7 Portfolio Website Tips for a Standout First Impression

Time to Read: 3 minutes

Portfolio Website Tips Summary:

A portfolio website is akin to a resume for a designer.  The goal of creating a portfolio website is to allow viewers to understand what design language you speak, what projects you have worked on, and how you were able to create your designs.  Conveying this information cleanly and authentically is critical to generating the type of opportunities that will move your career forward.

Standout Among Your Competition

Aside from design, here are the top portfolio website tips to ensure your digital portfolio is placed in the right hands.

1. Display Your Creative Process

Showcasing your creative process on your portfolio website will clear up some of the questions about your design style and allow a recruiter or company to more accurately assess how your designs could fit in with their objectives and clients.  A functional way to demonstrate your creative process could look something like explaining the problem, the research, and then the execution of the design itself.  Examples could be wireframes, mockups, and whiteboarding for UX, web and visual designers and illustrations, case study videos, and campaign ideation for graphic designers.

2. Engage Viewers with Interactive Functionality

The average attention span for web users is 6.8 seconds. If you have been on TikTok recently, you may forecast that it will be shorter in the coming years.  Creating a digital portfolio that is interactive can be both more visually enticing and a way for you to showcase your user experience or layout skills.  According to a compilation of customer experience metrics via Forbes, brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. A customer journey is crucial to a brand’s success and the success of a designer’s portfolio.  If you are not a front-end coder, that is okay; this can be an opportunity to have a design colleague or professional take the reins and boost your online brand.

3. Showcase Your Highlights

No matter what area of design you specialize in, you want to make sure your most prominent designs are front and center.  Like resumes, recruiters often do not spend extensive amounts of time looking at each portfolio.  Therefore, when creating a digital portfolio, it is strategic to display your most eye-catching designs first.  Additionally, it is best not to overwhelm the viewer with a ton of designs.  If possible, you want to keep your showcase within the 3-6 designs per skillset range.  That way the viewer can get a feel for your design style but will want to reach out to you for a more in-depth understanding.

Not so sure if you need a portfolio website or unsure of where to start? Check out our Digital Portfolio Guide, where we help you answer those and many more questions to help you get started!

4. Include Passion Projects

If you are working on designs outside of your current role or freelance positions, it can be a good idea to include that in your portfolio.  This is especially applicable for more junior designers who collaborate with team members on many of their designs.  By including work that is your own and separate from your client work, you allow the viewer to understand your passions and capabilities.  Also, if you are targeting a future role at a specific company or ad agency, this can be a way of exhibiting that you can do the type of work they specialize in.

5. Segment Your Designs

A digital portfolio should make your designs as accessible as possible. Organizing your designs into different tabs within your portfolio will help ensure that the viewer understands your range of abilities. Having everything all on one page can seem jumbled or unorganized.  Depending on your style, it may be best to think out a workflow that allows users to have a multi-step process while going through your digital portfolio.  This will keep viewers engaged through a layered approach that results in the discovery of your designs in their appropriate place.

6. Create Concise Copy

In tandem with your designs, the copy is an often-overlooked aspect of a portfolio.  The way in which you explain and define your work contributes to its perception.  Emphasizing cohesiveness throughout your copy will give your digital portfolio a more unified feel.  The typography should be proportional to your designs and not feel as though it is infringing upon your work. Ultimately, you want your work to be on full display, having the copy be complementary.  Be mindful of your word count and let the copy accentuate your designs, not detract.

7. Add Your Portfolio Website to Your LinkedIn Profile in the URL Section

Recruiters searching for designers are clicking through hundreds of LinkedIn profiles to see resumes and portfolios to assess whether candidates could be a fit for a specific role.  To the recruiter, the portfolio is equally as important as the resume.  Therefore, if you are interested in hearing about new opportunities, having your portfolio on your LinkedIn is a great way to attract opportunities.

In conclusion

A standout portfolio website can be the difference between getting that interview with your dream company and being overlooked by employers.  You put a tremendous amount of work into your designs, so why not make your portfolio website the best it can be?

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