Building a portfolio is critical, whether you intend to go it alone as a freelancer or seek out the shelter of a steady corporate job. A website is a necessary tool, but beware. One of the top mistakes new designers make is assuming that a flashy or fancy website is necessary to attract clients. Quite the opposite is true. Your site should employ all the best aspects of composition, presentation and readability. Show off, but in ways that highlight your best skills. Don’t obscure your contact information with too many clickables and cover pages.
So how do you build a clean, clearly presented portfolio that will draw clients in?
First, remember that your landing page is critical. You have maybe 3-6 seconds to catch a client’s attention, before they click away to another Google link. So your first page should feature your best work, in a clean, clearly presented manner. Don’t get too carried away with flashy gifs, but do stand out. Study some portfolios to see what works, what appeals, and what doesn’t.
If you’re using photos of marketing materials to give clients an idea of the final product, be sure they are crisp, clean, and obvious. Don’t get so caught up in being unique and “artsy” that you confuse or annoy a potential customer. Remember, this is a professional presentation meant to draw them in and impress.
Look around the ‘net at some successful designer’s portfolio pages. There are literally thousands available. Remember, when looking at really unusual or innovative sites, that they are likely well-established businesses with a unique client base they’re trying to impress. It’s important to build the relationship with your clients and gain their trust in your basic skill and level of service before moving too far outside the box in terms of design.
Your online portfolio is the first impression clients have of your work. Make it solid, professional and express your personality. Still not sure how to make your portfolio the best it can be? Stay tuned for future articles on maximizing your online portfolio’s impact.
|Tom Chu works for PsPrint and PsPrint Blog. When he’s not sitting behind a computer, Tom likes watching sci-fi movies and Japanese cartoons, hitting the golf course and playing with his four dogs. You can connect with Tom via Google+ or Twitter.|