Portfolio: an absolute must-have for a visual designer


November 28, 2022

That’s true for really any industry, but the importance level depends on individual ones. And if you’re a visual designer, congratulations — building up a portfolio is an absolute necessity for you! Because you’re working with graphics, you should really let the world know what visual access you have up your sleeve.

Having a compelling portfolio comes with a lot of advantages that could advance your career to lengths that you now perceive as being out of the question. It’s much more than links to the examples of your work. When viewed, potential customers should clearly understand your working approach, professional history, or the experience (both practical and theoretical) you gained over the time you’ve been working in the field.

Let’s summarize some key reasons why you should build a portfolio NOW. By the way, these tips will work for anyone who needs to present their services. Whether it’s a designer, copywriter, or dog nutrition consultant.

So, how does a good portfolio help your career?

It makes things easier for new clients

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, the process of digitization changes everything. Including the way customers look for information about products and services, they’re interested in. And while they can check your LinkedIn profile, read reviews on your Google Business page, or ask one of the clients you’ve worked with about you, a portfolio will keep all of this information in one place.

A study performed by Microsoft found out that our attention spans have dropped to just eight seconds. That means a 25% drop in just a few years. We are taught to expect fast answers and are often repulsed by the need to look up different sources when searching for details just about anything.

Therefore, if you want to simplify things for your potential customers a bit, you need to have a comprehensive portfolio. They will be able to take a look at your work from various angles, meaning they will find out everything they need to know about you in a matter of seconds. That is the first way it brings you, new clients.

The second one is purely technical. If you have a website that shows your work, customers can find you when entering specific keywords to search engines. These are the first choice for anyone who realizes they need the type of service you offer for the first time. In this context, search engines are a gate for the acquisition of new clients.

You can also promote the website with various tools like PPC ads, helping you not only acquire new clients but also spread awareness about your brand.

It shows your consistency

If you’ve been consistent with the style or message you represent, a portfolio will emphasize this fact. And that is an absolute game-changer. Why?

Let’s come back to the scenario we stated in the previous section. If you don’t have a proper online portfolio, customers will have to search for pieces of information about you everywhere. They might see a bit of your work here and a bit there. However, it’s impossible to understand your brand values in a comprehensive way. They will probably get lost and struggle to find anything that resonates with them.

When you present a portfolio, they will instantly get a clear image of your style and overall message. That way, they can establish a connection with your work, and therefore order your services.

This is also true in case you haven’t set your unique style so far, because even though you might not see it yet, there are common elements that keep showing up in your work, irrelevant of the platform you use for getting creative. And if you’re like me and also build websites, it doesn’t matter what platform you use for that. I prefer Webflow, but you might notice that you like working with something else, and that’s completely okay. And one of the key elements your unique style consists of.

It provides a clearer picture of what it’s like to work with you

Every visual designer works a bit differently. After all, that is one of the key aspects that differentiate you from the competition. With a portfolio, the visitors will be able to visualize what it will be like if they make a deal with you.

A resume won’t ever provide the information that a portfolio can. The sky's the limit when building it, so don’t shy away to get creative and provide all of the relevant information, but also minor details about the way you work. Potential customers will be able to feel and experience it – even when they don’t cooperate with you just yet.

It can help you realize what point in your career you’re at

And last but not least, let’s talk about the benefit that a portfolio can bring directly to you. Sometimes, it’s very helpful to just sit back and reflect on what you’ve done and realize how far you’ve come. Portfolio will enable you to do just that.

In business generally, a self-reflection process is very important, because you can analyze your journey so far and learn what you can improve in the future. The world of visual design is very competitive and preparing for it getting even tougher. Having a portfolio will help you identify your strengths which you can build on and stand out from the enormous crowd of designers of all kinds because of them.

Can you remember what was the first design you made? Maybe you include this one in the portfolio as well – it shows humility and demonstrates the pace of your growth to your customers as well when compared to more recent work. 

I hope that this article clarified why having a compelling portfolio is an absolute must for any visual designer and really for anyone who wants to be successful – whether online or offline. See you next time!

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Do you have your own portfolio? If no, why? Let's chat on Twitter @BilekUI.

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