What to include in a good design portfolio?

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Shannon Robinson

20th December 2019

Shannon Robinson

Top 7 Practices That Make Your Design Portfolio Stand Out from The Competition

The advent of globalization has unbridled the realms of opportunities, all seven of them! With every designer well aware of this phenomenon and the resulting profits, the focus of designers has shifted from maintaining tangible printed portfolios to digital portfolios, giving them access to billions of international clients waiting to get their hands on the right designer.

Though the turn of events is indeed a boon, for professionals and fledglings alike, the severe global competition makes it difficult, if not impossible, to survive in this globally competitive milieu.

While many pay lucratively for SEO services and advertisement to rank higher in searches, a number of designers, though highly talented and experienced, have a hard time making a name for themselves in the market for a number of reasons.

If you are the latter, then we, for you, have just the thing!

Through hours of gleaning and researching, we have jotted down a list of the most cardinal undertakings and practices adopted by the leaders of the industry that make their portfolios stand out from the competition. These practices have worked for them, and we are more than certain that these will work for anyone who follows them in an orderly manner!
Let`s get started!

Select A Reasonable Portfolio Platform

First thing is first – choosing a suitable platform that is presentable and user-friendly to use later on.

A number of designers opt for tools such as Wix, Medium, and other such website builders, that although are great, but are not completely suitable for showcasing a portfolio.

Even if you are a fledgling, having no prior experience in designing or website hosting, we would reckon using WordPress, since it is one of the easiest-to-use hosting tools.

Moreover, getting a personalized domain name, that illustrates your presence in the digital realm, is an add-on, and showcases your professionalism and the level of service you provide.

Long Intros Are A No Go

The attention span of a contemporary client oscillates between milliseconds to several milliseconds. This is it!

Milliseconds are all that you have to make an impact on the client, showcase your designs, and grasp their attention.

In all this ruckus, long intros, as a matter of fact wordy intros, are best avoided!

Logo Design
Portfolio of Designthat.works With No Introduction

However, if introductions are important for you, then short, yet compelling, 1-2 lines that defines who you are, what you do, and how will you make your clients business boom are the key questions that you need to address.

According to Neil Patel, one of the leading digital marketers of the present age, short introductions have a greater chance of engaging the audience, as compared to the longer ones. Who are we to challenge his concepts right?

Stephen Calvillo demonstrates how to introduce in the professional manner.

Logo Design
Home Page of Stephen Calvillo`s Portfolio

Market Yourself the Correct Way

What you do is more important as to how you do it! Sell yourself to your clients by showcasing what you can do, and do it as efficiently as possible.

We`ll tell you how!

Choose the Number of Designs to Include

Decide, first of all, how many pieces of designs will be included in your portfolio. As a rule of thumb, quality over quantity needs to be maintained.

Psychology proves too many choices perplex human beings. Now in a situation, where you face global competition and have only a matter of seconds to impress your client, irking them isn’t the best of the choices.

Keeping the number of designs around 1-6 is optimal, as it illustrates what you are capable of, and most importantly, does not make the choice difficult for the client.

Kuon Yagi has a total of 6 designs available on the landing page; whereas Olivier Guilleux has only 1, that follows with more. Both of these individuals have been imputed to have remarkable presence in the designing world, and follow the maxim – Quality over quantity.


Monotonous work will wear the client out, and eventually you will be doing your competitor a favor, as he/she will certainly move towards the other service provider.

The main aim is to keep the portfolio concise, but to showcase the wide variety of services that you can provide.

Manage the Flow

Clients are unlikely to gel to your portfolio if there is any sort of incongruency between the designs presented. Nobody likes to keep their eyes rolling from one place to another, especially if they are looking for a specific work.

Keep the designs selected aligned, and assure that similar works having analogous designs, fonts, colors are showcased together. Down with Design does this exceedingly well.

Down with Design Portfolio

Showcase Only Your Best Work

We know not every piece is as good as others. However, illustrating only your best work depicts the best quality offered by you, and believe us, that is the only thing the clients want to know when working with you.

Select your best works that have really made you proud, regardless of being paid tasks or not, and include them in your portfolio.

Your portfolio is your first marketing expression. Make sure it is loud and delivers what sets you apart from the competition.

Karen Song, a topnotch designer, despite working with the giant – Ford – includes only the work that she is fond of in her portfolio.

Karen Song Portfolio

Demonstrate How You Design

While for many the ends are greater than the means, for some, means matter more than the ends. As a designer, your focus is to address the needs of both of these clients.

For this part, initially create a responsive website design that indulges the clientele. Secondly, include a separate “process” page in your portfolio, that walks the client through each and every step of the way: how you can be approached to how you make the designing process easy for the client. Include even the minutest details, and see how it works magic for you.

Visit Qaiser`s portfolio to see exactly what we mean.

Demonstrate Results and Awards

The only element that could be more convincing to the clients than showcasing your awards is that you give them money to make their designs!

Clients look for results and ways how your work will help them achieve results.

Illustrate all the awards, recognitions, honest feedbacks, and all the other outcomes of your work on your portfolio. Qaiser`s portfolio demonstrates them brilliantly.

Feedback Section on Qaiser`s Portfolio

Make Sure You Add a Blog

Adding a blog goes a long way in strengthening your digital presence, without having to spend any money for any top listings.

Search Engines love websites laden with fresh and novel content. Post a unique blog daily for several months, and see for yourself how blogging leads to greater traffic on your portfolio.

Analyze, Delete, Update, And Repeat

Maintaining your portfolio goes a long way in showcasing your commitment to your website, and more importantly to your work. Be vary of all the happenings in the industry, make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes as your clients, and most importantly, make it your routine to update your portfolio with a mentionable work as soon as it gets approved by the client.

To conclude, your portfolio is the face of your work in this digital age. It demonstrates how you carry out your work and what have you done up till now. From its web design, to the images that light it up, your portfolio is the deciding factor that makes or breaks your business.

If confident, you can design your portfolio on your own. However, if novice in this field, let us take care of it. We offer professional web design services resulting in beautiful website designs that are certain to add distinctively to your business` panache. See our portfolio and decide for yourself.

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