Categories: F.Y.I.

Creating A Portfolio

Creating a portfolio for the first time can be pretty scary. Identity is often presented in artwork which can make putting a portfolio together more stressful than it has ever been before. Of course, creating a portfolio online can be equally as intimidating as an entire world can question, critique, criticize and hate a piece of art entirely anonymously. It is very common to not feel like your pieces are good enough through this entire process. I encourage you to trust your instincts and rely on that beautiful design eye to showcase your work in the best way possible. While you are putting together your first portfolio or freshening up an old portfolio, consider the following few ideas before you begin.

A Portfolio As a Resume

A portfolio, in some ways, is like a resume. The point of both a resume and a portfolio is to highlight the best parts of yourself professionally. Instead of thinking of your portfolio as something that needs to be approved by others, simply create it the way you create your own art, by highlighting your most impressive talents. Pick out some of your favorite pieces you have made, and be sure to add them to your portfolio. When you choose photographs, designs, or projects, look for commonalities in the theme of the project or the colors represented in each. While the composition of your portfolio does not need to be focused on those pieces, it might give you something to go off in the creation of your portfolio.

Who Are You

Any good resume should show others who you are. Incorporating information about your passions, inspirations, identity, and so on is an excellent way for viewers to get a sense of who you are as a person and an artist. This might not be something you want on the first page of your portfolio, but it should be included in one way or another. Another way to exemplify this is through brief descriptions of the best projects you have created. These should be sectioned off and well organized in subcategories that are easy for viewers to navigate.

Thematic Beauty

As previously stated, consider the making of your portfolio an extension of the best parts of yourself. Your portfolio should have an immaculate theme presenting individual pieces of artwork. After picking out your best works of art that absolutely need to be incorporated into your portfolio, spend time thinking about a theme. There are hundreds of themes that can be looked over to guide you or inspire you in the right direction. Your portfolio can be loud and overwhelming with colors, images, fonts, descriptions, etc. Or it can follow a minimalist approach with only 1 or 2 fonts accompanied by short descriptions, limited colors usage, and clean lines. Keeping projects well sectioned within these themes is best to present your art. While creating subsections in your portfolio, note how long it takes users to get to an example of your art. It should be one of the first things they should see upon opening your portfolio.

The Attention Grabber

Your best piece should be the first piece of art users see. This piece of art should grab their attention and say, “pay attention to me because I’m worth looking at.” The portfolios’ theme should complement this piece best. If you have very loud pieces of art, consider a loud color in the background or a solid white or black. In this case, fit the scenery to complement the artwork as best as possible. Rely on your creativity and eye to tell you what needs to be where.

See Also

Additional Details

While you are putting this beautiful representation of yourself together, add other details to your portfolio as well. Highlight any social media appropriate to your art, accomplishments, critiques, or publications. While social media might be a focal point on your portfolio, ensure that the art remains the center of attention as that is likely the most crucial aspect of your portfolio. Highlighting additional details about yourself gives you more depth allowing people to perceive you more accurately. Of course, these accessory pieces should only be professional in content or remain out of your portfolio.

What to Kick Out

In making your portfolio, you will likely want to add pieces that are perhaps not your best or your worst. As a general rule of thumb, keep all pieces made in high school off your portfolio; they don’t need to be there anymore. If you are on the fence about something you have made in the past, leave it to the very end. Creating your portfolio with your best pieces should be your primary focus. If, in the future, you decide it will fit with the theme and add something extra to your portfolio, add it in. If you add it and it doesn’t seem to contribute much to the awesomeness of your portfolio, keep it out. Remember, this is something that is supposed to highlight the best pieces of yourself. Don’t dim your best pieces with something that is mediocre or outdated.

Things to Keep in Mind

The best parts of your creation now live within this portfolio. Be proud of what you have created, even if others critique it. Incorporate information, details, and characteristics of yourself through the entirety of your portfolio. Your portfolio should reflect your artistic style just as much as it represents you. Keep it consistent and clean. Add social media and a resume to the portfolio. This will help viewers stay focused on you instead of having to dig around for a printed or submitted resume or cover letter. Don’t be afraid to show off your best self. If it seems like a drastic theme, keep going with it. At the very least, it will make you more notable. Don’t be afraid to remove things that are not contributing to the overall look of the portfolio. If it’s a maybe, just get rid of it.

What elements did you implement into your portfolio? Is there anything else that should be added?
Kaylee Dellert

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