You’ve spent 3 years studying and designing and now it’s time to get serious about your graphic design portfolio and career. But hang on a second, how many other graduates or designers are out there pitching for the same work or jobs as you? Probably more than you’d like to think about! Making a living from your art can be a really rewarding and self satisfying career, that’s why we have written this blog to help get you started in putting together your best portfolio to nab the work you’ve been dreaming about.
First, you will need to prove your skill and ability and this will need to be accomplished through your portfolio. You will need to prove your worth to potential clients and really get behind your own work.
1. Variety is key to show off your skill set
Start to pull together work which shows off your creative and technical talents across a broad range of industries and styles. Diversity will allow clients to see that you can work across a number of different styles and more importantly, work towards a brief. Also, make sure you show off your computer application skills along with your ability to execute control within your work. The more skills you have the more versatile you are and the more valuable you’ll be to a new business.
2. Present a sizeable portfolio, but remember quality over quantity
There’s no point in including every single piece of work you’ve ever created just to pump up the size of your portfolio, because, let’s face it, not all works are created equal. Select the best pieces which demonstrate your skills across a variety of techniques, creatives and styles. Employees or businesses want to see enough work to keep them interested, but not too much that they get bored. Aim for about 20 to 30 pieces for your online portfolio and about 15 to 25 for your physical portfolio.
3. Organize your work into categories
This will allow for easy navigation through your portfolio, particularly if employers are looking for a media type which is the most important for the role. Start by dividing your projects into different media types, from business cards and online or print ads, to banners, marketing collateral, web design, ebooks, online content and more. You could also organize your portfolio by concepts, displaying each type of media within the one project. When selecting a layout, just make sure it’s simple to understand
4. Include some information on the brief
An employer will want to see you ability to take a brief, interpret it and produce an outcome which meets or exceeds the requirements of the task. Delivering work on brief is incredibly important and shows an employer your ability to understand a brand, work within a style guide and deliver results their expectations. Include in here client feedback and also be prepared to talk about how well the design worked for the client.
5. Adapting your portfolio for different businesses
Each business is different and will have a certain style they are looking for. It’s always handy to have a selection of backup works, in addition to your portfolio as this will allow for you to change up your portfolio based on the company you are approaching.
6. A web portfolio is critical
Your online portfolio shouldn’t be underestimated and is often the first point of call from a prospective employer. Register a domain name to host your work and include this on your marketing collateral including your business card, social media profiles and email signature. Ensure the website design is set up in a way that is easy to adjust and upload any additional work.
A career in graphic design is well worth your while, you just need to get yourself and your work noticed. By presenting your work through a well organized and diverse portfolio which shows your ability to adapt to different styles and techniques will put you in good stead with potential employees. How do you approach your portfolio?
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