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How to Build a Face-Melting Portfolio

How-to guide on ways to get your portfolio ready for a portfolio review and for showcasing your work online by David Mahoney, Behance Scotland.

How-to guide on ways to get your portfolio ready for a portfolio review and for showcasing your work online by David Mahoney, Behance Scotland.

I have been invited by the lovely friends at Creative Edinburgh to write a short post on some ways to get your portfolio ready for a portfolio review and for showcasing your work online. I want to start with just why feedback from the industry is so valuable and why Behance reviews were set up

Portfolio Review Week was born of a simple wish: to bring our thriving online community into offline spaces, where creatives can sit side by side, sharing their work and developing their craft. These events provide invaluable exposure for creatives, as well as the chance to learn new tricks of the trade from their peers and our experienced guest speakers.

I have experience being the current lead behind Behance Portfolio reviews here in the city and having worked talked to those involved with reviewing portfolios the both founders of the Behance network other leaders in the creative industry I have begun to pull together some key tips in ensuring you deliver a killer face melter of a folio.

Your portfolio doesn't just stop at the projects inside it, think of the portfolio and the website space as an extension the work it showcases. Take time to craft a well designed website — not only will this keep your viewers around long enough but will also them the full extent of your creative arsenal if you need any ideas have look on the featured people on Behance who are killing it, a word of warning, make sure that the design of the website doesn’t distract from the work — but instead puts it to the top where it belongs. Furthermore the way in which you display the covers for each project also is extremely crucial Matias Corea Behance’s co-founder states that,

“Your cover doesn’t have to be an exact image from inside your project — you can custom design a cover if the project requires it. For example, maybe you just want to display text. Unify the look of your covers as much as possible.”

Here is some great examples of some great portfolios, look at how each person has crafted their covers to be similar in appearance or have opted to show a small preview that is interested enough to invite people to view each of their projects:




Don’t settle for less than doing the work you love. Showcase the work you want to get hired for, ensure that the types of work you are showcasing are the types of projects you would continue to explore wether that is personally or commercially. While we are on the subject of curation, think carefully about the projects you display and which order as the quality of your portfolio is only as good as your weakest project, it is important to just select your strongest body of work to display which may not just be your most recent but showcases the breath and precision of your skills.

Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest project

Back to the topic of story telling! Time to build your project. Start by introducing the body of work by writing a clear contextual introduction to your project explaining the nature of the project — when it was created and crediting the people who helped on the project make it clear about your involvement in the project. A nice method to introduce the project can be to have one final image of the project at the start, not only to show the final outcome but as an opportunity to showcase your process behind the work but it the will get the reader interested enough intrigue to stick around view the rest of the project. Try to demonstrate a wide range of skills throughout your project, whether that being with your initial sketch to behind the scenes screen grabs and photographs of you working how you document each stage of the process gives people an insight into how the work was created giving them an a glimpse into your creative process can also help for clients when it comes to understanding how you work, it is warned by many that while stylised angled photographs may look fancy don’t let it distract from the work your trying to showcase.

Don’t just list your previous clients, experience and awards try to tell a story. Have an origin story, think Iron Man superhero origin story, it can be as simple as describing your background your adventures and perhaps other people who have influenced your work or style. Explore about having a mission statement, and what clients and collaborators you are looking for to achieve your goal. Crafting a good story and sharing some personal information makes you approachable — your bio is space besides the creative body of work to talk about you as the creative coming across as approachable to make it easier for prospective clients to see you having a good working relationship together.

Don’t just list your previous clients, experience and awards try to tell a story.

Lets get technical, Firstly if you haven’t done so already, go register a domain name, not only is it a must for connecting with you online as far easier to reach than the free domain with your registered site host but you a domain straight away gives you more credibility as a creative! Ensure your portfolio and the website is constantly up to date ensuring your websites design and user experience is easy enough to navigate, as stated before ensure that your work at the surface and is easy to locate. With more people consuming content through their mobile devises on the go there will be an ever increasing importance and emphasis on ensuring your portfolio is mobile. Easy ways to see if your current portfolio is ready for mobile use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test!

Ensure your opening yourself to connection, make it really clear how people can reach out you on your portfolio. Think about adding a way for clients and your fan base to get in touch and ask questions. You can do this through a variety of form base contact forms which can be embedded onto your website and elevate spam. However the most straightforward way would be to establishing a quick contact email through your domain provider. I will also add that which method you choose to use, statistically ease in which a person can get in touch such as the forms by Wufoo and Jotform will increase the likelihood that someone will get in touch.

Connectivity doesn’t just stop with email. Allowing your clients and fans to stay in touch through social media, with past clients following my social media they are reminded of my latest work and latest client work that is featured on my agents website. It’s free marketing, what you might not have is the capital to create an advertisement campaign but what you do have is time and energy you can use to share your work and make connections to land your next gig. As Vaynerchuck puts it “jab, jab, jab, right hook” you want to ensure your delivering content (jabs) in the right context to those following to end up visiting your portfolio to then deliver the right hook you need to get the

next gig.

Behance Portfolio Reviews are a passion project that is really the blood sweat and tears of the Creative Edinburgh team and our reviewers. Who together help those brave enough to get the feedback and critique their work deserves. Winters coming and expect another BPR later this year at the Winter Behance Portfolio Reviews! You can find out more about BPR’s and Behance Scotland here.

Find out more about David Mahoney here. Follow him on Linkedin / idmahoney Twitter / @davidmahoney

Find out more about Behance Scotland here.

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