When you are first starting out it's hard to know how to build a design portfolio. You might wonder what projects to include or (most importantly) where to display your work! 

In this post we will take a look at the two of the leading portfolio platforms in the creative industry: Behance & Dribbble. Learn more about each website and get some top tips on how you should use them!

For an in-depth discussion on the benefits of Behance & Dribble. As well as general tips and advice from our favourite industry expert (Martin of course) check out this video and make sure you have a pen to hand!

If you just fancy a few quick tips keep reading and you're still gonna need that pen!

Building a design portfolio online...

Behance

The platform was founded by American Entrepreneur Scott Belsky before it was bought by Adobe. He stayed and worked within the business for few years before officially leaving in 2016. 

Among other (amazing) things Belsky has also written two books which we definitely recommend if you are looking to start a business or already have one up and running! Find them here.

How to make the most of Behance - Discover work

There are plenty of ways to hunt down creative candy on Behance! The first option is to use the Search & Filter feature in the top right. Here you can type a word or phrase i.e Graphic Design, then if you don't see the type of work you are looking for use the filters to narrow down your search. 

You can use all sorts of filters including:

  • Most Appreciated
  • Most Viewed
  • Most Discussed
  • Most Recent
  • Add a filter for a specific creative field i.e Calligraphy 
  • Use a location 
  • Application i.e Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Colors used in a project 

You can be very specific and we guaranty no matter how niche your topic Behance will have something great to show you!

design portfolio filter
color search design portfolio

You can also head to the 'Discover' tab to find galleries curated by Behance, work made by students from amazing design schools and work created using specific applications.

Check out the full tutorial to find out exactly how you can use Behance to hunt down great work! 

DISPLAY WORK

Here's some top tips for building a killer design portfolio on Behance!

Tell a story!

The most successful projects on Behance include plenty of detail about the work which has been created. You should include:

  • Information about the brief, even if you made it up yourself. It's important for viewers to get an idea of the challenge you faced!
  • Background about the client or company. If the project is fictional you can talk about why you created it. Is it based on a personal interest a world issue etc? 
  • Work in progress. Don't be afraid to show initial sketches or the first few rounds of the design process. It's good to show development work! 
  • Show the final outcome in a few different ways so viewers can get an idea of how it will look in different contexts. You can download PSD's to display brands, editorial work, posters, business cards etc. 
  • Make it visually engaging and take a little time. Some artists spend a day some a week some just a few hours creating a project. The most important thing is you show the work at it's best!

For more useful advice check out the full tutorial

behance example design portfolio
design portfolio behance example

Click these images to take a look at examples of brilliant Behance profiles!

Dribbble

This creative platform is different to Behance because artists use it to give quick but exciting glances into their creative projects. Users post up 'Shots' which are literally one image posts with a small description of the logo, illustration, concept etc. 

You can also include searchable tags and the color palette you used. All of this information will help people discover your work because similar to Behance you can search for shots by color.

Dribbble is very popular for GIF's, illustration work, icon designs and UI/UX. However I have also seen it used to tease packaging & branding projects. Here instead of sharing the full story you are teasing the viewer with a glimpse!

Discover work

On Dribbble you can search for individual Shots, Designers or Teams. For inspiration I tend to stick to searching for shots. It's easy to check out loads of work pretty quickly and you always leave feeling inspired!

search dribbble design portfolio color

Similar to Behance you are able to enter a search term and then use filters to refine your results.

You can use all sorts of filters including:

  • Tags applied 
  • Color 
  • When the work was posted
  • Most Recent
  • Application i.e Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Creative Field i.e Animation

Check out the full tutorial to find out exactly how you can use Dribbble to hunt down great work!

DISPLAY WORK 

Here's some tips for starting to use the platform!

You need an invitation...

Yup that's right! To actually post work and build a design portfolio an existing member of the community needs to invite you into the inner circle.

This might sound weird but it actually ensures the quality of work on Dribbble is always amazing!

To start with don't focus on just getting an invite, be an active member, check out others work, profiles and see how people use the online space.

In time someone will invite you if they see you
are a positive member of the community. You
can always chat up your design friends for an
invite to! 

Once you are in it's important to put a lot of thought into your first shot. it's a big trend to make a grand entrance on Dribbble and it sets the tone for everything which follows in your design portfolio.

Check out the video tutorial for more info! 

design portfolio gal shir
cub studio dribbble example

DESIGN PORTFOLIO - Top Tip

Use the two sites in combination. On Dribbble you can get people excited about a project using a well considered Shot which stands out. Include a URL to the full project on Behance so people can click though and find out more about your fantastic work! 

We hope you enjoyed this post on creating a design portfolio if you want to carry on learning
we think you will enjoy this post on how Adobe Color can help you created amazing color combinations!

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About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas.

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