Your portfolio is the clue to a potential client that you’re the right agency for them. If you were a retail store, your portfolio would be your window display, showcasing a snapshot of your style for anyone to browse, and acting as a teaser, inviting passersby inside to learn more.
Retail stores change their window displays every season, so why is it that so many design agencies create their portfolio once, and then forget about it? As a company and as designers, you’re always improving and refining, and an outdate portfolio that doesn’t reflect your current style will only end up costing you clients.
So how do you ensure your portfolio is always up-to-date? Here are a few tips:
Tip 1. Ask Your Team
We Are Branch with a beautiful portfolio.
Depending on the way your company is structured, you might not actually have all the details about different projects going through the shop. So before you start deciding which projects should be included, why not talk to your team?
You team are intimately involved with every detail of the brief, and they’re often monitoring the results of a project. They will be able to keep you informed of stand-out projects that would make a good addition to the company portfolio.
One cool idea is to have every member of your team choose a favourite project, and in their own words provide a short blurb next to the project explaining what they did. This would be a cool way to combine a portfolio and agency about page, especially on a website where space is at a premium.
Tip 2. Focus on Company Goals
What type of work do you want to become known for? Do you have a style you want to be famous for, or a type of project you want more of?
Look at your company goals and the areas you’d like to do more work in. Use your portfolio as a subtle marketing tool to showcase your expertise in these areas. Put the work that meshes with the strategic direction of the agency front and centre, so it’s the first entry potential clients see. For example, if you want to move away from graphic design and into game animation and apps, then put your game / app projects at the front of your portfolio.
Likewise, when looking at your company goals, now is the time to remove from your portfolio any types of work you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to create print brochures any more, don’t include any print brochures, even if they are exceptional.
Tip 3. Provide Context
Are you an agency who simply posts screenshots or images of your work on your site portfolio and leaves it at that? Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not helping your potential clients decide if your work is any good or not. You’re not being hired because you can create a pretty picture: the client wants an agency that can interpret a brief with clarity and imagination.
Use text, symbols and notes to briefly explain the brief of a project, and how your team have tackled that brief. If a particular campaign has yielded stunning results, it’s definitely good to mention those, too.
Tip 4. Use a Template
You’ll find plenty of great online portfolio tools. These simple apps will offer a template for creating a beautiful design portfolio. Templates can usually sit within your own website, and make it really easily to update with new projects. As soon as you sign off on a project, you can choose the best photographs, populate a couple of fields, and you’re done.
Tip 5. Offer Different Formats
One great tip is to offer your portfolio in multiple formats. You could have an online portfolio, which might have a wide range of work, and then a PDF downloadable portfolio, showcasing only 5-10 of your most relevant projects. You can also use this PDF file to print a copy of your portfolio for any client who needs it. Having a PDF download is useful to clients who need to take slides of your work to a meeting.
Tip 6. Add a Call-to-Action
A portfolio isn’t just a pretty virtual book of your work - it’s a marketing tool. And what do all good marketing tools do? They encourage action. So you need to include a call-to-action - a simple “like what you see? Call us to organise a free consultation” would work wonders.
Tip 7. Set a Date
Now that you’ve finally updated your portfolio, you don’t want to let it get out-of-date again. Set a regular “portfolio review” date - perhaps every 3-6 months - and review your portfolio to see if you have any work you’d like to add or remove.
Keeping your portfolio updated is one of those things in life that is much easier if it’s done a little bit often, instead of becoming a huge job you do every 5 years. Have you updated your portfolio recently? What do you do to stay on top of your portfolio?