Design Portfolio Tips for Designers


Here's some industry advice on how to best showcase your creative potential in your design portfolio. Whether you're aiming at a creative role as a Graphic Designer with an advertising agency, or an Art working job for a blue chip client, we have some good tips on how to organise your work, from picking out your best designs to a proper presentation at a job interview that will leave your potential employer asking for more!

Ten is the magic number

Decide upon 10 pieces that you are happy with for your portfolio: 7 that demonstrate your precise specialization and 3 that provide a slightly broader perspective of your talents and interests.

Keep it contemporary

Everything in your portfolio should be fairly recent. Anything more than three years old is too dated to show off your passion for design. Also, trends change quickly, but you have to acknowledge their importance in the Design World.

Organise tactically

Call the client or ask the recruitment agency first to find out how they would prefer your portfolio to be organised i.e. corporate clients often want to see work specifically targeted at their market. Some other companies would like to see a variety of media or a more contemporary flavour. If in doubt, order chronologically as this will demonstrate your development as a designer.

Spend some money

Grubby mounts with worn edges will only be a detriment to your work. Old portfolios have a worn, favourite book charm, but employers look at details and the amount of effort you have put in. The outside can have a bit of wear and tear - but it should not be reflected on the pages of your work. Make your work look the best it possibly can, it speaks volumes about who you are and how you think.

Laminate or overlays

Protect your work and extend its lifespan by laminating your portfolio mounts. They will only get damaged by various potential employers reviewing your work. Overlays are great as they can really lift a page and consequently your work by giving it a uniform sheen.

Label work with important information

Create a label for each piece with some key information:

  • The name of the Client the work was done for.
  • Your specific role in the project.
  • Software used to create the work.
  • A sentence or two explaining why the project is important to your development.

Demonstrate your expertise in context of the job

If they have asked for a Graphic Designer that can handle a job from start to finish - then try and show in your portfolio that you can carry an idea from the ideas stage right through to the final print management stage.

Join in the electronic age

It is essential that you have work that is either viewable online or on-screen for a Mac and/or a PC. The internet is the most valuable tool you have at your disposal; it can be accessed by thousands of employers and likeminded people who can help you. Creativepool lets you upload your portfolio to your creative profile and send it together with job applications, so your designs can awe potential employers even before the interview stage!

Leave an impression

Its a good idea to leave something about you with the employer. A CV or a sheet of A4 is destined for the bin, so be inventive and creative! You have to somehow stay at the front of what is probably a very large and talented group of people.

Commercial sells!

Finally, make sure your work has a commercial slant. Being off the wall and arty is okay for one or two pages of your portfolio, but employers want to make money from your designs, so commercialism and sale ability are far more important than personal preference.


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