3 Tips on How to Take Your Portfolio to the Next Level

Your portfolio is a showcase of your work, talents, and potential. And there are thousands upon thousands of talented people putting their portfolios out there on the web. And more every day. You can find plenty of advice and articles on how to create a portfolio—37 tips on this, 50 tips on that. Too much information, too little time.

What can you do today to upgrade your portfolio? How can you keep the eyes of a potential client on the best you have to offer?

We will give you three simple tips that others rarely talk about. If you pay attention to our words of advice, you can boost up your portfolio to its fullest potential. And the best part? It is so simple that you can do it today.

Tip #1: Clarify your goals

Imagine yourself doing one thing for the next three years. Would you get bored of it?

The work you choose to show is the work you will be potentially doing in the future. That is how you should think when you select work to put in your portfolio.

A clear vision of what you want to be doing will be very helpful in the portfolio-making process.

Tip #2: Make an overview of your work

Many say that visual appearance is what catches the eye in the first place. As this may be true, sometimes it might not be enough to keep attention on your portfolio. There is another practical thing that plays a major role in that. Your portfolio should be understandable and easy to navigate.

Here’s what Emelyn Baker, who has looked through a lot of portfolios, has to say about that:

“I’ve seen beautiful, neat, innovative work. I’ve seen designers experiment with interesting layouts, and wonderful site designs. But if I find myself lost — if I can’t navigate your site quickly and easily, I’m frustrated.”

A portfolio is not just about showing off your design skills in a visual way, but also in a very practical way by making it easy to see all you have to offer.

It is in your power to choose how much information the client will see. And also how much time it will take to find your work.

There are two main ways of how you can arrange your work. One is to have it in a separate section where you can view work independently. And the other is to set out selected work on the first page of the portfolio. Each of these options has their advantages. The main benefit is to acquire a lot of information in a short amount of time. Placing work in the opening page does exactly that.

Example 1: In this website of Gareth Strange you get an instant overview of his work. And if a particular work raises interest, then one click will show what is in there.  


Example 2: Here, our friend Kirils Kirasirovs is taking a different approach by breaking the rhythm of the grid.


Both of these layout styles serve the purpose of giving visual information in a short amount of time. And it is easy and quick to navigate through them. You can see and choose which one speaks to you.  

Example 3: In contrast to the first two web portfolios, here, the works are not visible on the opening page—you have to click down below to acquire more information. This approach gives central facts about the person first and by reading it you can decide whether or not you’re interested in seeing his work.


Tip #3: Use animated GIFs:

Did you know that you can use GIFs in your portfolio? Yes, you can create a GIF to personalize your work and make it alive. The main benefit of using a GIF is that it captures attention. GIFs have been out there on the Internet for quite a while. And they can be used for professional purposes, and not just for capturing funny cat fails.

Example 1: Illustrator Magoz has created his GIF, and he has used it as a moving illustration in the header of his portfolio. It draws attention by being colourful and geometrical.


Example 2: Visual artist Nina Adrjanczyk has used photos of a project all in one GIF. Simple and effective.


Example 3: Web designer Yuki Erqiudao has used animated GIFs to keep the focus on his abilities. They are self-explanatory and don’t require clicking on the work.


Now we want to challenge you to give another look at your portfolio. There is always something you can enhance or re-do. What about creating a GIF or two for your work section? Don’t hesitate and do it today. Good luck!

P.S. Just in case, if you’re wondering how to make a GIF, check out these simple tools. You can create a GIF right away, even on your phone. You don’t have to be a Photoshop expert. It is that easy.

Online tools:

Apps on your smartphone or tablet:
GIF Toaster

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Ilze Rutka

I'm a content writer for Berta CMS website builder.