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Putting together your Graphic Design Portfolio

Whether you're a graphic designer, a digital designer, or maybe even a web designer, better still, a UX/UI designer (the list goes on!), there is such a varied skillset in the design world; it can be quite tricky for potential employers to find out who is best suited to their business and who will match their creative ambitions. 

If you're a budding designer who has recently graduated from University, you've probably got your portfolio in good shape. Try not to worry if it's limited. Even if it feels as though you probably don't have a lot to showcase, there is still so much you can do to demonstrate your skills and this blog post should help you learn how!

You don't have to have a tonne of work to have a strong portfolio, and here's why:
I've spoken with some pretty cool and creative characters, only to feel a little disappointed once I've been sent through a PDF link to their portfolio.

A mistake you could be making with your portfolio is relying purely on examples of your work. Whether this is freelance or what you've designed while employed, a lot of the time that work has been briefed with some sort of guidance (brand guidelines or a strong steer on your client's preferences) and says little about your individual design and brand preferences.

Therefore, the ability to get your creative potential across to a prospective employer is quite tricky, especially if you've worked for big brands with a strict set of guidelines or maybe a marketing manager who is set on what they want. 

How did you get around this then?
If you are limited to only using the examples listed above, then make an effort to lay them out in a creative way. Demonstrate all assets to a certain campaign and add your own commentary to them.You could talk about:

- The brief
- How you challenged or changed it
- What you decided to do and why
- How the campaign landed

All of the above will give the viewer a much better understanding of not only your creative skills, but how you think and work. 

My biggest tip is that your CV & portfolio are your biggest opportunities to really stand out. Before potential employees look at your work, they should already know your style by the way you have chosen to to design and layout details such as, your name, key skills, bio and how you "sell yourself" etc. Remember, you are your own brand so write your own guidelines. Describe your own USP and set your own design limitations.   

The best portfolio I've ever seen did just that. He described himself and his designs using clever wording and an innovative layout... and in fact, examples of his work were pretty average, mainly because of the brands he had worked for, but I could see from his personal branding that he had an enormous amount of style and creativity. 

 

Now you've completed your portfolio, get it online. 

You won't believe the number of clients who have a certain size inbox limit and/or are not able to access download links such as WeTransfer. I would always recommend that you put your CV/Portfolio onto a web address. By doing this, you will also demonstrate your skills in basic web design as well as it being easily updated to include or remove work. There are plenty of free hosting sites you can use, and you can easily shorten the URL if you are not in a position to buy a domain. 

 

If you do decide to stick with a PDF, make sure all of your hyperlinks work, especially the ones to your portfolio or email address. It may sound obvious, but even if your design skills are strong, mistakes like this will really reflect on your attention to detail in the design world!

 

In summary, if you look at your portfolio as a piece of design work in itself, it can really help you to stand out from the competition and represent yourself how YOU want to be represented. If you're interested in discussing your career in design in more detail, please get in touch with me. 

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Lauren Hulme

Lauren Hulme

PR / Comms & Creative Consultant

07990858681
0115 870 0300