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How to Maximize Your Portfolio as a Graphic Designer

by Williumson
Graphic Designer

There was a time when people carried cases to interviews that contained files showcasing their previous work. Today, most employers will ask for a link to your online portfolio.

Basically, a portfolio carries a selection of your work, which you present to a potential employer or client to demonstrate your capabilities.

Portfolios play a vital role in influencing an employer’s decision because what they see represents what you can do. Since they don’t know you personally, potential employers will rely on the contents of your portfolio.

As such, your portfolio has to represent your abilities clearly. It has to capture you at your finest because if it’s lacking, it could very well harm your chances.

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Understanding Graphic Design Portfolios

What makes graphic design portfolios different from, say, journalistic portfolios?

The difference is that graphic design is meant to capture the eyes first and foremost, whereas the visual aspect of journalistic pieces isn’t what’s important. Appreciation of writings is focused on content quality and style.

You may be a talented designer, but if your work focuses more on deep meanings at the expense of visual appeal, you may miss out on many opportunities.

Simply put, the mere appearance of your portfolio is crucial to your career as a graphic designer. Whether you specialize in branding, illustration, or web design, perfecting your portfolio is an effective way of kickstarting your career.

If you’re wondering how you can strengthen your graphic design portfolio and put your best foot forward, check out these tips:

  1. Show Your Personality

As we mentioned, potential employers don’t know who you are.  They’ll look into your work for glimpses of the individual behind them. Someone can get a feeling that you’re bold, passionate, or holding back through your work.

Think of the message you’ll be sending with every piece or project you put into your portfolio and ask yourself whether it rings true.

It’s important that everything in your portfolio represents you as a designer. The ideals and interests you have should show through.

2. Make it Simple

A great portfolio doesn’t need to be complex. While visuals are important, and you definitely want people to notice that at a glance, you have to separate stunning looks from a busy page that may trigger sensory overload.

If your portfolio has a lot going on, it misses the point. Consider the saying less is more and work towards simplifying your portfolio. Get rid of features that add to the complexity, ease navigation, and be straightforward.

3. Embrace Variety

Not everyone has a pool of excellent past projects they can pick and choose from to craft a specific message with their portfolio. Sometimes your best works are incoherent because you handled different concepts or worked in various fields.

That shouldn’t be a downside because you can use it as a positive feature to support your career.

You may worry that it’ll seem like you’re hoping from one thing to another. But you can curate your work to show variety and position you as a diverse and multi-talented individual.

4. Speak to Your Audience

It’s common to craft a portfolio with the aim of appealing to a possible employer or client. It works when it does. However, being authentically you is much better for your career.

Instead of showing what you think employers want to see, try focusing on your audience. Show them what you’re into and what you’re passionate about. Who knows where your next big opportunity will come from?

Remember, sometimes employers are looking for someone who can stand by their projects and demonstrate their uniqueness.

5. Update Your Portfolio

Let’s say you secure an invite to this exciting annual party, but then every time you attend it after that first time, you notice things have stayed the same, down to the music.

How many times will you attend this party?

Take your portfolio as a party, and you’re the host. Do you want visitors to look at the same thing year after year?

Probably not.

Every industry evolves. As a graphic designer, you have to stay on top of these developments and constantly update your portfolio to reflect the new ways of doing things.


The competition in graphic design is stiff.  You don’t really have many chances to show a potential client what you can do. That makes it crucial to treat your portfolio as a vessel that gets your foot in the door, which ultimately means constantly making changes to help you stand out.

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