Freelance Tips: Making long-lasting impression with your portfolio
Your portfolio is your creative business card so make it shiny and slick. Have a look at these tips to help you out when creating your work presentation.
The way you present your work and yourself is directly connected with the ability to gain new clients and projects so it is crucially important to do it right.
Your portfolio should present your talents, abilities and professionalism in the best possible way. It is should be a digital business card which will help potential clients remember you. So here are some tips to create the perfect portfolio whether it is a digital or a print one.
# Think like a client
In the beginning, it is important to think about what a potential client or coworker would like to see on your portfolio website. Undoubtedly, you should add your best work but also think about including your skills and specializations. Make sure that you include your experience and whether you are available for work. It is also important to show that you have individuality – add some information about your hobbies and your favourite sports and activities. Clients like to know you a bit more before calling. In addition to all these, add clear contact information as potential clients should be able to contact you at any point.
Example: Marie Laurent Portfolio
Looking at Marie Laurent portfolio website you will see that it is clearly organized into a several section. There is a written presentation with a small selection of some works and contact section on the home page. In the about section, Marie has included a brief presentation of her, her experience and beliefs. There is some information about her specialties and talks she has given. A great section is one that shows the awards she has received over the years and some of the clients she worked for. Marie Laurent website is a great example of honest, clean, beautiful portfolio website that shows only the important information with great work.
# Don’t talk pompously
When adding the written content you should be careful with the language you are using. Pompous, bombastic lingo with some marketing gibberish will put off your audience. Make sure that you write short comments about your work. Be honest and informative. Add the name of the project together with some descriptive information. It is a good idea to add some additional work that relates to a particular project if you have such.
Example: Basile Tournier Portfolio
Basile Tournier Portfolio website is an example of modern and creative website which is created with a lot of individual and unique touch. The info and work is beautifully presented with a lot of high quality visuals and just the right amount of descriptions. Notice the section “Journal” ? This is Basile’s visual online diary which includes visual moments that impressed the author. I bet if you are client you would like to hire Basile Tournier…
# Clean and simple typography
Your portfolio website is consisting of your best projects so clean and simple typography is preferable as the accent is your work. The type you choose should be delicate. A standard, good-looking and simple typeface used with grayish or blackish colour will make the text as an addition to you work. Your work will be of visual priority.
Example: Alex Pierce Portfolio
Alex Pierce is a very talented designer with a great sense of humor. If you open his website, you will see a type-based portfolio with lovely colours and simple layout. I have chosen a type-based website to illustrate that when type is used within the creative limits with a clever approach, the work still can be emphasized. Typography here is cleverly chosen, descriptions are informative with no creative mumbling. Everything seems to be in the right place and working greatly together with one another.
# News and updates
A great portfolio site is one that is regularly updated and new content is published from time to time. Think about adding your new projects or work in progress. If you are doing side projects that interest you, consider adding them as well. All this will enhance you public image and reputation. You will seems as a successful, creative professional that is working and developing skills and abilities.
Example: Sam Docker Portfolio
Sam is a photographer and his website is what you expect to see for a website for photographer. High quality and great-looking photos, some information about the artist and clients. But Sam’s website got a section called blog where you can find some thoughts on different projects and clients, the process and great photos of course. Sam’s website is the perfect example of a website for a creative person who shows his work and personality in a simple and honest way.
# Consider the number
If you are willing to create a print portfolio that you are going to use when you are meeting new clients, you should consider carefully the number of works you want to include. You may need no more than 10 projects so choose wisely. In the digital portfolio you can choose to show a lot more project but for the print one you should be aware of the viewer. Too much work will tire the clients and they won’t remember you work. Be critical when you are making the selection and choose only the best ones. Group the projects into categories and show as much skills as you can.
# The professional touch
When creating your portfolio it is really important to choose high quality material. You may consider asking a photographer to help you out with the lighting and composition of the images if you are not confident in your own abilities. You also can think of enhancing the images in Photoshop or Lightroom. Your print portfolio represents you as a professional and creative person. It should be high quality looking. You should consider it thoroughly from front to back cover.
# Be consistent
Creating a print portfolio is a chance to show off your knowledge in terms of identity and presentation. Be consistent in the way you present your work, the images, the colours, the backgrounds and typography. Your clients will be impressed when you show a consistent approach in combining different projects in one printed coherent piece.
# Progress, growth and self-expression
When creating a printed portfolio there is always a format to be considered. Think about choosing a format that can be easily edited. You should be able to add new projects so it is up-to-date. But showing some old but great ones will show your development and growth. The demonstration of your evolution as a designer will speak to client your willingness for growth and learning new skills.
Think about your portfolio as an instrument which expresses yourself. Choose the projects that important to you and think about why they are so important. What are the works that you most proud of? When meeting clients you should be able to express your creative beliefs.
Creative professionals do need a portfolio. But not just a portfolio. It should reflect their personality, professional beliefs and inspirations. A successful print or digital presentation will tell the world out there who you are, how you work and why clients should trust you with their money, services and products. It is your job to present yourself in the best possible way.
Do you have a great portfolio to show other fellow designers? Or have you seen a great portfolio website? Feel free to leave a comment below…