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Crafting a Standout Design Portfolio: Essential Elements and Tips for Success

Posted by Carolina Alpizar on 20/03/2023


When people think about applying for jobs, probably one of the first things they think of is their CV. Which makes sense. Ideally, all the basic information recruiters need to assess if the person could be a fit for the job should be in their CV; and should be presented in a clear and accessible way. However, for areas like design, it’s not only important for a recruiter to read about a designer’s experience but to also be able to see it to some degree. Which is why it’s important to also have a portfolio. To me, a portfolio provides a different perspective into a candidate that CVs are not often able to transmit and should essentially be seen as a tool that will make you, as a candidate, stand out from the crowd and show why your work should be selected for a specific role. Therefore, your portfolio should be able to showcase your best work and the steps taken for that work to come into fruition. 

The way in which a portfolio is crafted or even the information that it should have also depends on the role, previous experience, as well as differences of the industry from country to country. However, having seen various portfolios for some time now as a recruiter, I believe that there are very basic elements every portfolio should have regardless of specialisation or seniority. 

Contact details: 

Recruiters may very well have your contact information if it’s on your CV, however a portfolio is a good way to provide other contact details aside from email and phone number. It allows you to connect your portfolio to other social media platforms where more of your work is uploaded. So, recruiters or anyone looking at your portfolio are able to learn more about you and your work. 

An About-Me section: 

Again, sometimes this can be added into a CV but a very important thing of the portfolio is to showcase the designers personality and who they are. Therefore, an About Me section provides a nice introduction and almost humanises the portfolio. 

Your work:

The point of this, besides being able to show the work that you’ve done, is to also be able to showcase the process behind it. If you’re an experienced designer then you’ll probably be able to choose from several of the works you’ve done. For someone who’s just starting or is on a junior level, it is also possible to build a portfolio without any or little work experience. Courses and boot camps provide you with material that can then be shared to your portfolio, as well as opting for volunteer work in design, or participating in Hackathons. Any avenue that can allow you to demonstrate your skills will allow you to create a portfolio even if you have no work experience. 

Now, in regards to how to build your portfolio, this differs from designer to designer and each person’s preference. As I mentioned, a portfolio is a great way for designers to let their personality shine through and this can not only be observed in their work but in the way their portfolio is built. However, it’s important to understand that although a portfolio can be accessed by designers it can also be seen by recruiters or Talent Acquisition people who may not be fully in the know of all things design-related. So design-wise, I believe that it’s good to have a clear layout. If it’s an online portfolio there should be a homepage and an easily accessible menu to go to other sections of the portfolio. It’s also important to keep a consistent colour palette and typography that makes the information easy to read and understand while also being visually appealing. Adding pictures and visual elements that are able to show the design process of your work is essential however, be mindful of not creating too much clutter. In general, a good and eye-catching portfolio, especially if it’s online, not only has to be visually appealing and professional but should also be user friendly for the people who will navigate through it.

It’s also important to continue updating your portfolio from time to time. Not only when the job hunting process starts but because it can also be a good way to make sure that as a designer you’re keeping up with trends while also constantly showcasing your best work. 

Savant is informed by market research and has a specialised Digital Design team with extensive experience and expertise in UX/UI talent solutions. If you are looking to build or expand your Design and/or Development function, we can support you with the best talent in the industry with experts and market leading onboarding advice and consultation. To find out more about how we can assist you, please reach out to us at


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