What Should You Include in Your Portfolio as a Freelance Designer?

Creating a design portfolio can be tricky – on one hand, it is much of a necessity to show the world of what are you capable of, while on the other hand, not everyone is going to pour over your whole portfolio – in fact, there is no one-size-fits-all.

So, how on earth should you build your design portfolio? What should you include and what not? Well, the thing is that it will depend on what type of design projects that you have an eye on.

Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at some of a few considerations that you can include in your design portfolio for your potential clients.

Should you include the details?

If you have checked out the design portfolios of your favorite designers, have you noticed how you have found numerous styles – how each of them has offered their variation of styles; while some have offered an in-depth case study of the projects that they have worked on, while some had simply let their work do the talking.

So, is the first approach better than the latter? It’s hard to tell – what approach you decide to adopt, it will depend on which potential clients that you aim for.

If you want high paying projects, then, of course, it goes without saying that you will need to show a detailed portfolio – the full spectrum of what can you do that other can’t. if you do a lot of custom work, then, having a detailed portfolio is a must as potential clients will want to see how you approach the project and get things done – they will want to know the steps that go into getting the complete picture.

In such cases, you should go for ‘case studies’ and if you plan to include them in your portfolio, make sure that you write all of them in the same format – if possible, you can even add some challenges that you have overcome while handling the project, and doing so, will show that you are an expert in your field.

If however, you want to show off your design skills, then, simply listing all of your projects in either a simple list form or a gallery will do – after all, a strong visual element is what it needs to get the attention of the people.

What projects should you include?

No matter how you have chosen to create your design portfolio, it simply won’t do if you include each project that you have completed in your portfolio. Just because you have completed a few projects, it doesn’t mean that it belongs to your design portfolio.

Suppose, you have completed a project today, and you plan to include that in your portfolio – but think for a minute, will this project be relevant in a few years from now? The skills that you have used for the project today may turn out to be obsolete after a few years, so, will it make any sense if you plan to include that in your portfolio – and even if you do include it in your portfolio, you should update it by keeping in note the skills which are relevant during that point of time, or else, it will send out a wrong signal to your potential clients.

Remember that portfolios are not about the past – the potential clients should get an idea of what can you do for them in the future too, and keeping this mind, should you include those projects in your design portfolio that will help you to gain new clients down the road.

But that doesn’t mean that you should leave out all obsolete projects – if you have done a big project for a big client, then, you can add it in your portfolio. The point here is that you shouldn’t add anything irrelevant in your design portfolio.

What industries do you serve?

Often, when creating your design portfolio, you should make it a point to include projects from various industries. Many potential clients will want to see the projects that you have worked on, that are in their industry – that said, if you have worked on projects from various industries, then, you can feature them in your design portfolio; and add to that, the ability to filter the projects by category, and you have got a nice design portfolio.

No matter what niches you specialize in, consider featuring only the best ones and leave out anything that is irrelevant.

Is your design portfolio mobile-friendly?

Responsive design is pretty much the norm these days, so, it’s a must that you should make sure that your portfolio looks great on both mobile devices and tablets. That’s because you have no idea on how the potential clients are going to visit our portfolio the first time – it may either be from a desktop or a mobile device, you never know, so, why not put your best foot forward?

So, what lesson does it teach us?

A design portfolio is an extension of you, and hence, it should be treated as such – that means, you will need to keep on updating it, by including projects that are both current as relevant to what you do.

And yes, the style itself is important, but what’s more important is ‘content’ – take note of what content you plan to include in your design portfolio that will show you in the best possible light to your potential clients.

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