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7 must-know pieces of portfolio theory

Showcase yourself more effectively and win more clients with a killer design portfolio (opens in new tab). Here's how...

01. Solve a problem

Start with the right approach. Like any piece of design, your portfolio is the solution to a problem – in this case, your need for an effective online presence.

02. Make it mobile

Use an adaptive or responsive page design that looks good when viewed on both desktop and mobile devices. Always save images at web-friendly sizes to avoid sluggish load times – particularly for mobile users.

03. Keep it simple

Focus on simplicity and flexibility, not bells, whistles and pointless clutter. Your portfolio site should quietly sit back and let your work do the talking.

04. Narrow things down

Don't include every project you've ever done. Narrowing your portfolio down can be a wrench, but stick to showing strong images from the types of projects you'd like to do more of in the future.

05. Write snappy summaries

Keep all text on your site short and simple. Make sure you include enough information to convey what you did, why and for which client, and be clear about what role you played – but don't write a novel. Unless they're looking for something specific, visitors don't want spend much time reading.

06. Pay attention to detail

Correct, up-to-date contact information: it sounds basic, but ensure it's on your site and easy to find. Take care of housekeeping issues like filenames and spelling, or they'll come back to haunt you down the line. Make sure clickable links work.

07. Make it updatable

Finished updating your site? Store your login details somewhere sensible, and ensure any security questions are ones you'll still be able to answer in a few months' time, so you aren't locked out when you come to update the site.

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts (opens in new tab) issue 251.

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Anne Wollenberg is an award-winning freelance journalist who specialises in writing about the creative industry.