Regardless of your niche in design, from jewellery to painting to graphic design to website design your portfolio online is one of the most important aspects of your business. Getting it right is one thing, getting is seen is quite another. As with all websites without promotion and marketing it is a store front people will walk past.
When you first start out online as an “artist” it can be quite daunting thinking about how to be seen through the crowd of other artists, in the same niche. But alas success is within reach, in 3 steps, you can ensure your portfolio is seen, admired and drives business.
Design, Develop & Deploy
Step 1 – Design a Killer Portfolio
As an artist you will naturally want to create the best portfolio around. Not just in your little niche but the best overall. This was certainly one of my aims when I redesigned my Website and Graphic Design portfolio earlier this year. So what are the minimum requirements for a “killer portfolio” website?
Examples Your Work (with case studies if applicable)
Your Skills (tell them what you can do, plain and simple)
Your Personality (don’t make the mistake of being bland, show your passion)
Your Style (the design itself should reflect your work and style)
Notice I say examples of your work. As a designer I’ve working with far to many companies to name or show my work. Show only your best work, things you are proud of – writing a case study should be simple – if its a painting explain what it shows and means to you, if its a website explain what work went into it etc. Creating a portfolio isn’t expensive or hard work – if money is an issue use a system like behance or deviantart they are free though not quite as professional, if you want higher quality use a professional web designer (like me)
Step 2 – Develop your arena
This section I will keep short and sweet, a subsequent post will list some ideas of places to do this. Basically this is about blatant self promotion. You have a high quality professional website, it’s time to back it up – join other artist based websites like deviant or folksy or coroflot show off your work on there but make sure each image you upload has your web address in a comment (and watermark the work). This is the development of your brand so again show only your best work, if you’ve other work you can show this too here but don’t show the same 50 pieces of work on 50 websites, show your best plus maybe a few other pieces of random work.
Note though that although these sites may offer you a chance to create a portfolio, such as behance, you dont want to do this – you simply want to show some of your work and point them to your real portfolio. This is why you should join lots of them, you dont have to do them all at this stage, but over a few months or a year maybe.
Step 3 – Deploy in a big way!
Now comes the bit that is likely the hard work for you – more so than creating the perfect portfolio website, promoting that website. But you’ve done a fair bit already by joining the creative communities online (like deviant) but now you need to engage with them, offer to write guest blog posts, comment on blogs about your niche, engage with users on social media (create a facebook page use twitter).
If you are wanting to gain work via your portfolio (not everyone does) then you could link to your LinkedIn profile, join other communities such as forums, read up about internet marketing (you already are by reading this blog), put it on your great business card – but most of all have fun doing it. Don’t be a stickler for detail just go out have fun and tell people they should take a look at your work.
Remember though – you never “complete” your portfolio polish it and polish it, add to it, take from it update it love it be it. your portfolio is your existence - never let it go.
If you know of any amazing portfolios let me know, in the next few weeks I’ll be publishing my top 10 inspirational portfolios from across the creative niches. If you have a great portfolio or know of one let me know! Leave a comment!