The Calculated Creative

How to Make a Portfolio for Graphic Design

With a combination of your stellar work, strategic presentation, and professional polish, you can impress any client or employer.

A graphic design portfolio is an essential part of applying for jobs or freelance work as a graphic designer.

Crafting an impressive portfolio takes thought and effort, but is worth it to showcase your skills.

Follow these tips to create a portfolio that wows potential clients or employers:

Choose the Right Work

Carefully curating your best and most relevant work is key to an effective portfolio.
Don't overload it with too many pieces - select at least 3 projects that demonstrate your abilities.

Include a range of work that shows off your design style and versatility.

For example, you may want to include branding projects, marketing materials, website design, app UI, and print publications.

Aim to showcase both personal projects and professional client work if possible to highlight your experience.

Only present work that you are extremely proud of and that is high-quality.

Avoid including any projects with issues you see or that were never completed.

Imagining your dream job can help determine what projects to feature.

Your portfolio should convince potential clients that you can provide excellent work for them.

Organize the Portfolio

Thoughtfully organize your portfolio to present your work in the best light.

Group relevant projects together, like identity design or publications.

Arrange the order intentionally so the portfolio flows well and starts and ends on a high note with your best work.

Write 1-2 sentence descriptions for each project that explain the objective, your role, and the results.

Be clear and concise.

Maintain consistency across the portfolio with layout, image sizes, fonts, and formatting.

This polish will elevate your work and leave a professional impression.

Optimize Images

Images make the most immediate impact on your portfolio.

Ensure they are high-quality photographs or scans that do justice to the work.

Pay close attention to aspects like lighting, angle, focus and cropping.

Avoid distortion, blur, artifacts or watermarks.

Images should accurately convey the design at a good size.

Make sure to optimize images for web use, keeping file sizes reasonable to allow quick loading.

Including videos can also make your work more dynamic.

You want viewers to really see the details of your stellar work.

Present Professionally

The presentation and design of your portfolio make a difference.

Aim for a clean, simple, modern layout that doesn't distract from the work itself.

Make sure your name and logo appear prominently.

Format text clearly with ample whitespace and ensure no typos or errors.

Consider printing a physical copy of your portfolio as a polished leave-behind.

Your online portfolio should also follow professional design principles and be mobile-friendly.

Always present yourself and your work to clients in a polished, thoughtful manner.

Include Contact Info

Don't forget to make your contact information readily available.

Include your full name, phone number, email address, website, and links to professional social media profiles like LinkedIn and Instagram.

Provide an easy way for potential clients to get in touch to hire you.

The Takeaway

Following these guidelines will help you pull together a graphic design portfolio that shows off your skills in the best possible light.

With a combination of your stellar work, strategic presentation, and professional polish, you can impress any client or employer.

Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:

1-on-1 Creative Career Coaching: A 90 minute call to help you get unstuck in your creative career and reach new heights. Think of it like a therapy session...only we're working to turn your passion into an even more successful profession.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to The Calculated Creative.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.