If you’re planning on finding that perfect graphic design job for your creative talents, it is essential that you build an attractive portfolio. Your graphic design credentials are a showcase of yourself as a freelance designer, and the only way to become elite within the industry is to show off your skills and past achievements. Your portfolio will allow your potential employers to know what you are all about and seeing, as the old adage says, is truly about believing in this case. These days, many employers put their main focus on your work and actual performance; your education merely one of many tools to secure an initial interview. It is of paramount importance that you put extra time and effort into build a strong graphic design portfolio for this very reason; employers want to see results.
Below are useful tips on how to build your graphic design portfolio so that it will appeal to your prospective employers on multiple levels. These simple steps are designed to help you to build a foundation within the industry that is both relevant and eye-catching, so read on to see a few items that are easily overlooked-
Cater your achievements
Since your portfolio is the actual door to highlighting your skills, it must contain all the attractive illustration, web design, print layouts, and other high quality projects that you have finished for your previous clients. Your works can immediately speak for your talent without any conversation and it’s often the most important aspect of any interview.
Build up words from your clients
While a resume summarizes your overall skills and knowledge, testimonials like this from satisfied clients are just as essential inside a portfolio. These words are the unspoken referrals that employers love to see because they come from their peers, and knowing that similar businesses found your skills satisfactory give your portfolio instant credibility. So, they are always looking after a designer who closed deals leaving their clients satisfied.
If you have positive feedback, your prospective employer is much more likely to have more trust in your work as a professional, which makes it easier for you to get that nod of approval by an employer. Of course, you should always be professional and give honest information about your prior feedback; some clients will research these documents extensively to find out if you are trustworthy and reliable. One misleading comment will not only keep you from getting the job; it could actually end your career within the profession once word gets out that you’re not trustworthy.
Connect with social networks
Graphic designing, just like any other career, requires you have a strong network of friends. It is usually beneficial to you if you know more designers in your field, because their experiences are probably vastly different from you own. Their opinions on your work can also be very useful to you and help to shape you into a well-rounded, successful graphic designer. One way of doing this is to put your work online so that other artists and employers can experience your creativity firsthand.
While this will not replace your physical portfolio, it is an easy way of marketing yourself as a graphic designer and bridging new connections within the industry. A few simple words of advice- design an online portfolio and keep it updated. You can also insert a link to download your portfolio, which can often lead to gaining clients that you never would have thought to approach otherwise. Owning your own website allows for an interactive presentation of your work where viewers can get to know the artist inside you; it is a powerful advertising tool that should not be overlooked.
Show your skill set
You don’t want to take what you cannot chew, and most of us end up learning the hard way that’s it’s not a good idea to overstate our talents. When creating your portfolio, it is important to include all the tools that you know you can use effectively and highlight each of them for employers to view. Not only does this make it easier for others to see what skills you have to offer, but it also helps remind you of areas that need more focus later in your career.
Technically, you should be comfortable using the newest tools as a professional graphic designer, but familiarization alone is not enough to close a deal. Employers want to see artists that have mastered their craft, and the only way to be able to honestly make that statement is through years of practice. In your portfolio, include all the tools you are capable of using but give special attention to areas within your expertise.
Focus on Technical Aspects
Before an employer can even review your portfolio or verify your credentials, they have to know that you exist in the first place. Of course, you want to say in that first encounter that you are one among the best in the area, and the best way to do that is to have a professional appearance that demands a certain level of respect. The only way to do that is to showcase your skills in your portfolio itself and everywhere your name appears.
There is literally a talent-pool of graphic designers as big as the ocean that can be found over the World Wide Web, so for you to be successful it takes an attractive portfolio that will leave potential clients wanting a second glance. All of your creative energy should be put forth on making this vision a reality; below are a few aspects that deserve your most immediate attention-
- Selecting a Portfolio Case
This should be your first step of building your portfolio as a graphic designer. The size and style of your chosen case will contribute to the contents of the portfolio. Even though it is not necessary to have a portfolio that is very expensive, it must be attractive and look professional. In other words, do not use a ten year old case that has seen better days. Shop for this item based on the overall size of your portfolio and the dimensions of the art work; everything should fit in place naturally and appear flawless.
-The Background Paper
Make sure you use a neutral color for the background paper in your portfolio case. In most situations, basic colors like white or light grey are used in the whole portfolio to avoid drawing the focal point away from the actual work. That why you should avoid using different background colors and disrupt the flow of your portfolio; clients will notice this almost immediately.
Just like the way you use your paper, your work and the way you place it should always be consistent. If you choose to place your first few graphic designs at the center of a page, for example, make sure they are at the center on all pages from then on. Failing to be consistent in your portfolio may reflect that your work as a designer will be inconsistent and it sends employers an immediate red flag.
-Strong start and finish
When your portfolio is first opened by an employer or colleague, the viewer must be instantly impressed. It is important to keep them like that throughout your entire work, so always select of your most appealing creations for the first page. Try to make your feature piece something unique, something that is completely new to them and it is very likely that they will be sold on your talents right off the bat. Clients need to believe that you are simply the best in the graphic arts profession and your portfolio must be built in a way that it can do all the talking.
Likewise, the way you end your portfolio also needs to be as strong as the beginning. There is only one chance to leave a strong parting impression in the mind of your potential employer, so your 2nd best project should be the final thing that they view. Rather than starting strong and allowing your portfolio to progressively get weaker, mix in your best campaigns throughout the body and finish on a memorable note.
- Choosing Portfolio Content
Your portfolio should give a great overview of all of your strengths, but it should not be a glance into your life since the beginning of time. It is highly advisable for you to showcase just three or four of best graphic designs, and this can somewhat be a difficult choice when many past projects have been a staggering success. So how do you choose your best designs?
This is a lot like building a resume; you should choose the projects that required the largest set of challenges when it comes to your overall knowledge of the industry. Now, this does not necessarily mean that they were the longest jobs or the ones that paid the most; it is simply a way to show employers your creativity since these will portray both your capabilities and limitations as a graphic designer.
- Practical Reviews
It is also useful if you can get the opinion of an expert regarding your portfolio since it is not very easy to be very objective over your own creations. You need to find someone who has trustworthy design judgment, and it is important that this person has absolutely no reason to not give a truthful opinion (as a friend or instructor would). The reason for this crucial step is simple; there’s a good chance that you will walk into several interviews over the course of your career and the employer will simply say, “No thank you.” They will not likely give you an honest critique is it is important for you to find your own.
Since an honest judgment of your work is often all the final step in becoming a successful graphic designer, take the critique as a way to improve your work instead of seeing it in a negative light. Feel free to talk about the opinion as well; understanding why someone feels a certain way can often make the message much clearer. You need to be versatile as a designer, and a peer review is a massive tool in achieving that objective.