How to design a digital portfolio

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A digital portfolio is a powerful way to show a potential employer who you are and how much you’ve accomplished in your career so far. Read on for some tips and tricks to creating an eye-catching digital portfolio so that you’re prepared for any new opportunity that comes your way.

When an opportunity presents itself, you want to make sure that you are able to display all your professional accomplishments in a beautiful and digestible way. This is why having a digital portfolio ready for any occasion is important for career growth.

While many people assume that having a portfolio is only necessary for artists and designers, no matter what your trade, a portfolio is an effective and inexpensive way exhibit a holistic view of your skills, personality, and identity.

Before the internet, portfolios were more structured and needed to be submitted in a physical copy. However, in the digital age, creating an online portfolio can be as creative and interactive as you would like it, and can vary in formats from a website to an Instagram profile—or even both.

Whether you decide to show your work as a presentation in your next job interview or as a shareable e-document that you have on file, here are the best tips and tricks for creating an eye-catching digital portfolio of any kind.

Curate your best work

While it can be tempting to add all of your work into a portfolio, it’s important to remember its intent: To show how talented you are as quickly as possible. Start designing your portfolio by looking at all the work you’ve done, then choose your favorite pieces and the work you’ve gotten the most positive feedback for.

Next, diversify your options and choose examples that show a full range of your abilities. This way, the reader is able to see your adaptability and creativity.

Make your name or logo visible

Whether you have a logo, or just go by your personal name, creating a template that you can use throughout your portfolio provides a visual cue for the reader and reminds them whose work they are looking at.

Pawel Nolbert's designs are rich in visual imagery and color.

If you don’t have a logo, you can easily create one using Canva. Simply type Logo into the search bar and a blank canvas will appear. You can choose from thousands of logos in the side panel, or design your own logo(opens in a new tab or window) from scratch.

Using Canva 2.0 you can also export your logo as a transparent PNG(opens in a new tab or window), making it perfect for any background and format. You can learn more about logo-design basics here(opens in a new tab or window).

Make a lasting impression with animations

Chances are when you’re applying for a job, there are lots of other applicants who are also providing high-quality portfolios. However, with Canva 2.0, you can now ensure that your digital portfolio stands out by enlisting the help of our Animation feature.

Once you’ve created your design using Canva, click Publish. Next, a drop-down menu will appear. From there, click Animation. You are now able to choose how you would like to animate your design. Watch as your creation fades and rises across the screen—and all with one click. You can choose to export the file into an MP4 or GIF format.

Allow for easy navigation

When creating a portfolio, it’s important to help the viewer navigate through your work. Whether it’s creating clear direction tabs on your portfolio website(opens in a new tab or window), brief captions to provide some context behind your designs or a short and sweet introduction to your work, you want to invite them into the thought process behind your work.

Have a physical copy on hand

While the digital world is growing at a rapid pace, if you’re in a meeting, or have a face-to-face interview, having a physical copy of your portfolio shows that you are prepared. With Canva Print(opens in a new tab or window), once you’ve finished creating your design, you can get your design professionally printed and delivered to your door.

To do this, once you’ve finished your design simply press Publish. From there, you will be provided with various print options to suit your needs. Canva Print also allows you to choose the various finishes you would like your work printed in.

The homepage of Marleigh Culver's website easily shows off her work

Repurpose your design for other platforms

With the growth of social media comes the growth of professional social media profiles. These days, many designers, photographers, and artists create professional accounts to share their creations with the world.

With millions of users, using social media to market the work you’ve created is a great way to create new opportunities for yourself.

If you’re a Canva Pro(opens in a new tab or window) user, with our Magic Switch button, repurposing your portfolio for other platforms has never been easier. Once you’ve finished your design, click the Resize button at the top of your homepage.

From there, a drop-down menu will appear. This allows you to automatically resize in up to +20 dimensions. Whether you want to share your post on your Instagram grid or display it as a Facebook Cover, Magic Switch will save you time and energy when it comes to marketing your work.

Another easy way to repurpose your portfolio is to turn it into a website. If that seems like a big task, fear not. You can now create a sleek website with one click on Canva. Once you’ve finished your design, you can find Website in the Publish tab in the editor. From there, you can choose the layout of your website. These options include Classic navigation, scrolling, Presentation, and Standard.

Creating a website on Canva allows for your portfolio to be easily shared and displayed on many different platforms.

Ro And Co's Instagram account perfectly showcases a strong design portfolio

Include case studies for extra insight

Don't think of your portfolio as simply a collection of your past work. Instead, take it as an opportunity to tell a narrative of your career and your ability to think outside the box. A great way to do this is to write up a short case study(opens in a new tab or window) alongside a successful project you’ve worked on.

Often, case studies outline the obstacles before the project, the solution to the obstacle and how you were able to overcome that obstacle through your expertise.

Develop a seamless brand kit

Part of creating a portfolio is making sure you are providing the viewer with seamless transitions between all of your work. Brand kits are also a great way for you to have a clean visual aesthetic across all your social media and online platforms.

Fonts, colors, and logos play a significant role in revealing you or your brand’s identity to the audience. For a sleek digital portfolio (particularly if it’s in the form of a website) it’s important to choose the main colors, fonts, and images you’ll be working with.

Canva Pro users have access to Canva’s brand kit. This allows you to create and save all these assets in one place and allows for easy collaboration if you’re in a team.

For more design lessons, head over to our Learn blog(opens in a new tab or window).

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