How to Make Your Design Portfolio Stand Out

In such a rapidly growing industry, with freelance and full time jobs on offer across all kinds of businesses, making your portfolio stand out (and in turn, your talent stand out) is essential. 


So as a JMC Academy Visual Communication (Design) student or graduate, how can your portfolio stand out from the rest? Here are our top tips to get you the job. 

Select your Work Carefully

Don’t just throw all of your work in to the portfolio. One piece of bad work can undermine an entire portfolio and demonstrate a lack of taste in your own abilities. So instead select pieces which best communicate your talent and skills, with an eye for the best quality work to start the portfolio off!

Choose your Path

While you may have completed some good work for previous clients, if it isn’t the type of work or style you would like to be working towards in the future, consider not including it. Instead, place more emphasis on the work you have done that leans more towards the direction you want to pursue in your design career. Although it's good to show diversity, you want to focus on appealing to the clients and projects that would have work you would be really excited about completing.

Show the Story

Each piece of work within your portfolio will have a story of how it came about. Who commissioned it, what was their aim and how did you approach this? What changes did they ask for and how did you find the solutions to this? This way, the interviewer can get a real sense of how you would work throughout the process, rather than just understanding the end result of your worl. Don’t be afraid to show your work in progress along the way, as showing this off can act as a interview conversation starter and help communicate your decisions that led to your final product. 


Show at least one piece of work in the environment it was designed for. For example, if you designed a mobile app, show an image of this app on a phone and show how the app functions in real time. 

Make it Personal

Not all of the pieces you show have to be work that you've been commissioned to do, include other work that shows your abilities through demonstrating what approach you would take for an existing product or brand. This shows that, not only are you passionate about your work, but this approach can demonstrate your talent when you are free from the constraints of clients.

We would advise however to stay away from projects or businesses that already have strong brand appeal. Try a local store or a company you feel doesn't currently have a strong brand. 

Introduce Yourself 

Tell your story. Show your passion and give a summary of your professional background. Be careful not to make this too long as you want them to focus on your talent and work, not your pet cat and why your email address has nothing to do with your name!

Best of luck with your porfolios!

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