As a freelance graphic designer, your portfolio is your pride and joy. A well-built one showcases your design ability. It also reflects the way you think, your flexibility, and how you may work with potential clients and collaborators.
A portfolio should include details about your work and who you are. It should be customized for each potential client and highlight your expertise with a distinctive display. Avoid anything that doesn’t highlight your craft, isn’t related, and reveals your entire autobiography. Following these suggestions will help you grow your graphic design business and stand out from the million other designers applying for the same jobs.
The main things your portfolio needs to do are display your talent, demonstrate your fit for a particular role, and help people get in touch with you. Include a digestible format, social media with contact details, vivid examples of your specialty, and a personal touch.
You have options to choose from when deciding on the format of your portfolio. The most common formats for freelance graphic designers are PDFs or through website builders like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace. These options are easy to use and come with plenty of templates to use as starting points—but you’ll stand out more if you customize them to show off your skills. Once in tip-top shape, test out your presentation by sending it to a friend to ensure they can fully access it. The goal is to confirm it is easy to navigate without having to request access, download, or wait hours for a project to load.
Having a print portfolio is a good secondary option to have. It’s a format that some freelance graphic designers fail to consider. If you have an in-person interview, presenting an interviewer with a physical copy of your portfolio can leave a long-lasting impression.
For a simple format, include a small group of projects in your portfolio. Each one needs to speak boldly yet remain digestible—so no 40-part design sagas unless that’s the kind of project you’re applying for.
Leverage the power of social media for your graphic design portfolio to stay seen and relevant. It will give potential collaborators a chance to get to know you on a deeper level.
Adding platforms that are connected to your graphic design work can help your portfolio stand out. They will create brand awareness and show off your excellent work, leading you to become more dependable, noticeable, and devoted.
Incorporating social media offers a space for collaboration. In the process, you can receive feedback and grow a following who love and support what you do. Add social to brainstorm as well because graphic design is a fast-paced industry where change happens constantly. This will help you stay up to date and innovative in your designs.
Along with social media, provide a brief About Me section with contact information and a call to action to provide insight into your background. Write short, simple, and compelling copy that will attract people to want to work with you. Include your name, background, expertise, accomplishments, and what fuels you to create quality work. The last thing you want prospective clients to see is your contact information. Let that be at the end with your social media platforms, the point where they will be ready to speak with you directly.
Your specialty as a freelance graphic designer is a particular skill at which you excel. If you specialize in packaging graphic design, for example, the projects in your portfolio should reflect that talent. The goal is to always find ways to be striking. Be detailed and descriptive in order to prove what you have to offer.
When assessing your work, future clients are looking to identify your specialty. You will need to know how to clearly showcase what that is.
Take Alex Spenser, for example, whose specialty is packaging graphic design. Within that realm, he focuses on identity design for lifestyle and wellness brands, which speaks for itself in his portfolio.
Put your most relevant and powerful pieces at the front for clients to see. In the end, it all boils down to how your specialty can be of service to them.
Incorporating your unique character as a designer will give your portfolio a personal touch that will set it apart.
Use fonts, unique colors, and designs that show off your style. You’re in a creative role; here’s your chance to make a grand entrance. Kate Moross is one graphic designer who consistently emphasizes her personality through her work.
Kate Moross uses consistent, saturated colors in her artwork and designs. The vibrancy in her craft is what makes her memorable. When looking at her Instagram and Twitter platforms, you’ll find that her personal touch is there as well, with a consistent color scheme.
The work you include in your portfolio is just one way you demonstrate your unique style and skills.
To save time and energy for the people reviewing your portfolio, make it worth their while. Don’t make a potential client read a long, rambling block of text. The goal is not to put them to sleep but to grab their attention immediately. To increase the chances of that happening, remove the things that do not belong—information that can take away your shine, irrelevant work, and your entire life story.
Clients are looking for the best of the best—so make sure that’s how you come across. Highlight the pros over the cons. Prospective clients want to see what you are great at, not where you don’t excel.
Only your strong suits will win new business; no need to call attention to where you’re lacking. For example, a client looking at this image, where a designer visually explains their proficiency in several programming languages, will see the weaknesses stand out more than the strengths. If you know your strengths include CSS and HTML, show that and nothing else.
Relevant projects are current, they highlight your specialty, and they’re tailored to what each client is looking for. In other words, if you’re applying to design logos, don’t include a trove of website design work. From your best-graded project in your senior year of college to the most recognized piece you produced for a reputable brand, you may want to include it all. Save yourself and resist the temptation because clients are not going to have the time to dissect, nor will they care. Instead, present projects that fit what clients are seeking and can solve their problems.
If a client is specifically looking to hire a UX/UI freelance graphic designer, Marco Marino would be an ideal fit based on his portfolio. His projects are relevant because they only focus on two categories: web branding and UI/UX design.
Don’t fill your site with irrelevant content and fluff. Someone is looking at your portfolio to get a better understanding of what skills you can perform. Being specific is key, so take a second to think about what is relevant and leave out anything that is not. You have a limited amount of time to showcase your talent. Avoid including irrelevant work so that you make a good first impression.
Describe your style and what inspires you, but no one wants to read a memoir. Keep your About Me brief and let your projects speak for themselves.
Tom Parkes shows a great example of how to efficiently talk about yourself in your graphic design portfolio. No one needs to ask him what he does and who he is because it’s right there. You will know everything that you need to without unnecessary information. When you scroll down the main page of his site, each mission of the project is clearly explained and gets to the point.
Now that you know what you need (and don’t need) to include for your graphic design portfolio to stand out, make sure it stays that way. Create a habit of updating and polishing your portfolio regularly. Doing so will help you reflect on past projects, grow as a graphic designer, and identify what rates you should charge. You never know when another project may pop up, so stay ready.
With a sharp portfolio, you will likely obtain more business than ever before. Whether you’re transitioning from managing one client to two, five, or 10, our freelance project management tool will easily help you organize and work more efficiently.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?