Designers can create their own online portfolio in an instant. Create a website, upload your designs, and in a few clicks, you’re ready to share your creation with perspective clients and customers. It seems as if the days of professionally printing off your designs and preserving them in a folder for you to carry place-to-place has died out – or has it?
Technology and the rise of portable electronics has made some believe paper is dead. Instead of picking up a paper or hardback, people are now opting for the Kindle. The same goes for showcasing your artistic talents; writers, artists, designers, photographers and directors are buying domain names and using websites to showcase their capabilities. However, there’s a benefit of being both online and offline, whether that’s preferring the traditional look and feel of a novel, or appealing to an employer who would rather see your work in person. Here’s a guide to building an online and offline design portfolio.
Being online boasts a huge amount of benefits. For one, your online visibility will increase your chances of being noticed worldwide, and as a designer (whether that’s website, interior or children’s book illustrator) you want your work to be out there, and to capture the hearts of many. Like every other business, being online makes it easier for you to market yourself. You can sync up your social media where you write insightful and relevant messages; include a blog where you upload unbiased content that’ll help fellow designers; and constantly update your website with your latest designs.
A website also means you have an easy to find call of action; bettering your chances of finding and acquiring new clients. Staying offline limits your chances of being discovered, whereas an online platform makes it easier for someone to get into contact with you instantly. This limits the risk of someone finding you, say, via a magazine, only to lose the magazine and have no idea how to contact you.
When creating an online portfolio, ensure you domain name is simple and memorable; for example, use your name and occupation such as ‘johnsmithillustrator.com.’ You should also implement SEO into your website’s content; including keywords.
A traditional portfolio has a certain charm to it; one which an online website fails to achieve. Although being online means you can reach large volumes of people, you won’t want to show your website to an interviewer. Bringing your portfolio via a presentation folder will allow the interviewer to observe your designs and talent in person, rather than through an electronic screen. Holding your artwork is also much more powerful than having them scroll through a webpage. You will also be able to cater your designs to specific clients. However, that means you can bulk buy presentation folders from retailers such as Folder Printing, and adapt the content to cater to each genre, style and industry.
There are benefits to both an online and offline portfolio; especially for designs of all kind. Whereas the traditional paper portfolios offer charm and the opportunity for clients to old your artwork (therefore, implementing more of an impact), an online portfolio broadens your reach and scope, allowing you to market yourself while having a platform to showcase your talents. Ideally, having both an offline and online portfolio is more ideal than selecting one.