Five Graphic Design Portfolio Tips

Make your graphic design portfolio stand out using these five tips.

How Important is a Portfolio?

It's clich├ęd, but true: a picture really is worth a thousand words. Being able to communicate visually is key to your graphic designer career. So it's not surprising that your graphic design portfolio may be the single most important thing you'll present to prospective employers or clients. Everything else—including your training and work experience—will fade into insignificance if your portfolio is weak or sloppy.

Top Five Graphic Design Portfolio Tips

When you're putting together your graphic design portfolio, live by the following rules:

1. Make it catchy not kitschy

Don't let the design of your portfolio upstage your work samples. While it can be a good idea to differentiate yourself from your competition with a clever layout, don't lose sight of your graphic design portfolio's purpose: to display the work you've done.

2. Variety is the spice of your graphic design portfolio

Show your range as a graphic designer. Choose pieces that required you to utilize a variety of design skills. Versatility is an asset. If you've got it, flaunt it. And if you don't, develop it.

3. Get an expert opinion

It's hard to be objective about your own work. Find someone whose design judgment you trust and get their feedback on your portfolio. Sometimes a brutally honest critique can be the best thing that happens to you.

4. Simplify

Learn the difference between your favorite work and your best work. If it's not the best representation of your skill, keep it out of your portfolio. Your graphic design portfolio should reflect your ability to produce high quality design and your ability to self-edit.

5. Put it online

Why not make it easy for prospective employers and clients to view your work? While an online portfolio won't replace your hard copy, it's a convenient way to get your work out there for people to see.