5 Ways to Make Your Graphic Designer Portfolio Stand Out

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The graphic design portfolio is a crucial selling tool for career advancement. It reveals the breadth of your abilities and exposes your design thinking to a potential employer or client. Obviously, you want to blow them away with your work. But how do you make your portfolio stand out from the other applicants?

We rounded up some key pointers from Roberto Blake’s workshop, How to Design a Digital Portfolio. The workshop covers best practices on how to present your portfolio and he discusses key considerations for selecting portfolio-worthy work. For more killer strategies and advice, you may enroll in Blake’s workshop here.

Before we cover these tips, please note that when selecting pieces to include in your portfolio from your current position to check with your employer first. You need to make sure that your employer clears those designs for you to use.

5 Ways to Make Your Portfolio Stand Out

  • A strong portfolio typically has 10-12 examples of your work. But this is not a hard rule. You want to include only your best work. If you feel that you don’t have 10-12 examples of work that are particularly stellar, then don’t feel obligated to include them. If you have only five strong examples, then only present those five.
  • A portfolio needs to demonstrate your problem-solving and communication abilities. Include pieces that demonstrate your approach to connecting with a target audience that satisfies the design’s end goals. This showcases your critical thinking skills to an employer.
  • It’s beneficial to include a snippet of text along with your design. 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.
  • Gear your portfolio to the position you are applying for and one that accurately reflects your talents. For example, would you describe yourself as a generalist or a specialist? Are you a jack of all trades without a strong focus in one type of design or are you specialized in one area of design? Make sure your portfolio reflects what type of designer you are and how your skills will benefit the position.
  • Lastly, remember that as a graphic designer you are also a marketer. Presenting your strategic portfolio verbally is another component that employers and clients will consider during the vetting process. Verbal and visual communication are key selling tools to land the job you want. So practice how you will you present before meeting with the potential employer.

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