7 Tips for Building a Portfolio During Your Graphic Design Program

If you’re seeking a career as a graphic designer, building a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and personal style will be important when it comes to landing new work. As a graphic designer, your portfolio is just as valuable as a resume or your past experience. Especially if you’re just starting out in the design world, knowing how to create a portfolio that makes you stand out will enhance your success and boost your credibility. 

Below, discover seven helpful tips that will enable you to build a portfolio that attracts clients to your work.

1. When Getting Your Graphic Design Diploma, Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

It can be tempting to show the full extent of your work in your portfolio. However, when it comes to crafting a strong portfolio, less is typically more. Instead of including all of the projects you’ve worked on during your graphic design program, be selective about the ones you use for your portfolio. Choose work that you’re proud of and highlight your particular skill set, while leaving weaker or less unique pieces behind. 

When building your graphic design portfolio, less is sometimes more

2. Ask for Feedback

Two sets of eyes are always better than one, especially when it comes to building a portfolio. While you’re putting a compilation of your work together, ask for feedback from others within the graphic design community. Whether they’re fellow students, teachers, or even just friends and family, getting feedback on your work will help you to make changes and fix mistakes before it’s too late.

3. Include Work That Represents You as an Artist

As a graphic designer, you’ll probably want to work with clients who have an interest in your creative vision and design style. By including work that represents you as an artist in your portfolio, it will be easier to land commissions with clients who will allow you to showcase your personality in the work you do for them. Not only will this make your career more enjoyable, but it will allow you to develop as a professional graphic designer.

Make sure your portfolio is representative of your personal graphic design style

4. Don’t Be Shy About Including Your School Projects

If you’re getting your graphic design diploma, you might not have that much professional experience under your belt. The good news? All of the projects that you’ve done for your graphic design courses can definitely be included in your portfolio. The purpose of your portfolio is to showcase your skills, and if you’ve done some projects that you’re proud of while getting your diploma, there’s no reason not to use them to boost your credibility.

5. Consider the Format

While portfolios may have traditionally been in print format in the past, today most clients expect graphic designers to have an online portfolio. There are many different online platforms which you can use to display your work, and it’s important to use one that displays your work well. Platforms like Behance or Dribbble allow designers to build an online presence, but just remember to try viewing your portfolio on multiple different devices to make sure that your format is consistent and that there are no glitches on the platform.

6. Seek Opportunities to Design Outside of the Classroom

While you can include your coursework in your portfolio, it’s never a bad idea to seek opportunities to create projects outside of the classroom. Try reaching out to family and friends, or even non-profit organizations who would benefit from your work. Even if the work you do is free, you’ll gain experience designing for different clients, and you can use the projects you create to add a dynamic aspect to your portfolio.

7. Rework Past Projects

Do you have any projects that you’ve finished early on in your career which could benefit from a rework? You can align past projects with your current skill level by reworking them to use in your portfolio. Not only will this give you more content to include, but it’s a great way to see how far you’ve come as a designer while still paying homage to your past. 

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