If in your day to day life, you’re involved in carrying out creative projects, at some point of your career, you’ll have the need or at least the wish to show your works in a professional manner to potential clients and employers. So obviously, you’re going to build yourself a nice portfolio and most likely it’s going to be online.
In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the best practices of building an online portfolio, its design and maybe, just maybe get inspired enough to start sorting out your best works and putting them together in an orderly fashion.
Types of portfolios
Building a portfolio tends to be a very personal experience, so the portfolios themselves tend to differ a lot from each other. Although, there are two most common types of portfolios – the ones that focus only on your works, and the ones that also explain the process of creating them. Showcasing only your finished projects, without explanation seem like the easy way to go and sometimes is just what you need, but not always. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of both portfolio types.
Focus on works (images, videos, art etc.)
If “a picture is worth a thousand words”, you can certainly build a portfolio using only your best works and it will be just enough for the visitors to understand what you can ‘bring to the table’. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons you should consider before building this type of portfolio.
- Easy and quick to build as well as edit afterward
- Visitors can navigate through it effortlessly
- Our brains process visual content really quickly, so you can be sure, that your works are seen
- Because of the lack of text, it won’t be as high in Google Search results as it can be
- Potential clients won’t know anything about the process of how you’ve created your works and how you work – some customers like to know that your processes are the same as theirs – for example advocates of Agile.
Sometimes images aren’t enough as they tend to give too little information about you and the way you work, so adding some explanation in the form of a case study is the way to go.
In short, a case study is a description of the specific things you did to create your works. It shows the way you think and how you get things done. Let’s dive into the pros and cons here as well.
- Your portfolio will be higher in the Google Search results compared to ones that don’t have any text
- Visitors will have an extended overview of your work
- It shows professionalism, as you can describe exactly what you did to achieve results
- Can take a long time to build and maintain
- A longer page might seem boring or time-consuming to the visitor
- Competitors can see the process that goes into creating your works, but don’t take this as a deal-breaker. If you’re being copied – you’re doing something right.
There are some things that both types of portfolios have in common. An online portfolio should be:
- Easy to navigate – it should be easy to find specific information, for example, your contacts
- Personal – always give your personal ‘touch’ wherever possible, as it will make your works stand out from the vast sea of online portfolios
- Mobile friendly – In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile devices so make sure that your portfolio is as pleasant to look at from a smartphone as it is on desktop
- Simple – an overly complex layout can distract from what you want to show
- Not bloated – it’s important to be detailed about the process of making your projects, but your portfolio is not a memoir, so keep it straight to the point
Whichever type of portfolio you decide to make, remember to include the type of works you want to continue making, not everything you’ve ever done. Select the best of the bunch and it will go a long way.
Best layouts for portfolios
Now that we’ve looked at some of the types of portfolios, it’s time to think about the specific layout that will showcase your work in the best possible manner.
When choosing (or creating) a layout, a thing you should keep in mind is structure. The structure is extremely important and keeping it simple is always the best way to go. Just remember the basics – About, Works, Case Study (optional), Contacts. You should be good to go if these are covered. To give you a little inspiration, let’s take a look at some examples of great portfolios.
Text is not the only way you can show the process of creating your works. Here are some of the designers’ sketches showing how she organizes her thoughts before carrying out a project. Everyone’s process is different, so feel free to show exactly what you do.
Here’s a great example of a simple menu that all portfolios should have. They’ve also added a little personal touch with the section names. Even the smallest thing can make a difference and get you noticed.
This is the whole portfolio of Marc, the designer. You don’t even have to scroll (and you can’t because this is it) to get all the basic information about the person – previous experience, style, contacts. It’s creative and simple. Possibly the best combination out there.
You can also name your skills and work experience in a creative way like this designer did. The potential clients, employers know exactly what to expect. You have total control over what people are going to see, so be mindful of what you include.
Time to show off what you’ve got!
Remember – include only the best you’ve got, make it simple, be original and creative. The most difficult part is starting to work on something, the rest is going to be a breeze. So open those folders, get the camera ready (if you need to take a photo of your works, obviously) and start sorting your projects. Using the tips and examples I offered, your portfolio should look awesome in no time. Even better if you use Visual Composer to build it (wink, wink).
What is your experience with building a portfolio online? Let us know!