Building a portfolio

Showcase your creative talent to potential employers

Across a range of creative, design and technical courses at the University of Portsmouth, a portfolio is likely to have been an essential part of your course. 

This guide will focus on portfolios for work-based applications - whether that be for an internship, placement or graduate role - and on portfolios for applications to further study courses or training.

The Role of Portfolios

So what is a portfolio? A portfolio is your sales brochure, selling not only your ideas but you as a potential employee. Portfolios have one key function, and that is to make you stand out from the crowd.

Portfolios provide you with an opportunity to display examples of your work, something that is difficult to get across on your CV alone. Through a portfolio you have the chance to showcase your personality and examples of your work, as well as specific interest areas of your design. 

Show your process of thinking 

The process of developing your ideas is just as important as the results you produce to employers so it is important not to just include examples of your final products in your portfolio but also to demonstrate the process of getting there. This provides companies with an idea of where your current experience and abilities sit and whether they have the resources to train and support you.

Creating visual impact

Regardless of your subject background, aesthetic considerations will be key. Therefore we would encourage you to consider the following when developing your portfolio:

  • The design and layout you choose, as this will be an indication of your creative skills. Ensure your portfolio has a consistent layout and a design background that does not detract from the content itself.
  • The quality of any photography, images, audio samples or textile swatches included as this will impact on the viewers engagement with your content. Aim for clear, professional photos and/or high quality renders.
  • Any image compression as the size of your content and accessibility will matter. Make sure digital file sizes are compressed to reduce any access issues when the employer is receiving your content via email. Follow any employer guidelines if these are made available to you.
  • The quality of binding for any physical portfolio(s) required as this gives a good indication of your creative abilities and organisational skills. Make sure your work is clearly laid out and easy to look through.
  • Create a narrative with your content, ensuring impact is created at the start of your portfolio and a lasting impression towards the end.To help explain your vision as you progress through your portfolio include tags and labels to help guide the reader through.
  • Although you want to ensure only your very best work is highlighted, consider using incomplete as well as finished examples of your work in your portfolio that help to demonstrate the process of your work.

What not to do 

Whilst this guide provides a lot of guidance on what to do when creating your portfolio, it is also important to consider what not to do and some key common mistakes to avoid. The following provides a summary of some of the main ones: 

  • Don’t leave it too late when putting together your portfolio as rushed work tends to be of poor quality. Instead, start building your portfolio in plenty of time, ensuring to update regularly as you progress through more projects and pieces of work. 
  • Have no clear intention for a page or section - ensure that every bit of information on your page has a purpose and sells your skills, experience and abilities in some way. 
  • Include bad quality images - This makes it difficult for employers to have a true impression of your work and see finer details. It also has a negative effect on the overall presentation of your portfolio compared to using a high-quality image. 
  • Use of borders around images - These can detract attention away from the content of the images within the frames. 
  • Change styles and themes on every page - Instead ensure there is a uniform or clear style that flows throughout your portfolio and draws your work together and remains consistent. 

Portfolios for work applications

When you are a student or graduate with a design or technical background, a portfolio will be just as important as the CV that is likely to accompany it.

Typically, work-based applications may require two slightly different versions of your portfolio - firstly an application portfolio, which is used to apply to a role; and secondly, a full design portfolio, which you may choose to show to hiring managers or recruiters at your interview.

  • Your application portfolio should be short, sharp and to the point; ideally tailored to each job application with relevant examples linked to the employer and/or the role you are applying to; include a limited number of carefully selected examples to showcase your full range of skills and adaptability; be visual. 
  • Your full portfolio should show your most recent and best work first; showcase the breadth of your work and skills; and focus on quality over quantity.

Please see further information below for subject/discipline specific areas.

In addition to accessing this advice, we would encourage you to access more specific portfolio support by contacting your personal tutor and/or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Photography 

A portfolio is an effective way to showcase your photography skills. It is useful to develop an online portfolio to email to potential employers or upload as part of a job application, but you may be asked to provide a physical copy when attending an interview.

Your photography portfolio can be an excellent place to demonstrate your particular photographic style. We would always recommend undertaking some research into the employer and tailoring the application you make to the skills and experience that the employer is looking for. For example, if you are creating a portfolio to support in working as a wedding photographer, you may wish to highlight any previous wedding images or portrait shots that you have taken. 

You will likely find that you have more than one application portfolio created, with each one tailored to a different style. This can help you to make a favourable impression with the employer or client. You could then present your full portfolio later if this is requested. Creating tailored portfolios will ensure that clients will only be looking at images which are targeted towards them, and won’t spend time sifting through photographs which don’t fit their needs.

It is important that your photography portfolio highlights the skills that you possess, as well as being composed of appealing or interesting images. Skills that you may wish to include could be:

  • Excellent composition
  • Experience with industry standard equipment
  • Interesting use of exposure
  • Creative use of lens length
  • A diverse range of subject matter. Varying the subject of your photos can keep the portfolio exciting while still showcasing a consistent style.
  • Any specific skills or requirements provided to you within a job description or brief from a client.

It is okay to include more than one image from the same shoot, but try to avoid images which are too similar. Try to consider if each photograph that you choose to include is impactful, or interesting to look at. A helpful way to achieve this could be asking your tutor for some feedback on the images you are considering including.

Ensure that all images included within your portfolio are of a high quality and resolution to best showcase your work. When printing your images, be sure to use high quality photos to ensure that the colours and detail of your images are preserved. Choosing between finishes such as gloss and matte will be a personal choice on your part depending on your own preferences and which you think your images look best on.

Adding annotations to your portfolio can be a useful way to give context to the reader, and to help them understand the narrative of your images. For example, if you include any photographs which were produced in response to a brief, a short explanation of this can help the employer to see how you have fulfilled this creatively.

Avoid having too many photographs in your portfolio, as a client or employer may find it overwhelming to look through hundreds of images. Aim to be selective when you choose which images to include, and look for those which you think are your strongest work. You may find it helpful to take what you consider to be your two best photographs and bookend the portfolio with these, so the client begins and ends the portfolio with the most favourable impression of your work. Don’t rely on these two images to do all of the work for you, however - every photograph included should be of an excellent quality and exemplify your personal style.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Art and Design

Competition for Art and Design based roles can be fierce, and many working within the sector do so on a freelance or self employed basis. Having a strong portfolio of work to show to potential employers or clients is vital to showcase your personal style and help you to stand out from the competition.

If you have studied an Art and Design based course at a higher education level then you likely have a wealth of images that you can draw on for your portfolio. Aim to be selective with the images that you include, and consider what your personal style is and which images best represent this. You may find it useful to aim to show off the breadth of skills that you possess within your portfolio by including images displaying different techniques (for example, digital art, painting, printing, etc). If you are creating images outside of a coursework context, this can be very beneficial as this can afford you scope to explore new concepts, styles and techniques without any guidelines or constraints. Your personal artwork is an excellent place to demonstrate the full breadth of your creativity, and your personal areas of interest. 

Conversely, including images that were created in response to a brief or an assignment can be a useful way to demonstrate to a client or employer that you can fulfil professional design requests that may be provided to you. You may find it useful to include a mixture of personal and academic work within your portfolio to address both skillsets.

Assembling an online portfolio is an excellent way to provide employers and clients with an overview of the highlights of your work. There are many online design resources available that you could use to host your portfolio, such as Behance and Dribbble, that you might consider using. Alternatively, you might consider hosting your own website to showcase your work. There are many things to consider when deciding what is best for you when creating your online portfolio. Hosting your work on an art website can put you in competition with other creators who are using the same platform, but it may also make your work easier for clients to come across when browsing than separating this out into an independent website.

Social media is another platform that you might consider using as a portfolio format. Creating and maintaining a professional presence on social media websites such as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook might be a less traditional way to host your work online, but by using features such as hashtags you can reach a potentially vast audience.

Some artists choose to host their work on more than one platform to maximise their outreach, and so it is important to conduct research into all platforms and reflect on which you think conveys the correct professional tone to match your brand, and which you feel most comfortable using. It is also worth bearing in mind that some online portfolio options will have a monetary cost, and so it is important to consider which options are also financially feasible for you.

Whatever you choose as the foundation for your online portfolio, it is important to ensure that all images that you upload are of a high quality. If you are including photos of work such as paintings, pottery, sculptures or any other medium which includes fine detail, you may find it beneficial to include a mixture of close up and wider images, and a range of angles if this more fully displays the complexity of your work.

It can also be effective to showcase a piece or design at several stages within the journey from conception to completion. Including your initial ideas and sketches can help to illustrate how your thoughts developed and potentially changed throughout the process, including your response to any challenges that might have arisen.

These considerations are also essential for a physical portfolio, which you may be asked to provide in a job interview or a meeting with a potential client. For a physical portfolio, presenting your work neatly in a high quality, well bound portfolio can give a favourable impression to the reader about your attention to detail and professionalism. A physical portfolio, within reason, can also give you scope to include some non 2-D materials, although it is important to consider whether the transportation and inclusion of such pieces would in any way compromise their integrity or presentation.

Including some annotations within your portfolio can be very effective to evidence and give further information to the reader. For example, if you are including any pieces which were produced in an academic context, giving a short overview of the title of the assignment or project brief allows the reader to view your work in context.

As you create more pieces of work throughout your career, it will be important to revisit your portfolio and consider which images best exemplify your work, and whether your personal style has developed and evolved, requiring your portfolio to be updated accordingly.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Computer Games, Web Design, and Digital Media

When applying for roles within the Computer Games, Web Design, and Digital Media sectors, a high quality portfolio of work can help you to stand out from other candidates and present your personal style. There are a wide range of skills that you can demonstrate within your CV, from modelling and concept art to prototype and finished games or websites. Employers will typically expect to see an online portfolio for roles within these sectors. 

As with many sectors, it is important to create a targeted portfolio for the employer and role that you are applying to. Ensure that you read over the job description or person specification carefully to ensure that you are familiar with what the employer is seeking in their ideal candidate, and look to demonstrate this within your portfolio. For example, a role which relies heavily on coding is unlikely to be obtained with a portfolio consisting only of concept art. Avoid crowding your portfolio with work which you think doesn’t fully convey your skill or which is irrelevant, and aim to keep it simple and striking.

Alongside your targeted portfolios for specific roles, you should also develop a portfolio which encapsulates both the breadth of your skills and your specific style. Don’t be afraid to put interesting or unusual things into your portfolio - you want to stand out from the crowd to employers! If you have a particular focus or aesthetic within your work, your non-targeted, broader portfolio should demonstrate this. This can also be very helpful for those interested in freelancing to show potential clients your range of skills and creativity, and generate interest in your work. 

All work included within any of your portfolios should be of a high and professional quality. You can include annotations about your work in a text, audio or video format to provide more detail to the viewer. You may also find it effective to include early concepts or versions of your games, websites, or other digital media to demonstrate how your ideas have developed over time. This can give you scope to discuss the different techniques, software, and skills which were used at each stage of development.

Choosing where to host your portfolio is an important consideration. Websites such as Artstation or Behance can expose your work to a wide range of potential clients and employers, but you may find yourself in competition with other Computer Games or Digital Media developers and artists who are also using the site. Alternatively, creating your own website can convey a professional tone and is dedicated solely to your work, but may be harder for potential audiences to find. 

Wherever you choose to present your portfolio, it is important to ensure that your contact details are obvious and accessible for potential employers and clients. Ensure that you are using a professional email address, and that both this and your contact telephone number are up to date and you are able to check these regularly.

Alongside your portfolio, you may wish to develop a professional social media presence to promote your work and reach wider audiences. Popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube can be used to connect with employers, clients, and the general public, and give you the opportunity to follow companies of interest to you and stay abreast of their news. Sharing visually appealing content such as designs, animations, or even clips of games or media you have created can be an effective way of generating conversation, and the more engagement you receive, the more visible your content is likely to be.

Additionally, using hashtags can improve your outreach and help your work to be seen by potential employers and clients. Try looking at other games developers, digital media artists, and website creators to see what hashtags they are using for ideas of which ones are effective. For Computer Games developers, using social media to share your work can also be extremely useful if you have an independent game which you are promoting and looking to market to a diverse audience.

For Computer Games developers, another consideration for boosting your online presence is self publishing games. This can be really effective in your portfolio to showcase your work to potential employers, as well as a way in which to generate revenue. Steam is a popular games platform which allows for self publication, or you might explore app stores as a means of distributing your work. It is important to consider all of the permissions and associated paperwork that come with self publishing your own content, and platforms will have their terms and conditions listed for you to read through so that you can make an informed decision.

Whatever options you choose for your portfolio, it is important that you demonstrate both your technical skills, with your particular software proficiencies clearly stated, and your creative flair. As your career progresses, it will be helpful to return to your portfolio and consider whether your personal style has changed since its conception, and update it accordingly to ensure that your portfolio is the most accurate reflection of your skills and style as it can be.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Architecture and Interior Architecture and Design

Architects will usually need to produce a portfolio in addition to a CV. A portfolio might be required in both hard copy and electronically so prepare both. In either case it should reinforce and be linked to your CV, although it should stand alone as a distinct piece of work in its own right. It is very important to use a clear layout and font, include only high quality work and use a good graphics layout programme to keep the file size light. Some recruiters will ask for the portfolio not to exceed a particular file size, typically no more than 5MB. A maximum permitted will frequently be quoted in job advertisements. 

Hard copy portfolios should, similarly, be clear and easy to understand, physically portable and produced to a high standard. A3 size is usually good.

Include a timeline that can act as a contents page. Curate the portfolio carefully, including work that shows evidence of a breadth of skills, especially those being sought by the recruiter. Think about work that covers the full range of architectural traditions, from initial concept sketches, site plans and axonometric views to cross sections, final visualisations and construction details.

When considering the number of images to include, the principle of ‘less is more’ is a useful guide to remember, as the collection will not need to contain a large number of pieces. If possible, include photos of hand drawings and physical models, in addition, very importantly, to evidence of software skills, to show a range of ability. It will bring an interesting variety to the portfolio.  

The material should be arranged in chronological order and be clearly annotated with a narrative of two or three bullet points so that the reader can easily follow the story. Try to include work that will be of particular interest for the type of practice you are considering; (for example, do they specialise in commercial, residential and so on.)

Try to focus on realised projects. These can come from your course or work experience and will bring added credibility to the portfolio.You are telling the story of your progress so far so the reader needs to understand the journey. Think carefully about what to include and ask for feedback.

As your career progresses, you will need to regularly update both your CV and your portfolio to reflect your professional journey as well as the skills and experience you have been gaining.

There is further advice in the guide Preparing your First Architecture Portfolio (PDF)

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Graphic Design and Illustration

Much of the advice concerning portfolio requirements for other design disciplines will apply in the case of graphic design. The need is for quality and clarity so remember to curate your best work, and show a wide breadth of skill. Choose the right platform to showcase your work and include a professional case study, or client recommendations.

Describe your creative process as well. Employers will probably want to know how you approach your work and work with ideas, any favourite genres, styles or designers, other influences and so on.  

As well as commercially relevant work, try to show some non-client work, or side projects as well in your portfolio.

The following points are a useful summary:

  • Select your best work, ensuring it shows breadth of skill
  • Choose the right online platform to showcase your work
  • Allow your personality to show through
  • Describe your creative process, succinctly
  • Consider including good quality side projects
  • Include recommendations from clients where possible.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Product design/technical portfolios 

The information and advice included below is largely focused on those students or graduates from the Faculty of Technology. This will include individuals looking to secure opportunities relating to product design and development, manufacturing, design engineering and/or some computer-based roles, especially web design/development. 

Showcasing your work is essential to any recruitment process and first impressions are vital, so an eye-catching portfolio or website that shows off your most impressive work is more likely to have a positive impact.

Remember, you are aiming to convince the employer and/or client of your ability to communicate visually - therefore, the format and presentation of your portfolio or website is equally as important as the content - even the best ideas presented badly will not impress. 

When designing and developing your portfolio or website, ensure you highlight:

  • The core skills you have for the role – clarify the premise and show how you can communicate and respond to actual briefs
  • Software skills - using work created via 2D or 3D CAD such as Photoshop, SketchBook Pro or SolidWorks for engineering/product design-based students or examples of web development, user interface design, application development and/or network management for computing-based students
  • Drawing skills - if relevant - demonstrated through observational and concept design sketches highlighting perspective, form, surface and detail
  • An ability to develop concepts through experimentation – show how you research and illustrate the journey including things like mood boards, colour palettes, sketches and renderings for product design and/or code samples, screenshots of a working programme or application, data representation or data structures for computing.
  • Problem-solving abilities - taking a design and/or software or hardware issue and showing how you reached a fully developed solution. For Product Design students this could include use of software such as Creo, Keyshot, Photoshop or Spaceclaim. For Computing students this could include use of Python, C or C++, HTML, CSS or Javascript.
  • Written elements such as project titles and concise descriptions of your work – writing is an essential tool for designers to develop critical and communication skills

Whilst your technical skills and your professional background will be evident from your accompanying CV, the portfolio itself allows employers to access and understand your innovative output in this area.

Therefore, ensure you evidence the process for each design through any captions or annotations, including the brief process and the creative and commercial outcomes of your work. This highlights the value you can bring to a role and will offer the opportunity to highlight your passion, innovation and creative problem solving when considering your projects.

Explore further information through our range of career guides available for technical/design-based students and graduates including: 

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Fashion

The fashion industry is competitive and your portfolio will need to contain your best and most recent work. A recruiter is unlikely to be interested in work you produced a long time ago. Make sure it is targeted; relevant for the sector you want to work in. For example, if you are applying for a job in fast fashion, you will need to show strong evidence of commercial understanding in your work. 

Your portfolio will need to be professional, engaging and accessible; easy to understand. It should have a clear page layout and thematic design. Avoid distracting backgrounds and include work that shows breadth of skill. 

It is also important to include evidence of ability to use certain types of software, especially any that have been identified as required for the job or internship.  

There is a distinction to be made between physical and online portfolios. It would be useful to have both and adapt the contents to suit each role that interests you.

For a physical portfolio all of the guidance above applies. It would be useful to buy a high quality binding, with cover, that will last, usually of A3 or A4 size.

As is very much the case for most other design professions, it is important for people seeking creative roles in the fashion world, to have an online presence and an online portfolio will be part of this.

Your fashion portfolio needs to contain clear sections such as:

Contact information (name, LinkedIn details and so on,) a brief section, summarising your experience and your academic and professional background. This is where the ‘elevator pitch’ idea is useful as you need to include short phrases that engage attention quickly.

The main contents of the portfolio will show evidence of work, broadly following the principles above. If using photographs, they will need to be high quality. 

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

Software Engineering

A portfolio can be an effective tool in your search for roles as a software engineer or when seeking roles which involve coding. This can provide the ability to demonstrate your skills to employers and showcase your ability and any notable projects you have worked on.

Software engineers and coders will most often opt for an online portfolio, which can provide interactivity for viewers and reflect your technical skills. You could opt to use a portfolio template, or create your own to exercise greater control over the format and demonstrate your capabilities. Another consideration for you will be whether you use a free hosting site or purchase a domain name, which can enable you to personalise the name to match your professional identity. You may find it helpful to view other software engineering portfolios to gain a sense of what you like, and what you think would go well in your own portfolio.

Aim to make your portfolio easy to navigate with clear headings and sections. Be sure to include your contact details in a prominent place, and make sure they are professional! An employer could potentially be put off by an informal or unprofessional email address or voicemail message, so double check your details to ensure they are conveying the correct tone.

Your portfolio should showcase projects which you have worked on, with annotations or explanations given regarding the particular skills utilised. Your University work can provide an excellent foundation for your portfolio, with additional independent projects included if you have undertaken any of these. You may find it effective to showcase both independent projects and collaborative work to demonstrate to employers your ability to work alone and as part of a team, both of which are excellent skills often sought after within the sector. However, when detailing group projects be sure to highlight your individual contribution so that the employer gains a full understanding of the skills you used and value you brought to the project.

Aim to include projects which best exemplify your skill set. You could consider detailing a project through several stages of development to demonstrate to an employer how you conceptualised and executed the project, including your responses to any setbacks or complications.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience.

Showreels for Film, TV, and Animation

A high quality showreel can show employers your skill and expertise, and are invaluable when pursuing a role in Film, TV, or Animation. Creating an effective showreel can help you stand out from other candidates and create a strong impression to support your application. 

When creating a showreel, aim to make it brief and impactful. Showreels are typically between one or two minutes long, although this isn’t necessarily a strict rule. Employers may have many showreels sent to them, and so it is important to make a strong impression as quickly as possible to grab their attention. Put your best work first within the reel to wow the viewer and encourage them to continue watching. 

Aim to target the reel towards the employer. To achieve this, you may find it beneficial to undertake some research into the employer and learn more about the company and what sort of content they are producing. You might find that you create a few different showreels to send to different employers, each highlighting different skills or content according to the role you are applying for.

Try to show some of your personality where possible to create a memorable impression on the employer, and aim to be entertaining. Employers might find themselves reflecting on a funny moment or a particularly emotive character, which can help you to stand out from the competition. However, be careful to make sure that everything within your showreel is professional and appropriate. 

Use your judgement to gauge whether each shot included in your showreel is of a high standard, and ask others for their feedback on the showreel. You may find that you have a gut instinct about a shot, or receive feedback that a shot is not representative of the quality of your work. Don’t be afraid to cut weaker or less relevant footage in order to ensure that your showreel is of the highest standard possible.

If you’re including collaborative work in the showreel, you can add brief annotations at the bottom clearly outlining what your personal contribution to the clip was. Be really clear about what was your contribution, and avoid taking any credit for the work of others. This can help to distinguish your work from others, particularly if the clip might appear in colleagues’ showreels, and avoid any potential reputational damage to you that could occur if an employer thought you were trying to pass off the work of others as your own.

Include a title card as part of your showreel which lists your name and contact details. If you have a current role within a company, you can also record this here as well. A simple title card can be effective, but if you have a professional logo you can include this here if you wish.

You may find it helpful to watch other peoples’ showreels to get a sense of what you like and don’t like. Viewing others’ showreels can also give you inspiration regarding the formatting and presentation of your work, and a sense of where you might wish to host your showreel. For example, you might consider whether most people working within your preferred sector choose YouTube or Vimeo to host their showreels, or if the standard is something different such as embedding a showreel on a personal website. 

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience.

Portfolios for further study

Depending on which course you are looking to study, some further education courses will require a portfolio as part of their application process. This may take the form of an online portfolio submission, a physical portfolio brought with you to an in person interview, or possibly a combination of the two.

The course you are applying to will likely have details on their website about any requirements that they have for portfolios, and what format they would like this to be submitted in. Frequently, there will also be additional information giving guidance on what should be included within the portfolio and what assessors are looking for. There may also be guidance regarding how long the portfolio should be. Usually, there will be an Admissions team who you can contact for clarification if the details available on the application process are limited.

You may also find it helpful to read over the course description carefully to see what modules will be covered, and consider whether you can highlight any skills which are relevant to the course. For example, if the course you are applying to involves animation and you have experience of animating images, you may wish to include this within your portfolio to support your application. Having an impression of what the course will entail can help you to decide which pieces of work will be most effective within the portfolio.

It can be beneficial to consider the narrative of your portfolio. You may wish to include early images such as sketches or drafts as well as finished pieces to show the reader how you conceptualised your piece, and how this may have changed or developed throughout the time you spent creating your work. You could consider including a contents page to help the admissions team navigate your portfolio, and giving each section a clear title can help to lend context to each piece. Including annotations or notes within your portfolio can also help to contextualise your work, and clearly explain your thoughts and ideas.

For physical items that you would include in your portfolio, such as garments for Fashion or Textiles related courses, we would advise that you photograph these and upload them to the online portfolio. You may find it useful to photograph your work from more than one angle to fully showcase it, and consider including close shots to show details that you particularly wish to highlight. 

If your portfolio includes links to websites or other information which is hosted online, embed these links into the portfolio so that the reader can click on them and be taken to the relevant page. Check your links carefully to ensure that they are in working order, and try to ensure that none of your work is hidden either by passwords or paywalls.

You may be asked during an interview to discuss or explain things within your portfolio. Ensure that you include pieces that you feel confident in discussing and that you consider to be of interest to the admissions staff or academics who may review it. For example, this might be an experimentation with a new technique, or a piece where the execution differs from your original concept. Aim to expand on the annotations which you have included to give further information if asked about your work.

For more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 

External resources

 

Below you will find a variety of external resources giving further guidance on portfolios, including advice on layout, contact, and targeting your portfolio towards prospective clients.

Creative portfolio resources

  • Prospects - a guide on putting together a creative portfolio
  • Adobe InDesign - Industry-leading layout and page design software for print and digital media, an essential tool allowing users to quickly share content and feedback
  • Instagram - A good source to connect with a large community of designers
  • Dribbble - A community of designers, offering the opportunity to search for and showcase design work
  • Behance - A site allowing you to showcase and discover the latest work from top online portfolios by creative professionals across industries

Technical portfolio resources

General resources

Further support

If you feel you would benefit from general information and advice around developing your portfolio, you have the opportunity to book in for a 40 minute appointment with one of our Careers Advisers by emailing us on careers@port.ac.uk or by calling us on 02392 842684. Alternatively, for more specific portfolio support, we would encourage you to contact your personal tutor or course tutors who will have more specific industry knowledge and experience. 


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