Principles of organizing a designer’s portfolio

Original author: Denis Sudilkovsky
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The figure was found on the network (the author is unknown) and finalized with a file ...

Most of the portfolios show work, but by no means sell the designer and his services. From the point of view of a client far from design, they are all the same, and under such conditions, the choice is made exclusively through one's own subjective assessment of “like / dislike”.

Is it possible to somehow influence the opinion of the customer? - Yes, it is possible, and even more than that - it is necessary!

First of all, you need to understand that everyone has their own selection and evaluation criteria, and if you try to satisfy everyone, you’ll get crap. The following rules will help to realize your strengths, and focus on them.

Part one. What to show?

Famous projects

If you are lucky to work with public companies such as Nestle or Coca-Cola - of course, put large logos of these corporate monsters in your portfolio. The demonstration that such cool companies have trusted you adds +100 points of a credit of trust on the part of the customer.

Of course, most designers have clients, at best, “widely known in narrow circles,” but there is a way out too - nothing prevents you from writing a little more about the client’s company. UkrTransImporCable is not a well-known supplier of cable products, but it has 200,000 square meters of warehouses in 5 countries on two continents. It sounds more or less cool.

Creative and original solutions

In case you press on creativity - demonstrate originality. Emphasize the unexpectedness and innovativeness of your own decisions in relation to other "classic" options. Show the dullness and everydayness of what others are doing, and the brightness of your own idea.

But be tolerant of others - show the work of colleagues on the floor without dirt and without specifying names. Your task is to play with the mood of the viewer, and not to find fame * blow.

Similar tasks

Customers rightly believe that if a designer worked in a certain field, then it will be easier for him to do another job for the same field. Do not be ashamed to describe the essence of the activities of your customers. And in the case of web design, it is advisable to additionally indicate how customers use the site in their work.

Similar task conditions

There are specific working conditions for certain customers. These conditions can be different, ranging from emergency deadlines and budgets, ending with the specifics of the work, for example, when you have to redo or finish the work for another artist.

At a time when dinosaurs ran around the planet and I myself made money by design, my versatility bribed customers. I could draw a website, and rivet banners, and a flash-splash screen with music to the main thing to bang, and there already throw business cards with a bonus. An integrated approach in one person.


If your work can be measured in numbers - this must be demonstrated. The number of registrations on the site increased by 21.3%, the bounce rate decreased by 5.2 times ... Everything that can be useful, calculated and looks cool should be demonstrated. People generally believe numbers very well, use this ;-)


Of course, if you are lucky enough to receive EFFIE - the photo of the golden figurine should definitely be in your portfolio. And even though not all customers know what it is, but recognition of you by others - this greatly enhances the credibility of you as a professional.

Part two. How to show?


Almost all freelancers and design studios make a big mistake - they show the works in chronological order. In fact, this is convenient only for those who regularly visit your site - that is, for competitors, but by no means for customers.

Remarque: Yes, in the portfolio, in particular, it is important to show that you are alive, so do not be ashamed to confirm it somehow, for example, add the date of the last completed work or the number of projects for the current year.

For someone who plans to pay you money, it’s not the chronology that matters, but the steepness of the projects and your competence (everything that was discussed in the first part). Therefore, be the first to put projects that you are proud of, and not those that you completed last.


Extremely important is how you demonstrate your work. Even the coolest job without proper feed will not do absolutely any good.

There are 2 tips: show in a "natural environment" + show it cool.
If it’s a logo, it has a place on business cards and T-shirts, if the site is on an iPad, the mobile application is in the iPhone, which is held by a living person (demonstrate that the application is used, and do not insert a screenshot in the frame-template).

Better for excellent pictures only excellent video sells. So, for example, branding meters present their work:

For inspiration - I collect such product presentations on the board in Interest .


I had a client who did not see any work from my portfolio, but nevertheless came to the first meeting immediately with an advance. Recommendations and reviews work. Collect letters, letters, everything that can be obtained from a happy client, scan it and place it near work.

It was - it became

Also a beautiful welcome. There was a logo with a globe, and there was a little mimicry :-)

Price justification

It is not enough to show the result of the work, it is also important to show the whole process, how difficult it was to do, what problems you encountered in the process and how they were solved. This will be the rationale for the price.

There is even a joke on this subject:
Mike Tyson was a designer until another client asked, “50 bucks for an icon? Why so expensive? She is soooooo! ”

Less is better

If the amount of work done is not your forte, remove the mediocre work from the portfolio. Let them remain 10, but they will be superclass. This is done by good directors and authors of books - they throw away most of the footage, cut books 2-3 times, leaving the most delicious, which is then estimated by readers, viewers, and customers.


BigBoss is not necessarily the first to look at your portfolio. In large companies, the initial selection is carried out by the secretary, and it is important that there is no spoiled phone, and the girl with the solitaire on the computer will accurately transmit information about you. I don’t know a better solution than a presentation in PDF or PowerPoint. Put a short story about yourself and your work in one small document.


Nobody thinks about this at all :-) Count-to-action is an element that will induce action. What prevents the bottom line of work from adding to the portfolio: “If you also want such a cool logo, write me a letter right now at mr.desіgner@gmaі”? It’s not enough just to show the work, the viewer needs to be motivated to action!

PS A poorly formed portfolio is better than no portfolio. The fact that you do not have time is not an excuse for your laziness. A person can spend up to three days without food and water - that's all, I found you 5-6 hours of time :-)

PPS If you know examples of a beautiful portfolio, drop it in the comments and do not forget to write why you like it.

And to earn more now, read "How can a designer make more money today? ".

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