The design of your portfolio website will depend on what employers or clients expect to see in your industry. However, there are foundational design concepts that are important for any portfolio website design. We here at Digital Mark want to share our top three.
Tell the People What They Want to Know
When a user lands on your portfolio site, they do not want to dig around to find what they need. Design with them in mind. Tell them:
- Who you are
- Why you are qualified
- What examples you have that apply to them, illustrating the main problem, what you did to solve it, and how you transformed the business or organization
Once you tell the user what they need to know, you can consider how it looks to maximize that first impression.
- No harsh or tacky color combinations
- Simple and easy-to-read fonts
- Clean layout
- Graphics and images that relate to their business or organization
Speak Directly to Your Target Audience
You are not trying to get hired by everyone, right? Well, you shouldn’t be. If you haven’t already, build a persona based on your ideal client or employer—who they are, their values, the size of the organization, the work culture, hobbies and interests, their challenges and how you can solve them.
From there, you can design a portfolio website that appeals to them and makes them feel like you are talking right to them. Show them why they need YOU to help them overcome their biggest obstacles.
This can be the subtle way you use colors that appeal to them (i.e. greens and natural shades for an earth-conscious brand or quirky illustrations for a hip boutique) or the industry jargon you pepper in the copy (don’t overdo it).
Make It Interactive
You do not need a video game resume or professionally produced videos to engage your website viewers. Provide links to your real design and/or live sites. Viewers want to see your work in action to validate what you say about yourself.
Don’t have any client work to showcase yet? Then design the site to demonstrate how you work and what you could do for the prospect. If you are a designer, your site should look well-designed. If you are a virtual assistant, your page must prove that you have the skills a client needs, like an error-free copy, simple ways to contact you and knowledge of the industry. Create 2-3 mock projects if necessary. The key is selling the portfolio visitor that you can achieve the transformation they want most.
Our Projects page can give you an example of what portfolio design looks like for a design agency, but do some research in your industry and find inspiration from the portfolio website designs that connect with you.