ASK DN: What should I focus my portfolio on?

over 9 years ago from , UX Designer @ Bluebeam, Inc.

I'm currently in the process of redesigning my portfolio. As we web designer who's been working for nearly two years for a company I've acquired quite a bit of work to show from that. The problem is it's all for the same company, it doesn't really show a lot of variety, and while I could probably add a lot of content (Framework creation, style guidelines, entire website redesign) because the amount of work I've done is huge I don't know if it's compelling enough to just have one enormous project on my portfolio.

On the other hand I have a large variety of freelance projects that I've been doing on the side. They are mostly infographic/data visualization works I've done (Web related but mostly Illustration/layout work and not web design or development). I have a variety of work in this area though it doesn't show a lot of depth, they are mostly one offs I did for this or that company.

I feel like it's odd to have one large web project and a bunch of non-web projects in my portfolio. I'm a big fan of portfolios that focus on a single discipline like:




I don't feel like I can accomplish this with the projects I have though, as it'll just feel either empty or inconsistent.

What would you do in my situation?


  • Braden HammBraden Hamm, over 9 years ago

    Don't show everything, just pick the top 5 of what you think displays your work and creativity the most. Also make sure that they are also diverse. I had two designs for different clients that were very similar, and it raised unnecessary questions during interviews on a few occasions, pulling the focus away from what was important.

    When I decided to make the switch from front end to UX design, I changed my portfolio to reflect that. It worked well. It depends what type of designer you are, but having case studies with content that explains your decisions is very helpful.

    1 point
  • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, over 9 years ago

    Branden makes a very good suggestion when he says pick your top five from each category. On the organization side, on your portfolio page/section (you probably want to add some info about you, too) you should have the top level heading be something like "Portfolio" or "Work" and then have several subsections where you can place your top five from each categories. You say you have a lot of work, so break up your projects into main groups, such as web development, web design, infographics, graphic design, and interface design. If you feel you have a lot more than five good projects in one category, break up that category into two or three. A big portfolio isn't a bad thing, but you don't have to show every project you've done.

    Additionally, you may want to have a "Personal Favorites" section where you list your top five favorite project from all the fields, no matter what category they're from. This may also give you insight into what jobs you would like to get--if you find that two or three of the favorites are of the same type, you should probably pursue jobs in that field.

    0 points