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Pro Tips: Building an Impressive Design Portfolio

Your graphic design portfolio is like your resume, but with a splash of color and flair.  Think of it as a curated gallery that gives potential clients or employers a glimpse into your design skills and aesthetic. It's where you get to shine and let your creativity take center stage. It's your chance to make an unforgettable first impression and stand out from the crowd.

And since your design portfolio can either make or break a deal, the pressure to create an impressive one is on. That's why we've brought in an expert in the form of our own designer, Hrvoje. Here's how to create a winning design portfolio and not (completely) hate the experience.

Choose your best work

The first step in creating your design portfolio is filtering through your past designs and finding your best work. Choose projects that show both your technical abilities and problem-solving skills.

Each piece you choose to include should showcase your style and give insight into your design process. While picking designs to include in your portfolio, make sure to show your versatility. Include different types of projects like illustrations, branding, or web design to showcase your creative range.

That said, don't go overboard. Quality over quantity is the name of the game here. When it comes to your portfolio, it's better to show fewer high-quality pieces than risk them getting lost in a sea of mediocre ones.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"Clients sometimes can't envision how your design would look in practice, so make sure to include links for them to see it in action for themselves."

Focus on presentation

A design portfolio won't be judged just on the work you did. Since you're a designer, your clients expect a higher level of skill when it comest to the way you present your work.

The last thing you want to do is take away the value from an amazing project with poor presentation. As a rule of thumb, the best portfolios are straightforward and easy to navigate. Keep the formatting simple to draw focus on your work.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"Always keep your presentation relevant to the position you're applying to. For example, if you're applying for UI/UX design, create a portfolio that serves as a use case for your solutions. If you do typography, use one of your custom fonts throughout your portfolio. The best way to present your design solutions is to show them in use."

Showcase your creative process

Your design portfolio is about more than displaying beautiful designs. It's about telling a story through each project and highlighting your problem-solving skills.

A well-crafted portfolio shows both the work you've done and how you've approached challenges. To give context to your designs, you can add written descriptions to summarize the scope and the process.

Alternatively, you can add case studies for more complex projects. Start by outlining the problem, describing the client's needs and goals, and any challenges you faced during the project.

Walk through each step of your design process – from research and ideation to execution and final delivery. Include visuals such as sketches, drafts, and final designs to make it visually engaging.

Highlight the results achieved after implementing your design solution. To demonstrate the success of your work, share metrics or feedback received from the client.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"More often than not, the story will be more important than the end result. Your design doesn't necessarily need to be appealing to everyone. It needs to cater to the client's needs and bring in the target audience. If that's clear from your case study, then you did well."

Choose the right platform

When it comes to showcasing your design portfolio, choosing the right platform is crucial. You want a platform that displays your projects beautifully and resonates with your style and brand.

Think about how user-friendly the platform is both for you as the creator and for potential clients browsing through your portfolio. A clean layout and easy navigation are key factors in keeping potential clients engaged. Here are a few of our favorites.


Besides being an online portfolio site, Behance also helps creatives connect. You can showcase your work, get feedback, and be discovered by clients looking for your set of skills.

Since Behance also serves as a hiring platform, its pricing depends on how much work you're getting. They charge a platform fee both to the client and you, with an added percentage depending on the total payment made.


Similarly to Behance, Dribbble also helps designers build portfolios and get community feedback. The platform offers a free and a Pro plan at $16/month, but you get 50% off if you opt for an annual subscription.

On the Pro plan, you get priority visibility in their hiring and inspiration feeds, plus an ad-free experience. What's more, your portfolio is hosted on your own domain.

Build your own website

Speaking of your own domain, how about creating your own website? It might be more time-consuming, but it is the best way to get a completely customized portfolio.

A custom website is a great route to take to turn your portfolio into a use case in itself. Besides letting you show off your design skills, it also lets clients see other skills like UX, UI, or typography design first hand.

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Power tip by Hrvoje

"Make sure to also tell clients a thing or two about yourself. Design is a individualized process and the client will want to know who you are as a person in order to decide whether you're a good fit."

Don't forget your contact info

Last, but not least, make sure to include your contact info in your design portfolio. A client can't hire you if they can't reach you!

And what about your docs?

When you're in the design business, everything you send to your clients gets judged on appearance immediately. And your docs are no exception.

After you've impressed your client with a media-rich, beautiful portfolio, you want to keep that momentum of excitement going. Good news is, you don't have to spend hours formatting and designing a regular A4 PDF document.

Instead, keep wowing your clients with docs that look as good as a website, complete with responsive features and eSignatures. Collect a deposit, set up a payment plan, collect extra info, and set up a kick-off call directly from your documents. All this and more is inside Better Proposals - all you need to do is sign up and see for yourself.

"I'm awesome, give me the job" doesn't work

But showcasing your skills with documents that look, feel, and sound great does. Take Better Proposals for a spin - the first 14 days are free.

Patricija Šobak's profile image
Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.