Beginner web designers need portfolios more than resumes. Although work experience is important, potential employers or freelance clients will want to see examples of your work more than anything else. Building a portfolio can be a challenge for novice designers, but you can get started when you’re still learning or in school. As you embark on this journey, keep in mind that web design changes every year, and your portfolio should be updated regularly as well.
Find a Niche
Are you a web designer who specializes in building websites for restaurants? Do you craft WordPress themes for businesses or personal bloggers? Your skills should be flexible, but your style should be unique. Finding a specific niche to market yourself in can help make your portfolio more unique. It’s also important to remember that portfolios may change to reflect the type of job you’re applying for. Having examples of work similar to a company or client’s industry will always score you extra points.
Make It Responsive
Responsiveness is the gold standard, and your portfolio should reflect your understanding of best practices in web design. Make sure that your portfolio looks just as good on someone’s desktop as it does on a tablet or smartphone. Your portfolio does more than just show off your work; it shows your ability to consider your audience and implement features that give them the best experience.
Consider Your Education
Are you going to college for web design or self-taught? Although skills typically carry the most weight in the field, an increasing number of employers are seeking candidates with a bachelor’s degree. One of the biggest deterrents for potential students is the cost of a web design degree. Although college is a costly expense, you can explore flexible degrees online that enable you to work and gain experience while earning your bachelor’s. Online colleges are also often much cheaper than brick-and-mortar schools. Using scholarships and private student loans without a cosigner, you can independently finance your education and plan for the future. Earning a degree can spruce up your portfolio and showcase your commitment to the craft.
Express Your Individuality
Web design portfolio templates can give you a great starting point, but try not to be overly reliant on them for inspiration. Although you should research other web designers and see what their portfolios look like, don’t pressure yourself to copy their work or aesthetic. Embrace your own style; your portfolio is the perfect place to marry your unique style with your identity as a designer.
Get to the Point
First impressions are made subconsciously in under 10 seconds; your portfolio is your face online, so you want to make it as appealing and accurate as possible. Choose a theme that is uncluttered but eye-catching; host on a platform with fast response times to ensure your first impression isn’t cast aside by a sluggish server. Opt for short copy with 50 to 100-word captions for your pieces. An about me page should also be short and crafty as to let your work do the talking.