Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video The purpose of your online portfolio, part of Designing a Portfolio Website with Muse.
- Now, before we start designing our portfolio we need to carefully consider what it is we're designing our portfolio for. It's pretty obvious, but our portfolio is our calling card, our storefront, and single most important piece of advertising. It's our chance to make a first impression. It's the first thing many of our prospective clients will see of us. So it needs to demonstrate our skills, experience, and importantly, our personality.
And obviously we need to make it easy for prospective clients to contact us. Perhaps the hardest part about creating a portfolio is knowing what to include. And by implication, what to leave out. We want to emphasize quality over quantity and never include anything that we have to make excuses for. And we only want to include examples of the kind of work that we want to get more of. If you've done a lot of work in a particular field, but your tired of working in that particular field, then leave those pieces out.
There's no definitive answer to the frequently asked question, how many projects should be included? This is going to depend upon your level of experience, number of years working in the field, and your personal preference. But to the extent that we can put a number on it, I'm going to say between five and 12. With each of those projects showing some depth being made up of between five and 12 images. And while we may feel that our work speaks for itself, it doesn't.
We need to include information, usually captions, that will contextualize the project. It comes back to this lesson that, as graphic designers, we keep learning over and over again and that we can never hear too much of, really, it is keep it simple. We need to constantly remind ourself that we're creating a portfolio that is about our work. And it's not about web design bells and whistles. And we need to pay careful attention to detail because many a good portfolio has been marred by a very easily avoided spelling mistake.
So make sure that you have trusted friends and colleagues review your work before you put it online. Creating a portfolio from a graphic designers perspective is like a gardener working on their own garden. It's something that often gets forgotten. So if you've been putting this off for a while, perhaps an easy way to get yourself motivated is to treat yourself as a client. Come up with a timetable of deliverables for the project.
And, very importantly, you should gather your assets before you begin working on the portfolio. This may mean going into your digital archive and opening up these files, some of which may need to be converted to the most recent versions of the software. You may need to find missing fonts or re-link missing files. That can be very time consuming, but we want to be able to keep our focus on the portfolio and not get distracted having to go back and find what files we need for the project.
So there are some important planning things to think about before we start working on the portfolio.
- Starting a new portfolio website
- Making a header and footer
- Adding navigation
- Including social media icons
- Adding an autoplay slideshow
- Making thumbnail images and buttons
- Creating an About page and a Contact page
- Linking pages together
- Creating an accordion menu
- Adding breakpoints for responsiveness
- Testing and publishing a website