Haute Ecole Albert Jacquard Department

Creating Your Graphic Design Portfolio

Portfolios are your own personal gallery of works and achievements, and you absolutely need to have one if you don’t already. You can find many different templates and guides to creating your portfolio from scratch, including sites that will generate a template for you, but you also need to take the time to ensure you have a large, presentable, high quality portfolio that clients can, if they want to, print out for offline viewing.

Starting your own portfolio is actually easy when you’ve already done a lot of work, and even if you haven’t, you can browse other portfolios to see what artists commonly include or leave out as ways to market their skill sets. You will often find a great deal of value placed on rare or exclusive skills as an artist, so those should always take the forefront when you’re considering layout and order of projects to display. Here are a few more ideas on how to put your own portfolio together.

A Quick Note: Templates

There’s only so many variations that you can have on the portfolio concept, which is why templates can be very tempting to use. They’re not necessarily the worst idea in most cases, but they also aren’t going to hide your work if you aren’t going about it at the right angle. Layered templates can work, for example, but they may not be the right call if you’re using a lot of contrasting minimalist designs along with more complex or busy images. Re-arranging template frames and layouts is recommended for that specific reason.

Creating Your Graphic Design Portfolio

Show Your Best Face

It seems like it would be common sense to just pick your best work, but there’s always the temptation to show just how much you can do in as many areas as you have ever done graphic design. That may not be the right call, though, depending on what you’ve done in those other areas. If your passion is for poster design, posters are what you should really put forward. You’ve likely done projects that you were less-than-passionate about, and those ideas may have been workable or acceptable for a client, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be great marketing for you as a designer.

Creating Your Graphic Design Portfolio

Behind the Curtain

When it’s appropriate, you can even display the process that goes into your creation of images. For example, if you created an image that started out as a sketch, you can show that sketch, and then the images that went along until the final product was reached. Clients can appreciate this because it shows them how you can carry an idea from its inception to its completion, and other artists will even be able to appreciate the technical work that you’ve done to make the piece come to life.

For some pieces, like digital art, it may not always be something you can instantly appreciate, and for work based on photographs that you haven’t taken yourself, it may just be something you want to avoid entirely. The idea is to display your skills.