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How to Create a Good Online Design Portfolio

We’ve had a few questions pop up recently on the topic of online design portfolios, so we thought we’d collate some of our top tips on how to create a great online portfolio website…


Why Create an Online Portfolio?

Having an online portfolio is gospel these days. Gone are the days of meeting with designers to see their physical portfolio, people want to quickly assess your talent and skill level before arranging a digital or physical meeting. With services such as Squarespace and WordPress (and dare we say, even Wix!) having lots of templates you can use and adapt, there really is no excuse for you not to have a digital portfolio.


Make it Clear Which Services You Offer

Clients coming to your site likely won’t know your history or your background, so you should make it clear what services you offer. If you offer multiple design services, make sure projects are clearly categorised and sectioned out to avoid confusion.

If you’re a website designer you might want the first headline on your website to read ‘Hi, I’m Ruby, and I design websites’ - it really is that basic. People have a short attention span online (and in general) so it’s best to make life as easy as possible for your users, and yourself!


Display Your Work Effectively

Depending on which creative industry you’re in will depend on how you showcase your work. If you’re a photographer, you’re going to want to showcase the photographs themselves.

If you’re a UI designer, then you’re going to want to show your designs in situ by mocking it up in an iPhone or a laptop. Similarly, if you’re wanting to showcase a print, perhaps you’d want to showcase it in a frame if it’s a print. This visually communicates to your audience the kind of design sector you offer.

It goes without saying that you should also use high res, high-quality images when showcasing your high-quality work! If your portfolio is pixelated, I can guarantee you will be losing clients.

As with any design exercise, consistency is key. Each of your designs will be unique (I hope!), so you need something to unify the way in which you display your designs.



Design with Your Dream Client in Mind

Do you know the target client that you’re trying to attract? It’s overwhelming the number of people who can’t answer that question or say they want to work with everyone. Everyone is not a target client.

If you’re stuck, create a mood board or Pinterest board with all of your dream clients on. Look at the style of design they use. Is there a common theme amongst them? If there is, use this to replicate their style in your portfolio. i.e. if all your dream clients use clean sans serif fonts and a neutral colour palette, then perhaps you could incorporate these elements into your portfolio.

When those clients land on your portfolio, they’ll be more likely to work with you as your visual style will align with theirs.


Don’t put anything you aren’t proud of on your online portfolio. Why would you want to showcase something you weren’t a little smug with? On top of that, never put anything you didn’t enjoy doing on your site. You will always have a lot more enthusiasm and passion for a job or project that you actually enjoyed doing, and that will show in your work.

— Ruby Lee, Founder Squarebase

You can copy and paste that template and change the necessary placeholders, this allows you to subtly hint at customers what you’d like them to mention in the review.

By adding reviews and testimonials, you will allow your clients to better understand the standard of your service, increase your credibility and help the customer build realistic expectations of your offerings.

And there we have it, three really easy ways to increase your conversion rate on your Squarespace website.


Introduce Yourself

People buy from people. Don’t forget to include a page on your portfolio which says a little bit about you! This is your space to talk about yourself and your achievements, as well as your career history, and don’t be afraid to big yourself up!

Use this page as an excuse to boast about any awards you may have won or been nominated for or any committees or groups that you’re a part of.


We have a great range of squarespace website kits with portfolio pages pre-built for you waiting for your amazing material, ready to take the plunge?

Our Portfolio-Focused Squarespace Template Kits

Our Folio Squarespace 7.1 Template Kit for Designers and Visual Creatives is fresh, sophisticated and fully customisable. We’ve designed it not to overpower your brand and to let your creative identity shine through. The hints of purposeful animation and minimalistic designs will show your future clients that you mean business.

Our Monos Squarespace 7.1 Photography Template Kit is modern, interactive and fully customisable. We’ve designed it specifically with your photos in mind; we've used simple monochromatic colours to allow our eyes to focus on your beautiful work rather than being distracted by bold colours.

Introducing 'Haus' – a sophisticated and editorial Squarespace 7.1 Template Kit tailored for architects. With a captivating photography-led portfolio layout, this luxurious architecture design website is perfect for showcasing your impressive building portfolio.


Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links to Squarespace. That means if you buy through my link, we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you.


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