An online portfolio allows you to highlight your design work or other artistic endeavors. Your portfolio could be the very first impression you make on a potential client. You want to make sure it is as professional as possible. An online portfolio gives potential clients the visual proof of your skills so they can see the type and quality of your work.
Unfortunately, a poorly done online portfolio is also visual proof to viewers. If your portfolio isn’t well designed, you may lose that client before they ever sign on to have you do work for them. One of the best ways to figure out how you want to design your online portfolio is to study what others have done particularly well.
Your Organizational Skills
One thing you’ll want to do before you design your online portfolio is to figure out the framework you want it to have. You don’t have to put everything in little capsulized boxes. Images should be a similar size and shape or fit within the context of a larger shape.
The way you frame your project can explain what you do. For example, if you run a photography studio, then you will want to highlight portraits. You may want to make every other photo a close-up or group similar settings together.
A good example of a portfolio with a strong framework can be found at Naturally Vics Photography. This is a photographer who focuses on photos of high school seniors and sports shots. Her portfolio is divided by the location on her property. You can click to view photos taken at that location. The photos are the same size and the same location, but poses and models are different for each photo.
This portfolio is unique because of the framework of sorting the photos by the location of the shoot rather than by model or type of photo. It shows that Naturally Vics focuses on taking great photos in specific locations and gives the viewer a solid idea of what they’ll get from hiring the photographer.
You can emulate this type of portfolio by thinking about the bigger picture with your work. What is similar about different aspects of your business and how can you best group things together to highlight your work?
Your Unique Bio
A strong portfolio should include a bio that highlights your experience and philosophy that drives your work. It is important that your bio makes you seem approachable so clients will feel comfortable contacting you to work with them.
Aleksander Grkinic, owner of Egopop, has a fabulous “about me” page that highlights his fun personality and stellar design skills. He doesn’t go into a ton of background info. His intro is short and sweet, and he talks about his philosophy of life. There is a photo of him jumping in the air. Then, there are some cutouts highlighting some of the unique designs he is capable of. He describes the areas of design work he does, and that he would like to hear from you either to hire him or just to chat. In addition, he adds links to social media. All of this makes him very approachable.
You can repeat this fabulous bio by focusing on your philosophy as a designer. Try to encourage readers to contact you or get in touch on social media.
Your Technical Skills
Every designer, photographer and artist has some specific things they do really well. One way to highlight what you do well is to categorize your skills. For example, if you specialize in WordPress website design, then your portfolio should offer a section that highlights your WordPress website designs.
Mark DeLong’s portfolio highlights his skills by dividing them into specific categories. These categories are represented by large, vertical photographs with text along the bottom edge indicating what category that photo represents. This portfolio is unique because it uses vertical photos and features some animation as the user hovers over each image. The photographs are obviously of the highest quality possible, indicating the photographer is a professional, commercial photographer who works on diverse projects.
You can repeat Mark DeLong’s amazing design by figuring out what your best skills are and what categories they fall into. Then, choose the very best examples you can find to highlight those skills.
When a client first lands on your page, they are likely looking at a couple of things. They probably want to know if you can complete the type of project they need done. They’re also looking for examples of your work. If you keep the design simple and to the point, the client can find that info quickly and you don’t risk them bouncing away to another designer’s site.
Marc Thomas does a great job of keeping his site very simple. His design changes frequently, but he presents basic info on his landing page, such as his name, what he does — digital designer and front-end editor — big companies he has worked with and social media links. Because his page is so simple, the user can find info quickly. It’s easy to get in touch with Marc to learn more.
You can create a similar portfolio page by focusing on the work you do and who you’ve done it for. Make sure you add plenty of ways for them to get in touch. If you want to include examples of your work, you can do so on social media or by including some small thumbnails across the bottom of the page. You can also add a link to examples or clients.
A portfolio is your chance to make a great first impression and turn client leads into contracts. Think through what you want your portfolio to say about you as a designer. Remember to choose the type of portfolio that works best to highlight your work.