What Employers Look For in a Design Portfolio

Eye-Catching Graphic Design Portfolios

It might not surprise you to learn that your portfolio speaks far more to your design capabilities than your resume. It’s the quickest way for employers to scope out your skills and determine if you’re the right fit for the role. Because the amount of designers entering the job market is expanding every day, most hiring managers only spend an average of two minutes on each portfolio before moving on to the next. That’s one more reason that you need to make sure your portfolio is a show-stopper worthy of additional consideration.


Designs That Solve Problems

Today, it’s not enough to have beautiful designs in your portfolio. Companies are looking for functional designs that act as solutions to existing problems in their industry. Whether you are a graphic designer or UI/UX designer, your designs need to be beautiful and functional. For example, how is the design being used to educate or inform consumers? How is it leading customers through specific pathways? Designs that make the user experience easier and more accessible will help establish your ability to effectively problem-solve and see bigger-picture objectives. Speak to how your work resolves these problems in each case study.

Follow The Design Process

Whether you’re a UI/UX or visual designer, there’s a specific design process and that process has been informed by user testing and research over the years. Every design requires research – of the industry, the business’ competition, and the users. Your portfolio should speak to the process, not just the final result. Make sure your portfolio walks the viewer through your creative process and how you use market research to drive your work.


References speak volumes. If you have previous clients, contact them and ask them if they’d be willing to write a review of your work that you can share on your site. Have them speak to your skills, your communication style, your work ethic, and what your work did for their business, etc. This can heighten your credibility and speak specifically to your working style, and give your next employer a better idea of who you are as a professional.

Show Your Range

Portfolios are an incredible way to show range and versatility in your designs. This means format, technique, and style. Put in the designs that highlight your specific style so companies can see your speciality. If you have them, include some additional designs that demonstrate your range – think creatively adventurous compared to your comfort zone. Include logos, This will show that you’re capable of taking on a variety of clients and working with a variety of styles.

Getting Your Design Portfolio Ready

When you are ready to look for jobs, have professors at CIAT look over your design portfolio and offer their feedback. Not quite sure if you have the examples to create a full portfolio? Luckily we have an incredible graphic design program at CIAT. You’ll be able to include projects that you’re proud of. Graphic design is an amazing field to get into, whether you want to freelance or find a full-time corporate position.