1. What’s your story?
Why do you do what you do? What’s your purpose and story? Tell the people because the people want to know what drives you to do what you do. It’s a massive turn off to venture onto someone’s website to see a mix mash of designs with no clear purpose or driving force behind them. When people can see you genuinely enjoy and have love for what you do, they are more likely to trust you enough to allow you to lead the way and bring them closer to their visions.
People can tell when your sole motivation is money; they can sniff it from a mile away.
2. Document the process.
How do you work? There’s something really endearing and clarifying about a detailed portfolio that doesn’t just showcase the end result, but the steps it took to reach it. It shows the proof in the pudding and also highlights the fact that you don’t just pull designs out of your arse; thought, research and informed decisions are all factored in to produce strong outcomes.
3. Clarity & Consistency
Is your portfolio a strong, consistent body of work? Or is it a smorgasbord of different projects with no recurring themes? The last thing you want to do is appear as a jack of all trades and master of none; zone in on the specific types of projects you really want to work on and focus on expanding your knowledge in that area.
Too many varying styles and design projects may cause people to question just how effectively you’re able to execute quality across the board – are you spreading yourself too thin?
4. Work In Action.
Using mock-ups is an effective way to show your work in action and give prospective clients an idea of how well your designs translate onto various products. There are many places on the net where you can either purchase mock up files or find some golden freebies.
For example: Creative Market has a range of premium mock ups and websites like offer an entire catalogue of free, realistic looking files to bring your pieces to life.
This goes without saying, but presentation is absolutely everything. You can have the most fire pieces of work, but if it’s splayed out in a cluttered fashion, or lobbed onto a flash heavy webpage with too much going on – nobody is going to want to stick around to find out more, let alone drop a line.
Try to pick your best 8-12 projects and not go beyond that. This is a great amount to work with as it isn’t offering too small of a selection, it’s allows you to demonstrate a little range without overloading the experience. Nice, neat and succinct.