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Top Tips for Creating a Portfolio

By Daniela (Undergraduate Content Creator, Graphic Design BA)

Are you preparing to apply to a creative subject or looking for jobs in the creative industry? Then you most probably need a portfolio! A portfolio is a selection of your work to show the way you think and execute your ideas. Here are my top tips on how to ace and impress!  

1. Start and end with a bang

Your portfolio is a taster of you as a creative. ‘Framing’ your work can be a great way to ensure your very best is the most remembered. The first project someone looks at sets the tone for the rest of your book, and the last leaves the overall impression. Make sure both are some of your best pieces and are project you can talk about with pride and confidence, projects that have a story to tell.

2. Progress matters

Although there is a common misconception in the creative industries that the final outcome is what’s important, the process is most important. In order for universities or employers to assess your suitability, they need to know how your ideas came to you, why you decided to go ahead with them and all the decisions and thoughts that came along the way. Make sure to include lots of rough sketches and annotations so they can perceive you as the creative you are – thoughtful, conceptual and brimming with ideas!

3. Don’t overdesign

When you’re starting out as a creative, it can feel very enticing to design every inch of your presentation. However, understanding that the presentation is only the blank canvas for your beautiful work to sit in will help you to not overcomplicate it. Remember that it is your work that needs to shine, not the canvas you put it on.

4. K.I.S.S.!

Speaking of overcomplication, a framework often used in the creative industry is K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid! It helps us to step back from our work and look at it from a new perspective. It ensures readability, legibility and clarity of content. When in doubt, strip back any elements from your pages that don’t add value. Use clear language, beautiful images, and a legible typeface. Remember, having a clear presentation that lets the work speak for itself is what’s most important!

5. Show a variety

Remember to include a range of projects in your book to show adeptness and flexibility, but also that you can be a jack-of-all-trades. Show that you have dipped your toes in many creative waters and are ready to niche in an area you feel very passionate about. Don’t forget to also display some of your outside passions – do you paint in your spare time or do pottery? Revealing that your creativity comes in more forms than one can certainly help you make a case for yourself.


Portfolios are a vibrantly efficient way to show your skills off, so use it to your advantage! However you decide to craft your folio, remember to show your personality, your capabilities and your creativity. You got this! If you are considering applying for masters in a creative field, check out our top tips on applying for masters to make sure your portfolio shines bright. 


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