Making A Great Portfolio – Best Tips and Tutorials

May 11th, 2010 Posted in Web Design

In this article I will help you get the tools to create a great portfolio for yourself. No matter if you are a logo designer, web designer, illustrator, writer or photographer, you should have a portfolio. If this is made well it can help you a great deal in selling your work to potential clients.

Picture by Asif Akbar

In my opinion you should have both an online portfolio and one that you can carry around with you for meetings. The more time you invest into doing this properly, the more you can expect to get back from it in the end. This is why it’s important to never underestimate the power of a great portfolio. It can help you a lot!

Before you get started here are some things to consider;


– How you want to stand out?
– Show the variety of your work
– Keep it simple
– Give it a personal look that people remember
– Be creative, but not over the top
– Edit it well
– Keep it organized and easy to overview
– Update it regularly
– Included references if possible
– Mentioning ongoing projects can also be a good plan
– If you are just starting up, free or low price projects to get something in it can be an idea to have something to add to your portfolio
– Get opinions from others (ask friends or work relations)
– Remember to implement a version onto your website
– If possible, create a pdf and/or Cd version that can be mailed
– Add a dash of surprise if possible (use your creativity)

Once you’ve thought through these things and made your notes, it’s time to get started. Here is my suggestion on how to build up the content. Remember though, that this is just a suggestion and can be personalized to fit your wants and needs better.

The portfolio itself


– Write a short bio/resume/CV
– Include which tools you use (equipment, software and so on)
– A representative and good cover image
– A list of contents (easier to find things)
– If possible make smaller versions of some work that you can leave behind if the client wants
– Contact info/leave a business card. Also include Social Media profiles you may have


Here are some tutorials to get you started. I would suggest to start with the online version and then using elements from it in the pdf and “carry-around” version. This way you keep a red thread through what you do.

Ive chosen ten different tutorials to feature here hoping these can be the inspiration you need to make a portfolio using your own colors and elements. Don’t be afraid to play around with different backgrounds, textures and colors to give it that extra professional look that you would like. These tutorials are mainly using Photoshop which is a very common choice of software for both designers and photographers. Remember that different CMS’ could have a variety of themes that can be customized, so if you for example have WordPress – you should check out that option as well.

1. Sleek and modern portfolio layout

In this great tutorial from Graphpedia, you will learn how to make a sleek and modern portfolio layout. It’s clean and has an area for a sideshow of featured pieces if you would like to add that too.

2. Design a breath-taking portfolio layout

Another great tutorial from Grafpedia. This time a blue layout with a slightly more creative feel to it. Needed resources to get the exact same look are featured for download.

3. Design a Clean Portfolio Website Layout in Photoshop

Our Tuts provides this tutorial that gives a clean looking portfolio. This in-depth tutorial incorporates a slider to show your work along with Twitter integration,displaying your latest tweet and a social area with links.

4. Create a Professional Portfolio Design in 17 Easy Steps

This is a tutorial from using very basic techniques but still gives great results!

5. Create a grunge personal portfolio layout

Yet another one from Grafpedia. This time you will learn how to give your portfolio site a grungy look. Use your own brushes and patterns, or sign up for their VIP-account to get the exact ones used here.

6. Portfolio Web Layout #1 Tutorial

TutorialKit gives us this easy yet powerful black portfolio layout with a lot of room for adding extra elements if wanted.

7. Deep in Space Portfolio Layout Design in Photoshop

From DeviceFunction, a tutorial that brings your website/portfolio right into outer space. A cool look that can be used for many purposes. And the files can be downloaded for free!

8. Portfolio layout created with jeans texture

This is a great looking tutorial from Grafpedia using jeans texture. Obviously you can replace the jeans part with another texture of your choice. A very popular tutorial!

9. How To Build Your Own Single Page Portfolio Website

In this tutorial from SpoonGraphics we go a bit furter. You will learn to create a single page portfolio concept in Photoshop, constructing the page in XHTML/CSS and adding some fancy functionality with jQuery.

10. Design an Attractive One-Page Portfolio Using Photoshop

The final one of our ten tutorials this time, comes from . Another one page tutorial. It includ some brief biographical information, sample work, description of services, your latest tweets, links to social profiles, and a call to action.


Making a portfolio can be time-consuming business, but it’s fun and will give you a lot back. By following the tips in the beginning of this article along with the inspiration from the featured tutorials, you will come a long way. Make a plan before you start the work, choose content that show the variety of your work and put your soul into it. A client can quickly tell if you have a well-made portfolio and you could stand out from the competition if you do your things well. Good luck!

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8 Responses to “Making A Great Portfolio – Best Tips and Tutorials”

  1. Sumeet Chawla Says:

    Interesting post. I really like the way you have listed the important points before building a portfolio 🙂 May be you can write another post on how to promote your portfolio or something similar? 🙂

  2. Jordan Walker Says:

    Very nice concept for a clear and attractive portfolio.

  3. Chris Says:

    You should have taken your checklist more seriously: Edit well!

    “In this tutorial from SpoonGraphics we go a bit furter.”

    “How you want to stand out?”


  4. blackavalon Says:

    Interesting article, a portfolio should be unique like the artist, too.

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