A full thought out and cleanly designed portfolio is not only vital to showcase your artistic talents, but it also creates the first impression that a potential client will have of you.
Most freelance graphic designers will just put up a couple of screenshots, add their email address, and call it a day. However, if you put a little bit of thought into how your portfolio looks and feels, it can go a long way. Remember that your portfolio’s purpose isn’t to look cool to other designers; it’s to get non-designer clients to contact you.
I’ve previously posted ten tips to improve your portfolio, and how to make it stand out from the crowd. But to better help designers, artists and creatives who desire to make a mark in this highly competitive industry, I’ve narrowed down an essential list of things that your portfolio needs to attract the right types of clients. Here are the five things that clients want to see:
Have a clean and coherent layout
A cluttered portfolio will become an eye sore to your viewers, causing them to leave the site quickly. Your website needs to be modern, timeless and captivating. If you don’t have the HTML skills to build it yourself, there is a wide selection of templates that cater to the needs of photographers, illustrators and designers.
Explain project objectives and process
For clients to evaluate your work, they have to know what was asked of you for a project that you showcase. Clients want to know how you think and will approach their problem. They’ll put themselves in the shoes of your past clients, and want see if you’ll get them the same results. By explaining what objectives and/or constraints you had to work with, you’ll better equip prospective clients of your capabilities.
Clients want quality, not quantity
I repeat this again and again, because it’s important. Don’t crowd your portfolio by including every piece of work you have ever done. Instead, focus on choosing your best work. This should be the projects that illustrate your full set of skills and abilities. Hide all the second fiddle work, because clients want to see the best work you do.
Concise work skills and experience
Your portfolio should showcase your area of expertise, a write-up of your accomplishments, and experiences with the types of clients you have worked with before. Including small details like the types of languages you are versed in can help to expand your global reach too.
Finally, your contact details should be placed strategically where it cannot be missed, as they help to open up opportunities for connection. This may seem obvious, but clients want to know how to contact you, what time zone you’re in and the hours you work. It’s no good to have a client fall in love with your work, but not be able to get in touch.