When your life’s work is all about creating beautiful things, you need a way to show people the work you’ve done in the past. And for architects and designers, a portfolio provides one of the best ways to do this. But do you know the best way to display a portfolio?
Get More Visibility With Diverse Portfolios
While it’s true that our world is more connected than ever, you could also say it’s more fragmented than it’s ever been. In other words, with so many different mediums and modes of communication, you have to put yourself out there and be everywhere if you want to show off your work and generate new connections, clients, and projects.
You need more than one portfolio – you need a variety of portfolios that are shared and distributed across different platforms. Here are a few we highly recommend.
There’s nothing quite like holding a physical book in your hands. And though many architects and designers have moved away from printed portfolios in recent years, this is the precise reason why you should be using it.
A printed gallery-quality art book sets you apart. Few of your peers have one and it makes for a nice conversation piece. And if you print them in bulk, you may be surprised to learn that they’re rather cost-effective. This allows you to give them away (which makes a big statement).
When printing a book style portfolio, it’s helpful to adopt a lookbook approach and include a variety of content mediums – including written copy. This increases engagement with the book and gives it more lasting value.
Your website is your home base. You need your portfolio to be clearly accessible on every page of your site. Simplify all other elements so that they don’t become distractions. (You may even opt for your website to be the portfolio. One long scrolling page helps to seize and hold the attention of visitors.
Website Hosted Portfolios
In addition to putting a portfolio on your website, you can also use a number of “hosted” sites to display your work and reach people who will never find their way to your domain. Some good options include:
- Behance. This platform is all about showcasing creative work. It has numerous customization features that make it fun to use once you understand how the elements work together.
- Dribbble. This community of designers and creatives is useful for sharing work and getting inspired. If you have a paid account, you get access to features like projects, attachments, and statistics.
- Coroflot. With free unlimited storage, the Coroflot portfolio platform lets you share your work and connect with people in a place that’s reserved for creative individuals like yourself.
If you are applying for a job there are dozens of other website hosted portfolio platforms just like these. Take a day and upload your work to as many reputable ones as you can. This will have a compounding effect on your exposure.
Sometimes you just need a portfolio that you can quickly send to someone when they ask for your work. A PDF is useful because you can share it in an email or direct message without having to re-route the individual to another website or resource.
Driving Traffic to Your Portfolios
Having the right portfolios is great, but they’re ineffective without exposure. The real key is driving traffic to your portfolios so that you engage the right people. Here are a few big-picture pointers:
There’s no better way to humanize yourself as a professional than by utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Use this medium to generate awareness of your personal brand and drive traffic back to your portfolio.
An email list is something everyone should be building. When you build the right kind of list (think quality over quantity), you have a captive audience that you can disseminate targeted content to when the time is right.
Guest blogging is a technique that works really well. Pick publishing platforms and blogs that are relevant to your niche/audience and offer to write regular content for them. In return, you can negotiate a link back to your portfolio and/or include some of your work in the copy of the posts.
These are high-level concepts that you’ll need to flesh out further, but they should at least give you some ideas and direction. Leverage them over the coming weeks to generate more exposure and traction.