10 ideas for a better portfolio

Struggling for ways to present your work to potential clients? Here are 10 ideas to make your online portfolio stand out

Shoot with care
"If you photograph your work, invest time and resources into making the images as good as possible," advises Emmi Salonen, creative director at Studio EMMI. "Just as spelling mistakes do, images with no contrast, bad focus and so on take attention away from your work, and make the viewer focus on how the presentation could be improved."

Be selective
"Curate the work you put up carefully," says London-based illustrator Malika Favre. "Online folios need the same rhythm as printed ones: you need to tell a story, and order your projects so that they feel fluid and complement each other. If it means that an old project has to be removed to fit the new story, so be it."

Make it easy to update
"By far the most important thing for me is making it easy to put new work up there," reflects illustrator Laura Barnard, who uses the Squarespace platform. "You could have the fanciest site in the world, but if it was last updated five years ago it looks a bit lazy."

Add some personality
For Mexico-based designer and illustrator Christopher Mooij, regular updates are crucial - and not just those showing finished work: "Let people know what you're working on, or what you've done over the past few weeks," he says. "Obviously those posts shouldn't be filled with your personal diary: make it smart."

Tailor it for the purpose
"Think about the goal of your portfolio," advises Seattle-based illustrator Jared Nickerson. "In the beginning I just wanted constructive feedback, so would only post one image of the core work. Nowadays I try to showcase different usages of a design or placement on products, and give some insights into the process."

Cater to diverse tastes
"One of my best-selling prints is quite frankly one of my least favourite pictures," admits Stan Chow, who sells his work online through Big Cartel. "Potential clients and buyers look for different things, and sometimes you have to put up images you don't like so much, because the chances are that somebody else will."

Put your work in context
"One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to display printed material on screen," points out New York-based designer Derek Chan. "While digital versions of your work will help, photography is definitely the best way to show these off. It's all about the context, and showing your designs as they were intended to be seen."

Set out your stall
"The work that you choose to showcase should be the type of work that you want to be hired to produce," reasons New York-based designer and type artist Sasha Prood. "Be selective, and only show the projects that you can really stand behind. A great way to develop your portfolio further is through self-initiated projects."

Keep it maintained
"Completed projects can start ganging up, and it ends up being a project in itself to get your portfolio sorted," admits Jeff Knowles. His solution is to make a versatile template, and a concise system for naming and describing your projects: "At the end of each one, simply select your best images and populate the templates."

Blog, and stick with it
For Jonathan Edwards, a regularly updated blog keeps people coming back: "Set yourself a task, like updating your blog every day for 100 days," he suggests. "It may seem a pain to have to find something new to post every day, but in the long run you'll thank yourself. You'll have 100 new drawings, for a start."