No two portfolios are the same or equal. Interior Design is an incredibly competitive field so the right portfolio could set you apart from the others. Here are 20 tips to kick your interior design portfolio into high gear.
1. Online Portfolio
Take the time to create an online portfolio, this will give you a versatile edge. An online portfolio or website link can be easily passed via email or printed on a business card. You can access your online portfolio from multiple devices. All of this will help you be flexible and avoid lugging a large hard copy around.
2. Web Platforms
Consider how you want to make your online portfolio before you make it. If you are tech-savvy and know code then go ahead and build your own website.
If you are not the techy type then feel free to use websites like Squarespace, WordPress, or Weebly. These platforms give you the tools you need to create a website without needing to know code.
3. Online File Name
Name your online file correctly. Do not name it online_portfoli. Name it Firstname_lastname_company.
4. Printed Portfolio
Even though technology and online portfolios are in high demand have a printed portfolio as well. You never know when you may come across a potential client who wants to see a hard copy. This gives a slight edge and makes you prepared for the eventuality that someone asks for a printed portfolio.
5. Right Program
Use the right program to make your hardcopy portfolio. Do not use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint! You are a designer for goodness sake. Use a design program such as Adobe InDesign.
6. Keep Fonts Simple
Keep your fonts simple. Do not go crazy with eight different type fonts and some of them being difficult to read. ‘Less is more’ is a popular saying for a reason. Keep things simple and easy to read. You do not want to have a potential client struggling to read the text you include in your portfolio.
7. Two Portfolios
Make two types of portfolios. I’m not talking about online vs hard copy here. Your first portfolio will be a teaser type portfolio. Keep it short, 5-10 pages only. Really customize the teaser to the potential job.
The second portfolio will be your main one. It will expand on your projects, skills, and other information. It would also be a good idea to have a documentation package for your potential clients to keep after meeting with you.
Make sure to balance your portfolio. Do not make it text heavy or just full of photos. You need to be able to give the right amount of information in a pinch. When you do have text make sure that it is short and sweet instead of rambling.
Ensure that every photo has a purpose. If you have a photo of a project that is only there to make your portfolio bigger or more impressive then it probably does not need to be there.
9. Aesthetics vs Usability
It is just as important to balance the looks of your portfolio with its usability. It will not matter how good your portfolio looks online or printed if it is really hard to find contact information, pricing, reviews, or photos of your projects.
After designing your portfolio it would be a good idea to have people test it. Ask friends, family, or other designers you know to go through your website or hard copy portfolio and give you notes on how user-friendly it was. You won’t be able to please every one of your testers, but you should be able to make your portfolio very efficient.
10. Target Audience
Before you pick your first photo or type the first word of your portfolio think about who your target audience is. Are you wanting to do mostly residential projects, restaurants, or commercial buildings? Once you narrow that down you will be able to customize your portfolio to the needs of your potential clients.
11. Personal Description
Include a short personal description of you, your work, and your work history. Be creative with this but keep it professional. This can act as a business card on your online portfolio.
12. Work Samples
Always include work samples! A picture is worth more than words when it comes to a design portfolio. Use a variety of work samples. Show before and after photos, AutoCAD layouts, and technical drawings.
13. Recent and Relevant
With every project, you showcase in your portfolio, make sure to use the most recent and relevant first. If you are making your portfolio in hopes of landing residential clients do not start it off with a restaurant.
Include in your portfolio a few stories of how projects went. Show the conception of the project, how it got started and how it ended. This can be done in both text and pictures.
15. Client Recommendations and Reviews
Include client recommendations and reviews in both your online and printed portfolio. Having these will give a potential client more information on how you work.
16. Professional photos
All photos must be professionally done. This does not mean that you have to hire a professional every time. You can hire a professional or have a friend or family member who does professional photography take pictures. Every time you finish a project have photos taken. You can add them later to your portfolio.
17. Project Information
Either underneath the photos, beside or on another page have the information about the project clearly shown. It does not have to a lot of information just have the important parts. Have the start and end date, location, and client’s directive. Keep it short and sweet.
Highlight any awards or certifications you have. Also, include any publication you may have had in interior design magazines.
19. Up to Date
Keep both your online and printed portfolio up to date. Go over your portfolios every year to year and a half. Take out projects that are old or no longer relevant and put in newer, more recent stuff you have done.
20. Sales Skills
This will require verbal sales skills as well as making sure your portfolios are top-notch. You will need to be able to showcase your creative skills and expertise. However, you will also need to be able to answer questions like, how will the client benefit from your work rather than another designer? What do you bring to the table? What are the client’s needs and how will you meet them?
This may seem like a lot to remember. But with all of these tips, you will be able to make an amazing portfolio.