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Submit Saturdays: Portfolio Design Tips

Words:

McLane Teitel

Welcome to Submit Saturdays, a year long series of articles in partnership with Squarespace. As a creative, your website is the shop window to your work and your approach. If you’re a designer, people want to see that you can think about design; and there are some simple things to remember that can make a good site great. Squarespace’s design team has provided its top tips for building a portfolio website below.

Tips for building a portfolio website:

01 — Put content first
When building a portfolio website, it’s important to let your content dictate your website’s design and not vice versa. As an example, a photographer may benefit from building a website that utilises bold, full-bleed imagery, while a blogger may prefer a website with a more magazine-style, grid-based layout.

The style, scale, and story behind your work should determine how your website comes to life. With so many template-based website options at our fingertips, you want a design that prioritises your content.

02 — Create an experience
If content comes first, then creating an experience for your audience is a close second. Deciding how you want to showcase your work—whether it’s through a project gallery or a seamless single page—can impact the way visitors interact with your work.

To help inform these kinds of decisions, take a holistic look at your body of work and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Explore a variety of templates. Experiment with different layout options. Does your portfolio focus on tall images? A long, vertical scroll might be for you. Is it a mix of media from video to interactive? A gallery might be the optimal choice. What looks best is important. But what works best is even more so.

03 — Obsess over details
It’s the little things that make a portfolio website stand out. When you create yours, keep in mind that smaller, well-considered styling choices can make as much of an impact as any image or illustration. From finding the right names for projects to choosing well-suited menu fonts, the little things add up in a big way.

Of course, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your portfolio’s look and feel. That’s why it’s important to note that the goal of every detail, no matter how minor, should be to enhance the work itself.

04 — Push your website’s limits
Your portfolio website ultimately serves as a showcase for your body of work. However, it can be much more than that. Learn more about your website’s capabilities and use them to your advantage.

Maybe you want to introduce yourself and your website with a Cover Page. Or perhaps you want to show people your life in real time by directly aggregating your social media feeds. Whatever it may be, your website is the centre of your online identity—so make sure it’s as multi-faceted as you.

05 — Tell your story
There are so many talented creative professionals out there, all with top-notch portfolio websites. That being said, how do you make yours stand out?

Start with highlighting your passion and personality with a memorable about page. Speak to your professional history and any personal experiences or interests that set you apart.

Another way to personalise your portfolio is to include passion projects—projects you’ve done outside of your immediate career, often for little to no compensation. Featuring passion projects can help emphasise your personal interests while enforcing the notion that your craft is more than a day job.

06 — Revisit and refine
As creatives, we are always developing our eye and honing our craft. With that in mind, it’s important to regularly visit and maintain your portfolio website. It’s always a good idea to revisit old work with fresh eyes. You’ll be more objective about what needs to be revamped, repurposed, or even removed altogether. This is a good thing. It’s a reminder that we are in a constant state of getting better at what we do.

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If you host your work on a Squarespace website and would like to be featured as part of this series of articles, please head here to learn more and get in touch.

In partnership with Squarespace

Squarespace is a creation tool enabling individuals to create a great website by giving them the tools to create an elegant solution and get their voice heard in the world of online publishing. Whether for experienced designers or for someone putting together their first website, it makes forming a beautiful platform simple.

If you’re not currently using Squarespace to host your site, the kind folks over there are offering It’s Nice That readers 10% off their services. Sign up here or upgrade your account using the discount code SUBMIT to get 10% off.