In the 21st century, there are few industries more competitive than graphic design. Why so? Due to the plethora of well-priced design software, everybody thinks they are a designer, and this makes the field more competitive than it has ever been. If you went to college for graphic design and really want to make money with your design skills, it has never been more important to have a professional portfolio because this is what separates you from the amateurs. But how can you actually make sure your design portfolio is making you stand out for the right reasons?
Online and print
In this digital age, you might think that all you need is a website that can carry examples of your best work, but this is not the case. In fact, you may have created design pieces specifically for print such as brochures and posters, and it's in the print medium that these pieces will really shine. What's more, there is something about sharing a tangible body of work with a prospective employer that delivers the wow factor so much more than another web link.
Include your own projects
Of course, it's impressive to have big name clients in your portfolio, but it's not everything. If you are just starting out on this path, you can make up for a lack of well-known clients by including examples of your own work. If you've created a book cover off your own back and you think it's great, feature it. This is a fantastic way of showcasing your own personal style, and it shows that you have the initiative and motivation to work without a deadline or a paycheck.
Start with your most impressive work
Everyone's heard the phrase that you don't have a second chance to make a first impression, and this is as true with graphic design as with anything else. If the first piece featured in your portfolio doesn't make a splash, you give no reason for your prospective client to even turn the page and check out the rest of your work.
Curate for the job you want
Graphic design is not one size fits all, and you will want to tailor your portfolio with each job interview for the job you want. If you are going for a logo design job, featuring a responsive website design might not be all that relevant. You can include a few examples of other kinds of work to show your talent, but make sure you have a strong focus on what the client is really looking for.
Follow these tips and you should have no problem establishing yourself as a graphic design professional and securing ongoing work.