How to Build a Portfolio From Scratch

How to Build a Portfolio from Scratch

Survival in the graphic design industry can be elusive if you don’t have a portfolio to show your work. Clients will in most cases want to have a look at your previous designs to gauge your competency and suitability of you doing them a great job. Without a portfolio, you will have nothing to show, and it will be tough to land a gig in this highly lucrative and equally skeptical industry.

The good news, however, is that it is possible to have a graphic design portfolio from scratch that you can use it to market your design services. This is ideal when you are new in the industry and still struggling to win new clients. It is also applicable when you have been in the industry for some time, but you need to attract high-end customers who will pay more for your services. Use the tips given below to build your graphic design portfolio from nothing.

Start with what you have

As a new designer interested in building a portfolio from scratch, you need not look further than to begin with yourself. Your main reason for building a portfolio is to market your design skills to get a stream of clients for continued work. Since you are essentially running businesses, start by creating various marketing materials for your business then display them on your online profile.

For instance, you can make business cards, logo, brochures, and marketing flyers for your graphic design business then tell people that you are the one who made them when displaying them on your profile. Though you may not have handled any paid projects, potential clients will see what you did for your brand if they are convinced, they may be interested in hiring your services. This is the easiest way to start building your graphic design portfolio from scratch.

Redesign other projects

Your aim here in building graphic design portfolio from scratch is to display your skills and what you can do when given a real assignment. To do this, redesign other works, adding in your unique design intuition to make such look fresh and unique. You can then display such redesigns on your website or portfolio to show to the potential clients. This won’t just expose your artistic prowess but also will speed up the process of building your graphic design portfolio from scratch.

Target poor designs and make them look great

The other way to hasten the process of building your graphic design portfolio from scratch is to target local business with poorly designed logos and other marketing materials. Make a list of such businesses and dedicate your time to making their designs look great. Once you finish, approach them and show them that you can improve on their designs and give them a better image to the clients.

If your work is good, most of them will be pleased and might consider hiring your services. With this approach, you will have chances of landing real clients while at the same time adding to your graphic design portfolio paid project you did to your customers.

Volunteer free services for the very first clients

Offering your services for free is another method you can use to create a graphic design portfolio from scratch. With this method, you agree to offer free services for a limited number of clients, especially those who come first or those who order multiple services. If you already have some cool designs in your portfolio, clients will be tempted to take in your offer of free design services.

Make perfect designs for these clients; add them to your portfolio. Besides this method helping you to create your graphic design portfolio from scratch, you will increase your chances of getting hired by the same clients if they are pleased with your work.

Consider Community involvement

The community is a great non-digital dimension you can use in building your graphic design portfolio from scratch. For instance, you can create a poster for your local meet up group or a church event or just about anything that will be taking place around you. Once done, all you have to do is to include the piece of work in your portfolio and make reference to the community activity. This is an awesome strategy if you are targeting local clients with your services.

Additionally, you may find other participants in the event who might be pleased wportfolioith your design and consider using your services for their marketing materials. These will be good clients for you since you are in the same group already; they will feel more comfortable in dealing with you as opposed to approaching new designers for their design works. When used wisely, community involvement can make building your graphic design on steroids due to the exposure the trust you can get.


Take some inspiration from these recognizable brands while building from scratch!

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