How to put together a great creative portfolio

No point being creative if nobody can see your work or figure out what you do. It is never too early to create an online presence to market yourself. Look at the platforms used by people you admire and want to emulate. Follow suit! .

Whatever channel you choose, make sure your online portfolio shows your creative work off in the best way possible.

Here are 8 Tips to Making a Great Portfolio

Start with a bang – put your strongest work first, not necessarily your latest – and then keep it up to date!

  1. Approach your portfolio as if you’re doing it for a client – be clear about your style, be consistent and take high quality photographs of printed work.
  2. Show your most unique and creative work and demonstrate variety and quality, not just your personal favourites. As for quantities - 10 is too few  – 20 too many.Taking a photo of artwork
  3. Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate. Check load times for images and make sure everything is functioning properly on every commonly used browser – and on mobile
  4. Instagram is a good way to showcase your work and your interest and involvement in exhibitions, events, conferences, shows. Just make sure you set up a professional account.
  5. Captions are important – write a short easy-to-follow description of each piece, including who it was for, main goal, challenges and successes (when appropriate). If it was a group project, explain your role.
  6. Google and observe the platforms used by artists/designers you admire - and follow suit.
  7. If you’re not sure what platform to use for your portfolio, try wix.com as it is a great starting platform for design and blogs etc.
  8. Use resources like Graphicburger to improve your online look and presentation of pdf files, magazine pages or posters for print projects

Don't forget to show your versatility


According to Jessica Pearless, art services agency owner and artist,  if you are a student or a new graduate it is really important to show your breadth of skills and creativity. How to do this?

If you want a single online portfolio or website, then set up tabs/pages for the various skill sets you offer eg, ART/CREATIVE WORK/DESIGN WORK.

Otherwise set up different portfolio platforms to show each skill area. It's fine to have a cross over of work on different platforms, but caption appropriately.


When applying for a specific job or contract make sure you -

  • Include pieces that reflect the particular medium you are highlighting
  • Include pieces that reflect the industry of the job advertised if you can
  • Showcase work that is relevant to what you’re applying for
  • Do ask for permission to use it if it’s owned by another company

More tips from Revolution Creative ….

And here’s a link to a great blogHow to Make the Perfect Design Portfolio’ written by Marshall Smith and published on Revolution Creative, a free online community platform for NZ creatives where you can set up your own online presence to promote your work and look for jobs. This reiterates many of the points previously made.

Compiled by Angela McCarthy drawing on experiences of Paragon Matter art services/ artist Jessica Peerless, AUT Internz employability manager Rachel Shareef and Revolution Creative.

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