August 13, 2019

Ready to build an amazing portfolio which will knock the socks off of potential employers or clients. If that's a YES you are in the right place! This is the second instalment of a two part series click here to see the first blog post and video tutorial. 

Ready to be as happy as this?

Watch the video to discover Martins top portfolio advice, he is our favourite industry expert and wants to share his knowledge and experience with our creative community!

Read on to get 5 top-tips for building a killer portfolio which is industry ready! 

Read on and take a step closer to your dream job or creative client. We hope you enjoy! 

1. LESS IS MORE

  • You should be thoughtful about which pieces of work you want to include. Only include work which you enjoyed producing and would want to create again.

  • Follow the 3C rule:
    - Curated - Be picky and take out unnecessary projects.
    - Clear - Give some background about the project & ensure the work is displayed professionally. 
    - Concise - Don't waffle! Including to much information is off putting especially for
    busy people!

  • Select only your strongest pieces of creative work, no need to put in projects that don't show the best of your ability!

  • Showcase the most unique and creative work you have produced. This is a great place to show your thinking process!
     
  • If you work across a variety of topics i.e Editorial Design, UI/UX and Animation make sure you include a detailed project from each category. Again this should be the best you have!

  • Don’t be afraid to showcase personal projects as long as they are relevant! They show commitment, determination and style! 

  • If you have Editorial work Poster designs or anything similar print some of your best work for Interviews. It's great to have something to take along and even leave behind! 
designer working on portfolio

2. VARIETY & UNITY

  • Don't be too dull! Keep your portfolio interesting and show a variety of projects or if you have a very specific style shake up the way you display the projects.

  • I know we said show variety but you can have to much of a good thing! Make sure the work you include still looks like it was created by one person. Consistency is also important, it's about finding that balance!

  • If you are displaying work on Behance, Dribbble or another online platform (which we recommend) try to tie your projects together with a consistent  thumbnail/cover image style. This will help people identity your work and looks very professional!

  • Avoid boring screenshots or jpgs of your work. You want to show it at it's best, get it in a  nice mockup or flat lay!

  • Include close-ups of interesting details you include in your projects. This could be in an illustration, animation, editorial project...anything! Attention to detail can take your project from good to great!
portfolio-designer-picking-colors-for

3. STAY CURRENT

  • Don’t include work that is older than 5 years. Your skill set and style will have changed so much in that time!

  • Avoid looking dated. Some design is timeless but a lot of work you produce will eventually go out of style. Check out what other successful creatives are including in their portfolio to see what's hot and what's not!

  • Do a spring cleaning each year and don't be afraid to retire a project or replace it with another one.

  • Set reminders to add new projects to your portfolio. This can be at your own pace some people update yearly, monthly or sometimes even more. It depends on the individual!

  • Sometimes it's good to update the imagery and visuals of an older project to make it look more fresh and new. This is especially useful if you don't have anything new to add but want to update the look of your work.

4. TELL A STORY

  • Showcase the design process, not just the final result. Never be afraid to include work in progress shots or sketches. Just label them clearly.

  • You can also decide notes or or your thought process if the project explored a complex topic!

  • Start and finish with your best projects - they are the most memorable to anyone looking at your portfolio. Try to make the middle good to though! 

  • Use spell check and look for typos!
     
  • If you worked in a team be sure to clearly credit your collaborators, you don't want to accidentally take the credit for someone else's work!
portfolio creative-brain-storm

5. TAILOR IT 

  • Customise your portfolio and CV for each job application. It's a little extra work but it will 100% pay off! 

  • If you have a Creative Cloud account you can use Adobe Portfolio to sync your projects from Behance to a portfolio site with your own url. For more info check out the video tutorial!
  • Be prepared to talk about your projects in relation to the job you are applying for. It's important for you to sell your work, be passionate and to be honest. 

  • If it's relevant take along some physical work is always a plus to turn up with something you can hand over! It also acts as a great ice breaker!  

Thanks for reading we hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful!

We would love to hear what you think in the comments below. For a way more in-depth look at this topic check out the full video tutorial.

PLUS if you want to learn even more about where to display your creative work here's a link to the first part of this tutorial series

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from Adobe Certified Instructors and industry professionals

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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