With the design industry now more competitive than ever, it's vital that your design portfolio stands out from the crowd, My-Folios personalised portfolios specialise in doing just that, without the turn of a page.

So, our personalised portfolios get you noticed, but what's inside? Well, that's is up to you. This article gives a step-by-step outline of what to include in your design portfolio and how to highlight your best work so that your portfolio speaks volumes about the kind of designer you are.


1. Quality over quantity 

Keep it simple and show only your best work, we reccomend a maximum of 20-25 sleeves (40-50 sides).



2. concept to creation

 Your portfolio should illustrate your journey from design concept to creation, we've written a basic guide below:

Initial Concept: Moodboard/research. 

Research & Development: Highlights of design details through a variety of mediums such as sketches, collages, photography etc.

Colour Palette & Sampling:  Developing the key areas further with sampling and giving an indication of colour palette and materials.

Designs, including final design(s) : from a background in fashion design, this is where we would advise showcasing your fashion illustrations  of your line up.

Technical drawing(s) & Fabric(s): Recommend using Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD or a vector based programme to create these. These drawings should show all views of your final piece(s), you should be able to give this sheet to a professional maker allowing them to create your product with no verbal instructions.

Photography: Finish with a photoshoot of your final piece.



3. projects

As a graduate we would expect you to have two-three projects  in your portfolio, your Final Major Project utilising half of the page count, and the other two using half as much per project. These could include, your FMP, follow on collection and an industry led project. 


4. skills

So what have you learnt throughout your degree? Make a list and make sure your portfolio shows them all. Layer contrasting skills such as digital design, combined with illustration and photography to show your extensive and varied skills set.  



5. texture

From the texture of the printed pages to real fabric /material samples, keep your folio "lively and raw" by playing with texture.



Although do not have to make a new portfolio for each application we do recommend  adapting the pages to meet the criteria of the company and/or role. All of our portfolios allow for effortless page movement for this reason. Should the project that appears at the back of your folio suit the job application more, then bring it to the front. Should the employer not like the colour purple, then maybe don't make your project that features purple appear on the from few pages and just show the key pieces from the project that help support your application. Quality over quantity.  



7. let the mind breath

Approach every double spread as one page - they do sit next to each other and need to complement each other. Don't be afraid  of white space, it allows the mind to breath and digest your content. Your portfolio should be pretty self explanatory, as until you are at the interview you will not be able to guide the employer through. This said, should you wish to insert headers, key points and text to illustrate your journey, feel free. 


8. print vs. digital

Combine the two and work back in to your printed pages with hand rendered typography, illustrations, highlights etc to make your pages more 3D and full of character. It is imperative in this day and age to have an online portfolio either linking to a website or pdf to send through for job submissions - when at the interview make sure to take your print portfolio for your prospecting employer to revel through. 

my folio-sketchbook

9. sketchbooks

A lot of employers love to see your sketchbooks as this illustrates to them your off the cuff thought processes and overall attitude to the design process. Don't be shy, bring it along to your interview, once your portfolio has been presented, if they wish to see more then a sketchbook is a great  tool




Easier said then done for sure, but ... it's true. Us creatives are lucky enough to do what we love as our careers. That said, after your skills, experience and qualifications (all subjective) have been proven it all comes down to you as a person and how you will fit within the prospecting team (again, subjective) . Don't be disheartened by rejection, everything happens for a reason even if hard to digest at the time - if you feel like any employer would be lucky to have you then let that feeling shine on through!


We hope these 10 tips  help you to create a beautiful folio both inside and out! Please do tag us using #MYFOLIO in anything to do with portfolios, we would love to see and hear your story. 

After your folio is complete, please ensure the following:

  • LinkedIn: Update your profile so it's all singing all dancing - upload your projects and get recommendations from past employers/work experience if you can.
  • CV: Tripple check your CV for any typos and show it to your tutors and employers to gage their feedback - a strong CV makes all the difference.  Send your CV as a PDF not a Word file and if producing a graphic CV keep it simple and clean and create on Illustrator or InDesign, no Photoshop please! 
  • Cover Letter: Tailor your cover letter to each application and where possible find out the name of the addressee before applying. Don't be afraid to follow up with a courtesy call to ensure that the application has been received. There's a fine line between pushy and keen, but a simple phone call can go a long way. 
  • PDF Portfolio: When exporting your PDF portfolio, export as an interactive PDF with the resolution as 96dpi and the layout set to 'fit width' (if you portfolio is landscape orientation) or 'fit height' (if you portfolio is portrait orientation). This means that not only can you then hyperlink throughout your portfolio to guide the user through it also ensure that when the pdf is opened the full pages fit on the users screen. The 96 dpi ensures high resolution viewing, enhanced loading time and means it is not fit for high resolution print ing should it land in the wrong hands. 
  • Online Portfolio: Should you opt for an online portfolios rather than a pdf version to support your print portfolio then we recommend using Squarespace, they are friendly, easy to use and look pretty darn snazzy. 

Useful links: 

  • ArtsThread: "12 TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR PORTFOLIO STAND OUT" > https://www.artsthread.com/12-tips-making-portfolio-stand/
  • Creative Bloq: "DESIGN PORTFOLIO PERFECTION WITH THESE 10 TIPS"  http://www.creativebloq.com/inspiration/10-tips-for-a-killer-design-portfolio