May 30, 2016

Tips for Creating an Awesome Digital Portfolio

The first impression you make, counts. And for art students, and pros, a portfolio is a crucial first impression. It can make or break entry into art school, or an interview for that dream company.

We want to help you build a portfolio that makes a great first, second and third impression. So we asked the pros for their tips. Not just any pros, two people who graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design and are now considered some of the most influential people in their fields: Aaron Blaise and Nick Burch.

Nick Burch and Aaron Blaise, both graduates of Ringling College of Art and Design, know a thing or two about portfolios. Blaise leveraged his into a position at Disney. Burch used his to kick start a career with clients including the U.S. Navy, Verizon, the University of Florida, Ringling College of Art and 10Vox Entertainment.

Last time we asked these two for tips on creating a print portfolio. The tips were so clear and concise we knew we needed to get tips on creating a digital portfolio. Lucky for us, these two were up for more.

Tips on digital portfolios from Aaron Blaise and Nick Burch:

1. Include a logo
(or "brand" image) and tag line.

2. List your services
What skills are you great at?

3. Clearly and prominently display you contact info
Don’t make a potential employer/ client have to hunt to reach you. 

4. Have a call to action
What do you want them to do when they land on your site. Is it clear?

5. Put the emphasis on your work
Bio and personal details are less important. Your design should reflect this.

6. Make it easy to read and to navigate
Get feedback. If you have to explain it then it’s not working.

7. Let it express some of your personality
(but not too much) - Websites are a great place to communicate your personal style but try to keep it in check. (See #5)

8. Always consider your audience
Make potential clients/employers comfortable.

9. Make sure it is an easy-to-update format
If you cannot keep it up-to-date then leave dates off of it all together.

10. Only include your BEST content
A portfolio site is only as good as the worst image on it.

11. Include only professional testimonials and references

12. Include social networking links
But only if you behave professionally there (See #8).

13. Include a downloadable résumé

14. Categorize and tag your work.
This helps the user and the search engines.

Pitfalls to avoid:

1. Avoid Flash. - Unless you are an expert or it is absolutely necessary.

2. Don’t include many external links. - To other artists, etc… Would a business link to their competition?

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