5 Things You Should Have in Your Designer Portfolio

Posted on November 17, 2015 | Updated on December 19, 2020


In order to present yourself as the professional you are and gain new clients, you’ll need to have a clean, unique designer portfolio.

Your portfolio needs to include items that demonstrate your skills and your ability as a designer. To convince potential clients that you’re the right fit, your portfolio must showcase a wide variety: different styles of writing or variations on designs will land you an equally varied selection of clients.

Here, we’ll take a look at the five portfolio elements that you’ll need to polish in order to present yourself as a professional who can take on any project with future clients.

1. Bio

Include a bio page that outlines your education, experience and specialty areas. Say someone is looking for a designer that has experience in logos and you’ve created logos for two major corporations: Reading that you have worked on these big company logos will capture that potential client’s interest.

2. Design Samples

This is your chance to showcase your very best work. You’ll want to include not only samples, but a variety of sample types. Include a website you designed, an ad you worked on and a logo.

If you are just getting started, offer your services for free to local businesses so you have some samples to showcase. You may even get referrals to other businesses from those companies.

Make sure you only include your very best samples. Remember that you are trying to make a quick impression on potential clients. Only presenting your very best work paints a picture of your worth as a professional designer. You want the client to think, “I love this work. I want it for myself.”

3. Extra Copies

If you’re presenting the portfolio in print format rather than electronic, you’ll want to include an extra copy of your bio and a couple of samples. This will allow you to leave that material with the decision maker. When he is making a final decision on who to hire, he can easily refer back to those sheets and remember your work.

4. Case Study

Many experts advise including a case study that is specific to the business you’re trying to sell your services to. This case study would include specific statistics on the company’s target demographic and perhaps a look at the closest competition and what they’re doing that the company can do better.

5. Editing

One element of utmost importance in creating a portfolio is to ensure it is professionally edited. Even if you are excellent at grammar, it is very difficult for one person to catch every spelling error and typo. Pay a professional editor to go over your portfolio and make sure it is perfect so you make the right impression.

Most portfolios are between five and 20 pages in length. If yours is not at least five pages long, use the tips above.

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About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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