6 Tips for Creating an Effective Graphic Design Portfolio Site

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Working on building or revamping your graphic design portfolio site? Take note of these tips from HOW and Squarespace to ensure that your online presence works to your best advantage.

1. Curate for Visual Cohesion

It’s not enough to just slap all of your latest work onto your portfolio site; it’s best to curate carefully. That means selecting a cohesive visual style, a harmonious color scheme, or another unifying factor that brings your work together. This enables your work to build upon itself and establish your unique graphic style for potential clients and employers so that they know what to expect when they’re working with you.

2. Humanize Your Portfolio

Photos or videos of you working on your design projects bring your creative process to clients and showcase the fact that you are bringing active talent and energy to the table. Designer and illustrator Jeff Rogers, for example, includes quirky photos of himself and his work on his Squarespace-powered portfolio site.

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Including blog posts and case studies can also help you turn your process into a compelling story. That’s not to say you should include stories of your deepest struggles; instead, focus on the positives. Career writer Julie Ann Sims offers this advice: “[T]hink about situations in which you were able to solve business problems, overcome creative challenges or otherwise generate positive results.”

3. Leverage Unique Elements

When clients are scoping out graphic design portfolio sites in search of a creative professional, they’ll choose the one that stands out. A unique visual element can help yours do just that. Laura Bee’s portfolio site, for example includes an animated logo design that catches visitors’ eyes and invites them to explore more of her work.


Some platforms like Squarespace will also allow you to create customized domain names to differentiate your website. Try different customizations like yourname.gallery or yourna.me to make it more personal. Are you a typography expert? Tack .xyz to your domain to emphasize it.

4. Play to Your Strengths 

Make sure you’re including work that showcases what you’re best at. This might seem obvious, but the temptation is often to include the most “official” or high-profile projects in your portfolio; however, if the ultimate execution was less than your best, it may be better to replace projects like these with lower-profile work that flaunts a rare skill or demonstrates your usual stylistic choices.

It also helps to provide context for your work. “It’s beneficial to include a snippet of text along with your design,” designer and creative career adviser Roberto Blake says. “It explains your process behind the design, how the design communicates effectively and how it achieves the desired result. This is another way to provide an employer with an inside look to your design thinking.”

5. Sell Your Work

One way to get more eyes on your work and bolster your fan base is to sell your design work on your website—as prints, t-shirts, enamel pins, greeting cards, tote bags or any other medium you can imagine.

Creating an online store was once a lot of work, but platforms like Squarespace now include templates with simple-to-build and easy-to-use eCommerce elements. Squarespace’s Jaunt template, for example, includes simple integration for selling prints and other products.

6. Participate in the Conversation

Make sure to include links to your social media platforms, and post regular messaging that demonstrates your expertise. Announce your latest work, offer commentary and insights on the latest news in your field, and converse with your fellow designers to boost your visibility and establish yourself as an authority in your creative niche.

There are many platforms that can help you craft your ideal graphic design portfolio site, but we particularly like the versatility and user-friendliness of Squarespace, which includes a vast array of drag-and-drop features, impressive all-in-one templates, online store options, 24/7 customer service and more. Plus, the platform now includes Circle, a community for creative professionals who build websites on Squarespace. Give Squarespace’s 14-day trial a shot to test out the platform and experience its web design options for yourself—and use coupon code HOWDESIGN at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.

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