How To Make
a Graphic Design Portfolio

To Make Design Portfolio Stand Out

Ever wondered why few people get the clients more often than you. That’s because they know how to create a graphic design portfolio which can wow the clients.

The client wants to make sure he is putting his money in the right hands.

Now that you know why it’s important to have a great design portfolio, let’s take a look at the major factors (some of which are never discussed before) to win the clients.


Topic 1:

Design Portfolio:
Layout & Composition

In simpler terms, Design Portfolio is your summed up gallery of designs which you share with your clients in your initial meeting to let them know that they can trust you.

Would you hire a writer only by his word or would you like to see some of his writings first to decide for yourself if he is the right fit for you?

The same goes with logo design or any designing.

Numerous blogs start with the first point as “Make Sure To Include Your Best Work”.

But isn’t that something you already know?

Well as much as I appreciate the hard work you have done, unless the person who is reviewing your portfolio knows it, they will have an impression of you based on your design.

Having quality images in your portfolio will reflect your personality and the type of decisions you make in designing.

It shows if you see the broader picture for a brand while creating a logo for them.

So yes, it is true to include your finest work in your design portfolio. But you already know that.

Now the question is, how should you include that work?

This is where the grids come in. You might have seen various designs of online portfolios. 

Have you noticed the types of grid used in those portfolios?

Take a look.

3 Column Structure

See, right?

There are tons of ways to show your designs but you need to pick which one fits you.

I personally go with 3 columns when it comes to designing for two reasons:

  1. 2 columns make designs too zoomed in & on the face while giving a sense of incompleteness.
  2. More than 3 columns will limit your image size and thus asking the clients to click on every image for bigger picture. Having an additional step for clients might not be a good idea.

If your client likes the visual image then he might click it to view more details about it.

Instead, show the designs in a viewable resolution where the clients need not make any extra efforts.

NOTEMake sure to keep a steady flow from one design to another. Keeps your brand image strong.

Your individual logo designs should stand out alongside keeping the entire design portfolio connected as well. 

Topic 2:

How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio Tip 2:

Content Alignment

Have you ever noticed that people are interested to see behind the cameras scenes for their favorite shows or movies? I bet you do too.  This is one of the tips I give to my students on how to create a graphic design portfolio.

It may seem only for entertainment purpose but the reality is, people like to connect with their idols on mental front. 

Same principle applies in designing. Think of your design portfolio as an inspiration to others alongside a presentation of your work. Creative Bloq showcases few designers who has done the same thing.

There are two ways of showcasing your “Behind The Scenes”.

Include Images of Your Sketches

Davit Chanadiri

You have worked hard. You made several variations before picking the right logo design.

Why not showcase that hard work to clients. 

This does not mean that you need to put all of your variations in one picture. Giving the idea and showing multiple variations are two different scenarios.

You don’t want your clients to think that you will share these many variations with them as well. It will only increase your work.

TrickPick the final design you had for your former client and make slight modifications to it. So it will look the same but different. Look at the below sketch.

Include process workflow

Design follows specific workflow to the end result. Pick three points from that workflow and show it for each design.

Example: Digital Outline, Black&White Design, Final Logo

You may not have to follow the same pattern but pick your own unique style. The connection we talked in “Find Your Grid” above will stay intact with this strategy.


Quick Read: 

Check out some great designers and their portfolios on below blogs for some inspiration:

Hubspot (My favourite)
Medium (Must See)

These are some of our graphic design portfolios

Want to See more?

Topic 3:

Real-life Examples

Let’s understand this with one example.

Online shopping shows you tons of clothes. The focus are the clothes for any brand willing to sell.

Would you rather select the left option or the right in the picture below.


Right Option. Am I Correct?

Why do you think that happened?

It’s because physical appearance looks more promising than the standalone element.

Back to logo design portfolio, if your clients see only the logo design, they will not be able to connect with it unless they see the real life usage for it.

For instance, look at the below examples and see for yourself.

David Espinosa
Topic 4:

Out of the Box Thinking

You are a designer. 

A designer is someone who has a head filled with multiple thoughts and imaginations.
Be creative. Be expressive.

The best part of being a designer is, you get to choose how you want to express.

Always think out of the box and create something unique of your own.

Don’t just follow the trends but create them.

Above tips are shared with you to help you understand their objective. Try them out and add a little something of yourself in it to make it unique.


Thank you all for reading the blog.

Design portfolio is all about expressing yourself but with keeping in mind “How would you want it if you were a client”.

Don’t worry. I understand your inside designer will like it anyway. 

Create your design portfolio and show it to a non designer friend. Ask him or her about their unbiased opinion of it.

If you have to redo it then do it. And ask again. 

Let’s summarize quickly on how to create a graphic design portfolio:

  1. Firstly, Find Your Grid to show your quality designs. Remember quality over quantity. You may have only 4 designs of good quality out of 10 but that should do. Important part is how you show those 4 designs in a grid. Pick the right grid as mentioned above.
  2. Secondly, Right Way to Showcase your designs is to let your clients see “Behind the scenes” images. Make sure to include your sketches and right workflow points to impress your clients.
  3. Thirdly, Real Life Usage is very important to let your clients connect emotionally with your former designs. Ensure to use the real life usages of your designs in your portfolio.
  4. And Lastly, Think out of the box. I can not emphasize enough on this point. Designers have to go above and beyond to create something unique and to create a trend for others to follow. Hence you need to think out of the box to find your design.

Did I miss out on anything? Let me know if the information was too much or too less.

Now all the above tips can be applied on either digital or pdf design portfolio. It’s up to you which one do you want to go for.

Test Yourself.
Practice On A Sample File.