The Small Details Matter – Tips & Tricks on Building the Perfect Designer Portfolio
If you’re already at the stage where you’re choosing your portfolio website builder, it’s safe to assume you know a thing or two about creating this. But you’re also aware of the fact that the devil is in the details. In the case of an online portfolio website, these small details can make the difference between okay-ness and greatness.
You probably already know the basics. You’ve probably already chosen a portfolio website builder and added some content to it. This article will help you add some fine details to your work so it truly stands out from the crowd.
Mind the Typography
Knowing good typography is a skill that will always be valuable. Think about the fonts as personality traits – small but crucial. This is an absurd example but you wouldn’t use Comic Sans if you had a law company website. When choosing your font, keep it bold and simple. Google Fonts has a great selection you can use and you can even combine them to see what they’d look like when paired together.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also create your very own custom font. This is a well-known marketing strategy employed by some of the greatest brands in the world. A unique font will help you establish an image for yourself that will resonate with your potential customers and make an impact they will remember.
Our tip: Try to use a sans-serif font for your online materials. It’s easier to read on small and big screens alike and it won’t cause confusion.
Make Navigation Easy
How many times have you found yourself frustrated with a website because you couldn’t navigate it properly? Think about that and apply it to your online portfolio. Your visitors should be able to go through your content with ease. Make sure your design and content is consistent across every page of your website and that you don’t have mismatched fonts or images. This will only break the flow of reading and will show unprofessionalism.
A navigation menu in your header is a must. Include the most important pages here and add submenus when that’s the case. For the mobile version, make sure to include a side button that will open up a menu.
Our tip: Try to use a one-page layout. This is great for visitors who are in a hurry because they can easily go through all your content in one smooth mouse scroll.
Make Sure They Can Say Hi
Your prospects should always have a clear view of your contact information. This is one of the crucial elements of your online portfolio because it provides a way for the clients to connect with you. And while you can just provide your email and phone number in the footer, we recommend you also put together a contact form.
This is more interactive and will allow your visitors to get in touch without leaving your portfolio. Don’t make it too complicated, however – just ask for their name, their email and add a free type field where they can describe their project.
Our tip: To make your contact info even more visible, we recommend you add a special navigation button for this section. Just make sure it stands out from the rest of the buttons.
Test it on Mobile
When you use a portfolio website builder, the mobile experience should be at the top of your priority list. Most of your traffic will come from mobile so it’s crucial you offer a perfect small screen experience. In a mobile-first world, you can’t just rely on the desktop version of your portfolio anymore.
Take your time and perfect the mobile experience. Make sure all the menus and page elements are where they’re supposed to be and if they’re not, arrange them manually. This might seem like a waste of time in theory but do you really want to lose clients because they’re seeing your portfolio’s buggy mobile face?
Our tip: A one-page website is usually preferred for mobile devices. Your visitors will go through all your content in one smooth slide. If you have multiple pages, add a clear menu button on the side of the layout.
You Can Include Non-Client Work
If you’re just starting out as a designer, you might not have much to display in terms of client projects. It’s okay to include some of your personal or draft projects, but be sure to mention that if you do. Keep in mind that some prospects might ask you for contact information of the “clients” you worked for and it’s going to be especially embarrassing if you’re caught lying about it.
When you include non-client work, you might be tempted to not pay much attention to it. After all, it was just practice and you didn’t get paid for it, right? Wrong. Every project you display in your portfolio should receive the same amount of care and dedication you’d give a client one. It will only highlight your professionalism and people will see that you take your work very seriously.
Our tip: If you include school or university projects, grab some testimonials from your teachers if you can. They don’t have to be long-winded, they just have to showcase your talent and professionalism.
No matter how much you read about creating your own portfolio, you won’t know what that entails until you actually do it. We know it’s tempting to postpone such work, especially when it’s “for ourselves”. But your portfolio is the most important selling tool you have and you must make sure it’s perfect.
So stop saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” and start doing it now. Curate your work, choose your portfolio website builder, write about your projects and get yourself some clients! You will eventually see all that hard work paying off when you have more and more people wanting to work with you!