfolio’s features.

A graphic designer portfolio should look professional and inspire trust, as it is the first impression of someone’s work and personality.

Home, About, Portfolio, Contact and Social Networks are some of the pages that are expected in an online portfolio. Easy navigation from one another is crucial.

Conveying a clear message

When creating an online portfolio, a graphic designer or visual artist should always keep in mind the key message of their work. Less is more, trying to cover every aspect of a discipline might convey the wrong idea about a professional’s core skills. For instance, if a graphic designer is specialising in the creation of logo, the online portfolio should reflect it clearly.

When choosing which work to display, quality prevails over quantity.

The best work should be easily identified in the upper section if the portfolio is just one page. People may not take the time to scroll down so they need to get the picture right away.

Displaying a logo and a tagline

Conveying a clear message on an online portfolio is easier with a logo and a tagline. As mentionned above, the prospective client should identify the key message quickly. Adding a logo or name at the top of the online portfolio, hyperlinked to the homepage is essential. Secondly, a concise tagline should immediately tell visitors what the online portfolio is about, summing up who the designer is, where he or she is from and what he or she does. For instance “I am Charlotte, a graphic designer from Paris and I love to create corporate logos”.

A tagline should convey the right message on a portfolio.

Adding testimonials

Recommandations from satisfied clients or former employers are an effective way of building trust. It adds credibility and encourages prospects to get in touch with a graphic designer. There are two possibilities; adding a testimonial section in the online portfolio or linking all recommandations to related projects. This might really make a difference when someone is still unsure about whether they will work with the portfolio owner or not.

After every successful project, a graphic designer should ask for a recommandation from the customer.

Creating a contact section

Needless to say, the contact bit is unavoidable! Whether it is a whole page or a simple section, the “Contact me” should stand out and be easily accessible, whatever device the prospect is navigating on. Phone number and email address must be displayed in the header or the footer. A contact form is bonus. Also, adding the Twitter, Facebook and other relevant social network icons help increasing visibility.

Are you interested in graphic design? Read more about the Visual Communication Department at IIM.