When you’re starting your design career and looking for your first role or freelancing client, an awesome design portfolio is your most important tool. Your design portfolio not only shows off your work, but your personality and design style.

As you’re only starting off though, it’s unlikely you have much commercial work to show off. That’s fine, that’s what this blog post is here for. We will cover the main things you need to consider, from what to include, to building a website.



Choose your best work

The first thing you need to do is gather all of the work you have done so far. This can include projects from your studies and even personal projects you have worked on for fun.

Once you have all of your projects in one place, review them together so you can choose your best work. Have you got a particular design style? If so, try and incorporate this style across your portfolio.

Identify your key strengths and the type of design work you do, so you can start considering the type of companies you want to work for. If you want to get a role designing for brands for instance, you should focus on showcasing your advertising style designs, rather than anime character designs.

Don’t have enough work to showcase? Design more!

An employer or client wants to see that you have experience working on projects similar to their’s. If you need more work to showcase, why don’t you create some! Design a variety of projects that show you’re capable of designing in a way your clients will need.

One way to grow your design portfolio is to ask family or friends if there are any projects you could design for them, even if you offer it for free. This will give you the opportunity to work on real projects and practice your project management and communication skills. Plus, they can write you a review!


 Print Design Portfolio

Build your design portfolio

The first thing you need to do is choose your platform, whether this be print or online. If you want a website, look at platforms like WordPress, Squarespace or Wix, which offer free and paid options. We would also recommend buying your domain, as it looks more professional and will give you more functionality.

You can also create profiles on platforms like Dribbble and Behance. Both are active design communities, display your work neatly and have job sections.

Once you’ve chosen your platform, you need to organise your work into categories. If you do a mix of print design, digital design and illustration, then you should organise them accordingly. You can also add a tab for a creative PDF version of your CV.

Create a feature image for each project that links the user to the full project. Display images of the finished product, a web link of the site you designed and it may also be a good idea to include wireframes and mockups to show your process.



Advertise your portfolio on social media

Social media is a great way to build your exposure and showcase your work. Each platform has different functionality, so choose the best channels for you.

  • Twitter & Instagram are great to showcase individual projects and feature images
  • Pinterest is a great platform for design that incorporates text. It’s also a great platform to show your process
  • You can also create a FaceBook page, but Twitter or Instagram may be more relevant

Always make sure you link your portfolio on your social accounts and posts.


Building a portfolio can seem daunting, but if you follow the above steps methodically, it won’t be as difficult as you think and the benefits will be endless.

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