notebook next to a laptop

In an attempt to improve my own graphic design portfolio, I’ve spent some time looking at other designers portfolios.

Whilst many featured some incredibly inspirational work, I noticed a number of them that were let down by one or two poor design choices.

So based on my observations, here’s 5 ways you can improve your own online portfolio.

1. Make your work easy to find

Many of the portfolios I visited used tedious (dare I say boring?) text navigation.

Links to work were hidden in endless lists and drop-down menus.

Don’t force your visitors to have to search for you portfolio. If you want people to view your work, make it easy for them to find it.

Consider making your portfolio your landing page.

Or include some of your latest work on your homepage, along with an obvious link to your full portfolio.

2. Provide some context

Numerous times I was presented with some great looking designs.

Yet I had no idea what I was actually looking at because the designer hadn’t included any information.

A brief explanation adds some context to your portfolio and helps people understand it.

Tell people what the thinking was behind your design;

Why that particular colour?

What was the problem your were trying to solve?

If it’s a self-initiated project, what were you trying to accomplish?

Design is all about ideas, so shout about them.

3. Remove the clutter

Your portfolio should put the emphasis on your skills and talent.

Remove all the extra unnecessary stuff;

Social media icons, adverts, comments, anything that could potentially distract visitors or drive them away from your site.

Don’t make your work fight for a vistor’s attention.

4. Photograph your work

photography studio shoot

If you’re designing for print, it’s well worth getting hold of your work and photographing it.

Digital mock ups are ok when you’re starting out.

But having well-shot photographs of your work really help to impress potential clients.

Having examples of finished, physical work can help with your credibility too and make you appear more ‘real’, particularly if you rely on your website for business.

5. Use larger images

I found a lot of people displaying very small images of their work.

This made it very hard to actually make out a lot of the detail.

If you’ve got the space, use larger images and really show off your skills.

Include multiple close up ‘detail shots’ of anything that’s too small to be made out in the main image, such as the typography or the texture of the paper stock.

Ask yourself “what would someone want to see if they were holding this in their hands?”

Then show them.

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