TOP 6 tips for a better design portfolio
A product designer's portfolio is a special thing. The priority is often low, buried under projects, deadlines and client requirements. However, a high-quality and strategically created portfolio can help you get the job or project you want. How to do it? In this article, you will learn six practical tips that will lead you to a quality result.
1. Prioritize and show only projects that are relevant to your goal
Before you even open Figma and start choosing colors and fonts, set up a plan. What is the goal of your portfolio? Are you looking for a new job? Do you want to impress a potential client? The answers to these questions should determine the projects you show in your portfolio. If you are applying for the role of a product designer, your illustrations of Bratislava from the second year of university probably do not have much meaning.
Think about what skills and thinking the person on the other side wants to see in you. This will help you choose projects strategically.
2. Make your copywriting exciting
Did you think we would ✨finally✨ go to Figma after the first point? You will have to wait a little longer - we continue in the text editor. From project descriptions to your bio, text is extremely important in a portfolio. It tells a story. How do you want to communicate? Is the tone you speak in your portfolio authentic to you?
From our experience, it is best to write all texts in one sprint. It will help you with consistency of tone and in the design phase you will already be working with real texts. Want to take it to the next level? Ask for feedback from the copywriter. Your chances of getting an interview will immediately increase.
3. Focus on the problems you solved and the goals you achieved
If you're serious about design, you know it's not just pretty rounded squares on the screen. Quality design solves problems, creates systems and takes business goals into account.
Does your portfolio reflect this way of thinking?
Mockups and Dribbble shots have their value, but they don't reveal much by themselves. Always build project case studies as a story. Let us behind the curtain, show us how the project developed, what went wrong and what was the result. Having two high-quality case studies in your portfolio will get you further than 30 glossy mockups alone.
🤔 Interested in how we approach case studies at GoodRequest? Get inspired by this Fitshaker project.
Here is an example of a structure you can follow:
1. What was the initial problem or challenge?
2. What approach to the problem will they choose? What research did you do?
3. What was the first output?
4. Did you run into any obstacles in the process? Did you have to change something?
5. How did you get to the final result?
6. Did you fulfill the original goal of the project? How does the project live over time?
4. Use the appropriate tools
Finally we come to the tools! Are you using the right ones? There are countless platforms for creating portfolios, but not all of them are suitable for your situation. Choose according to scope and purpose. For three-page portfolios, Squarespace, Carbonmade or Adobe Portfolio will be more than enough. For the larger ones, there is Semplice or the powerful combination of Figma + Webflow.
It is important that the tool does not unnecessarily limit or slow you down when creating.
Want to simplify your life as a designer? We've prepared a selection of TOP Figma plugins that will help you (not only) in portfolio creation.
5. Be active and get your work in front of people
You have a finished and published portfolio. Congratulations! What now?!
The probability that someone will type your name into a search engine and discover your corner of the Internet is very low. Run towards the opportunity and show off yourself. Social networks, conferences, public speaking or direct communication are all channels where you can share your work and show that you are here and know what you are doing.
Open sharing will also help you continue to improve your portfolio. Proactively ask for feedback from other designers, copywriters, colleagues or clients. Over time, your website can become a powerful communication channel for your personal brand.
Get inspired by the Czech designer Eva Kuttichová, who regularly communicates updates in her portfolio:
6. Avoid the "deadly sins" of the portfolio
As our designer colleague Peťo says, "I look at everything mentioned above only if the portfolio doesn't put me off at first glance."
There are a few important things that we already take for granted, but if they are missing, you commit the "deadly sins" of the portfolio.
Pay extra attention to:
- Grammatical errors.
- Non-working or non-existent links.
- Missing or broken mobile display.
- Poor, pixelated outputs.
- Too large, unoptimized files.
- Absence of CTA and contact information.
- Encrypted access.
- Outdated, out-of-date projects.
BONUS: Here's how to do it
Finally, we have prepared for you some links to portfolios that do it well. Whether from the point of view of content, design or copywriting, you will definitely find the necessary inspiration in them.
- Eva Kuttichova
- Aucadian – Garett MacGillivray
- Karolis Kosas
- Johny Vino
- Robin Noguier
- Kyson Dana
- Luke James Taylor
- Jason Yuan Design
We believe that these tips will help you create a portfolio that will not only be a collection of pretty pictures, but also a tool for career advancement. And when you have one, send it to us, maybe it will be a match!