Online Portfolios

Portfolios are an important asset to any art, design, or communications professional. Although art and design portfolios have traditionally been paper-based, the rise of the World Wide Web and widespread Internet access have made online portfolios a must-have for any designer, almost entirely supplanting physical portfolios except in specific industries.

Additionally, motion graphics such as video and animation are difficult to distribute in offline modes. Many computers and conference rooms today do not even have a CD or DVD drive to play videos, and rely on streaming video instead.

There are many issues to consider while developing a portfolio, including: your own visual and written style, what projects to include, the organization of those projects, and how to describe each project.


Portfolio Elements

There are countless resources online about how to design an online portfolio, sometimes with contradictory advice. For example...

...and many more articles with various numbers in their titles.

Regardless of the overall design and organization of your portfolio, each work you include — photos, illustrations, posters, videos, animations, etc. — should have its own page/profile with the following information:

  • Title of the project (not including the course name, the instructor's name, or anything like "Major Project #1")
  • The medium of the project: photomontage, vector illustration, video editing, etc.
  • Year produced (this can be included in the summary description if you prefer)
  • Images, one or more, as follows:
    • For bitmap/raster/Photoshop images: include 1 main image showing the entire work, and 1 or more smaller cropped "close up" images to highlight any parts you were particularly proud of.
    • For vector/Illustrator images: first you need to export your poster layout as a JPEG file, and then include 1 main image showing the entire work, and 1 or more smaller cropped "close up" images to highlight any parts you were particularly proud of.
    • For videos and animations: upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or another streaming service, and embed it here.
    • For web sites: include one or more screen shots of the site, not including your browser's buttons, URL bar, scroll bar, etc. If the site is still online, make sure you include a link to it!
    • If you have any useful sketches, wireframes, or other visual prep work, consider including those as well.
    • Include short captions to explain images.
  • A summary description of the project, as follows:
    • Each description must be 150 words or more.
    • Explain how the work was created and what it means. Consider summarizing the project/assignment, and then explaining how you successfully accomplished it.
    • Each description must use full sentences with proper grammar and punctuation.
    • You can adapt (or copy from) your project essays to create this description.

Your instructor may require you to put these online as part of your design projects. You are free to create these pages on any online service or web site, as long as each project is displayed on its own separate page, with each page containing the relevant material listed above (and only that). Specifically:


Portfolio Examples

There is a countless variety of portfolio examples online. Your instructor has a custom-designed portfolio, and all of the portfolio sites listed above provide examples of many other designers, artists, photographers, etc. Here are some examples from Behance: