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Have you ever wondered what is considered the most powerful asset for a graphic designer, whether full time or part-time? If you are already in this industry or learnt a little about graphic designs, I bet your answer would be the portfolio! Every designer must have a strong portfolio, much like a resume, to showcase and prove your skills, versatility, case studies from your previous clients, contact information and even your ability to communicate and cooperate with the clients. By creating a sleek and professional graphic design portfolio, the designer has a higher chance of success and getting hired. Besides catching the eyes of potential clients or employers, it works as a place to archive your work for personal use and acquire interest from the public. There are few types of portfolios, from the traditional pdf that can be printed or digital to the online portfolio with fun interactive elements. Before crafting a graphic design portfolio, there are a few elements that you have to consider to build an impressive and effective portfolio. 

Show your personality and distinctive style. 

Every designer has a unique personality and style. Why not incorporate this into creating your portfolio, as it might reflect your identity as a graphic designer? The background, layout, colours and even your logo represent who you are as a designer. Therefore, express yourself and show your talents in your presentation. Think carefully about your unique approach to convey the message through your design in your portfolio. Perhaps using bold and brighter colours, over the top typography, a more illustrative style, and a strong logo would show a funky, bubbly, approachable and unique style of yours. Not to forget to include a professional and high-quality photo of yourself to gain the audience’s trust.  

Choose and display only your best work. 

Have you heard it is quality rather than quantity that matters? This quote is undeniably correct and seems fit when it comes to creating a graphic design portfolio. Who has time to scroll over more than 20 designs, and if the first few ones are not up to their standard or impressive enough, they could not be bothered to scroll any further. So, the best practice is to choose your most impressive 10 to 20 designs and make them the primary focus of your portfolio. But, make sure that the featured designs are recent so that the audiences are up to date with your current skillset. However, bear in mind that versatility is critical in presenting your skills in graphic design. For example, include your best work in social media graphics and logo design if you have skills in both.

Describe the case studies carefully. 

Without a doubt, case studies are essential to let the audiences get a glimpse of project background, how you approach projects and the unique process besides showing how you tackle the problems through design. So, what are the essential points that you should include when writing a description of the case studies? You might have to mention who is the client, whether you are working alone or collaborating with others, the project objectives and goals, the problems, the design workflow, the result and the client’s feedback. But of course, the main focus of your case studies is the design of your project. Therefore, try to include as many details with large and high-quality photographs, graphics and mockups. Perhaps if you can get a recommendation from past clients or employers, it will show a high level of professionalism and indirectly impress your future clients. 

Use simple and clean layouts. 

What better ways of making your design outstanding other than having a clean layout? Sometimes, we tend to think that we should include all those photos and examples as these might add extra values to our portfolio. However, it is a best practice to not showing everything at one time. Focus only on the main items and try to remove any unnecessary details. Perhaps, you might get rid of the additional photos or shorten the description of your case studies so that your portfolio looks clean and has reasonable white space.  

Write story-driven narrative for case study description. 

What sell you better rather than having a one-on-one conversation when describing your case studies? Not only it feels more personal, but it also adds more depth to your words and attracts your audiences. However, avoid selling yourself too hard or use cliche and common phrases in your text or headline. It is better to create a custom headline representing your unique approach towards the project or service. It is also advisable to focus on identifying the problem and how you solve it rather than listing all the tasks when writing the case studies description. 

Select the right platform for your portfolio 

As we all aware, there are many online website builders that able to create a graphic design portfolio by dragging and dropping the elements or adding different apps or plugins to add extra functionality to the website. However, it is always advisable to invest in a high-quality website with a custom domain URL to show your professionalism towards your work. Other than organizing your portfolio, your future clients would be able to find information like personal and contact details if they wish to hire you. Nonetheless, try to choose the platform that allows customization as much as you can to keep your creativity flowing and suit your branding. 

Showcase your non-client work 

I bet every graphic designer has done a side project or non-client work. It can be a flyer that you created for your mother’s business or a logo design for the school near your place, but both add values to your skills as the potential clients can review your style and abilities through your side projects. In a way, it shows that you are demonstrating initiative and multitasking at the same time while completing your current project. This approach is perfect if you have just started and lack of career experience.