Having your portfolio online doesn’t necessarily mean not having it in print. You can have two versions of the same book; and there are several benefits to both. A print portfolio might be more memorable in an industry where print is all but dying, but it doesn’t capture a designer’s ability to work in the most common medium. However, having your work showcased online means you can share it easily, and you don’t have to figure out mailing address or spend a lot of money printing it every time you need to update your work. An online portfolio can easily flow from the recruiter’s inbox to the creative director’s desk. Here are a few things to consider when making the switch from print to web:
Keep it straightforward
Hiring managers and recruiters have a lot of candidates to sift through. They will look at several portfolios and resumes over the course of the hiring process and it is imperative to capture their attention as soon as possible. They will value you taking their time into consideration.
For the most part, your information should be compartmentalized with the recruiter’s needs: build out a page for your work, one with your history, and possibly one with your resume. You can always attach a more descriptive cover letter, and full CV in the email introducing your portfolio.
If you build your portfolio following best practices, it can itself be an example of the work you are able to do. Your portfolio should be polished and follow best practices so that employers can see these skills in your work. When working with clients you won’t always have the opportunity to follow best practices. Clients and other circumstances can pull your work into more restricted directions. It is important to showcase your ability to work within those frameworks but take your own portfolio and brand as an opportunity to build out the ideal scenario. Nothing is in the way but yourself, so have fun with it.
One of the key benefits of having an online portfolio is being able to fit as much content as you can. Just because you’re able to, however, doesn’t mean you should. Find the pieces that best represent your skillset and creative thinking and feature those. Spec pieces, or pieces that weren’t made for an actual client, that better capture your creative thinking and skillset should take priority over work that may be more common. Clearly label the work you did for clients and as spec, and clearly mark what role you played. This will help answer a lot of questions your recruiter might have and give you more time to talk about yourself as a creative.
Make it memorable
With all the templates available for designers, it is important to find the best combination of attributes to make your website memorable. Squarespace, Wix, even Weebly all offer templates for the designer that is more front-end, while Adobe offers several options for coding your own site. Regardless of the builder you use, make sure your designs are the best option for communicating your work. Consider the scope of work you have to showcase, the number of pieces you could ultimately add, and how you want others to navigate it. A little UI/UX never hurt anyone, even when using a predesigned template.
Of course, try using a new domain to make it stick. Why compete for an expensive, and generic .com when you can host your work with your name at .design? Maybe you consider yourself an artist and want to showcase at .art or an illustrator at .ink. It’s 2018 and .com isn’t the only option anymore. Explore the newest extensions and create something truly descriptive and unique. Your website will not only stand out in the sea of .coms, but it will be short and to the point. Recruiters will remember it, and you.