What makes a good portofolio?


New Member
What kind of things should I add to my portofolio? Do I show my planning and sketches, behind the scenes and inspirations?
Say if I do illustration, motion graphics, 3D and logo design do I display them all or create sub categories?
Examples of good portofolios would be much appreciated :)


Staff member
What is the aim of the portfolio, is it to get work or is it to get into college/uni...


Active Member
Both really
OK; my (unsolicited) take would be…

I’d suggest concentrating getting into university and gearing your portfolio in that direction. That way, when you start looking for work, you will be qualified to do so.

At the moment, the market is flooded with unqualified young people who think being a ‘graphics designer’ (don’t get me started on that phrase) is a cool career. It is causing quite a problem and has created a raft of crowd-sourced sites (or rather, they have created this culture of ‘logo designers’ without a clue about what logos actually are, in context), which serve only to devalue the industry for both designers and clients, lowering expectations all round. For me, the quicker the industry is regulated – like most other professional service industries – the better. There should be a minimum education level (or an approved, ‘on the job’ trading programmes) to be able to practice.

it looks like you are wanting to go about it the right way. Stick at it. It’s the only way, to build a long-term, sustainable career where you can add value.

If you are not yet qualified, you are not yet in a position to be able to offer professional creative services, beyond the ‘making pretty graphics’ level, which is the problem with the industry as it stands. Too many kids out there ‘making pretty’ (or not so) and not actual, effective problem-solving solutions. There is so much more to it than ‘pretty’. It takes an accredited degree-level education (or equivalent professional training); and at least five years of experience to understand what’s needed.

It is worth it in the long term – and it can be a whole lot of fun (and hard work) getting there too.


Staff member
What kind of things should I add to my portofolio?
What is the aim of the portfolio, is it to get work or is it to get into college/uni...
Both really
Firstly - if you need to ask what makes a good portfolio - then you're not ready to start offering work.

Every single portfolio I put together for prospective clients is different. Tailored to their needs, showcasing what I think they do, what they do and what they can do better and how that translates into a positive experience for their user base and their clients and why it's better.

This took years to perfect. The spiel that goes with it. You're going into a business talking with people who know mostly nothing about design (in a lot of cases) and only thing that translates for these people is how much it costs and how much they will make - it's about £££

As such, all my proposals to companies are tailored. Some more heavily tailored than others.
Some are generic.

On that note. Get yourself a decent portfolio for college/uni.

What is on offer in the course? Does the Uni have any former students you can find, what is their work like? Can you do better?

Find out what topics are on the course.
illustration, motion graphics, 3D and logo design
If these are the topics then make a portfolio for these
A section on:
Your illustrations
- this can be just pure illustration - or sketches that you've transferred to and made better on the computer

Motion graphics
- you'll need a website or something to showcase this
- or you can create a story board of such to show the motion graphics and the work you put into it
(this would be my preferred)

Same as above

I'd showcase your logo designs with any sketches you prepared.
Usually I have:
- research
- sketches
- narrowed down to 6 options
- develop 3
-- (why those 3?)
- design 1 logo (why that logo?)

Your portfolio for uni should reflect your skills and how they are relevant to the course.