5 things Interior Designers need to create the ultimate portfolio
You’ve completed your education, you are up to speed with all the trends, you know your finishes inside out and you’ve got your suppliers lined up. Now all you need, is that one last thing that will make or break you as a designer: a client and the perfect portfolio!
As with an interview, the first thing that any potential client will want to see is your body of work, or your portfolio. This will show them not only your skill and experience, but also your style.
As a newbie to the design field, you might not have that much experience which is why it is crucial to put together the ultimate portfolio. Here are 5 steps to help you do just that, and get more clients!
How to create the Ultimate Portfolio:
1. Treat it like a project and do the proper planning
As a designer, you know that every project starts with careful planning and your portfolio is no different. Decide how you want it look and do some research to see what other people have done with theirs. Decide whether you’d like your portfolio to be digital or printed, but having both is often the best option.
Choose a simple format – A3 landscape works well – and a layout that you can use as a template for every page. Decide which fonts, colors and background textures you want to use to make the best possible impression and make sure that you work your logo into the page layout as well.
Keep it clean and simple so that the design doesn’t overpower your work.
2. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Have an opening page, with a short introduction of yourself, your company, work and design philosophy. This is the first impression that your client will have of you so make sure that it really captures the essence of your brand. Next, have a content page where you list which projects you will be showing.
Then start with your best work, which usually will also be your most recent work. As you build up more projects, you’ll start to see which really make the biggest impression on your clients. If you are a residential designer and you want to start specializing in kitchens, then show that. But also make sure that you include a variety of projects; you never know what exactly a new client is looking for and they might see something that they like in the most unexpected places!
Write a short introduction about each project: the name of the project, the client and the size of the property or room. Also give a short description of the brief and your design philosophy behind the work.
Here’s an example:
The client wanted a light-filled living room with warm textures and wood, incorporating their various artifacts from around the world. I took my inspiration from the African masks in their vast collection, and complimented it with tan leather, linen, course weaves and touches of ochre.
3. A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
Make sure that your pictures are clear, in focus and relevant. Resist the temptation to show 4 angles of the same room if a single image can get the message across. If you don’t have that much work to show yet, then do a quick mock-up at a friend or relative’s place or use drawings instead of pictures. You want to show all of your capabilities and strengths.
Also include images of your best mood boards and sample boards, as well as renders and sketches so that the client will have a clear idea of what they can expect from you.
4. Attention to detail
There are few things worse than going through all the trouble of building your portfolio, only to sit in a meeting and realizing that there is a big and very obvious spelling mistake somewhere.
Edit, double check, spell check and get someone else to read it through as well. Make sure that images align, that spacing on every page is equal and that there is a consistent look throughout.
The amount of attention you give to the little things in your portfolio can reveal a lot about your work ethic to a potential client. They will notice the meticulous detail and know that you will take the same care with their project. If you display carelessness however, they will expect the same of your work and might be reluctant to hire you.
5. Leave something behind
Whether your portfolio is digital or hard copy, always leave your client with a little reminder of who you are. People are very forgetful, so give them an A4 printout or an A5 card that has a collage of some of your best images, with your details on the back. For a digital copy, leave a disk, USB or email it to them. That way you will remain in their memory for longer.
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