5 Portfolio Design Options

One of the most important tools in your graphic design arsenal is a good portfolio. This is the best of the best of all the work you’ve done for clients, school and practice. But what’s all that work worth if it’s not nicely displayed? The worst form of marketing for a designer is a poor showing of his or her work. No matter which of the following portfolio styles you use, be sure it’s a stunning showcase of your talent.

Online. This is among the most popular forms of portfolio design. It’s easy to access by anyone with the Internet, and it shows that in addition to creating all the lovely projects in your portfolio, you can also create a user-friendly, attractive website. One tip is to let your work shine through – don’t go too crazy with the bells and whistles on the website at the risk of crowding your portfolio pieces.

Brochure. This is old school. A brochure is something you can physically hand to potential clients. It’s a shiny, classy way to be sure your work detail shows up. A brochure is a good choice – in addition to an online portfolio – for more artsy pieces, as creativity can sometimes get lost when it’s pixilated.

Booklet. A cheaper alternative to a brochure is a booklet. Freelance illustrator Steve Harpster recently ordered a batch of booklet portfolios after marketing attempts with postcards and directory listings. The booklets contain 30 of his images as well as his variety of styles. They’re much less expensive to ship to prospects than brochures.

PDF. Less expensive to produce than a website is a PDF. Despite the grumblings in the past, most potential clients will have a PDF reader on their computer, and they can easily open up your work and see it intact. A layered PDF allows the viewer to flip through multiple pieces of your work, and you can create buttons and links.

Business card. For a bonus way to market yourself, use up that real estate on your business card. Create fold-out business cards and include thumbnails of your best portfolio work. Be sure to include how to get access to the rest of your portfolio.