Tips & Tricks for a Successful Online Portfolio

At Toptal we screen a lot of designers, so over time we have learned what goes into making a captivating and coherent portfolio. Each designer’s portfolio is like an introduction to an individual designer’s skill set and strengths and represents them to future employers, clients and other designers. It shows both past work, but also future direction. There are several things to keep in mind when building a portfolio, so here is the Toptal Guide of tips and common mistakes for portfolio design.

  1. Content Comes First

The main use of the portfolio is to present your design work. Thus, the content should inform the layout and composition of the document. Consider what kind of work you have, and how it might be best presented. A UX designer may require a series of animations to describe a set of actions, whereas the visual designer may prefer spreads of full images.

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The portfolio design itself is an opportunity to display your experiences and skills. However, excessive graphic flourishes shouldn’t impede the legibility of the content. Instead, consider how the backgrounds of your portfolio can augment or enhance your work. The use of similar colors as the content in the background will enhance the details of your project. Lighter content will stand out against dark backgrounds. Legibility is critical, so ensure that your portfolio can be experienced in any medium, and considers all accessibility issues such as color palettes and readability.

You should approach your portfolio in the same manner you would any project. What is the goal here? Present it in a way that makes sense to viewers who are not essentially visually savvy. Edit out projects that may be unnecessary. Your portfolio should essentially be a taster of what you can do, a preparation for the client of what to expect to see more of in the interview. The more efficiently that you can communicate who you are as a designer, the better.

  1. Consider Your Target Audience

A portfolio for a client should likely be different than a portfolio shown to a blog editor, or an art director. Your professional portfolio should always cater to your target audience. Edit it accordingly. If your client needs branding, then focus on your branding work. If your client needs UX Strategy than make sure to showcase your process.

Even from client to client, or project to project your portfolio will need tweaking. If you often float between several design disciplines, as many designers do, it would be useful to curate a print designer portfolio separately from a UX or visual design portfolio.

  1. Tell the Stories of Your Projects

As the design industry has evolved, so have our clients, and their appreciation for our expertise and what they hire us to do. Our process is often as interesting and important to share with them, as the final deliverables. Try to tell the story of your product backwards, from final end point through to the early stages of the design process. Share your sketches, your wireframes, your user journeys, user personas, and so on.

Showing your process allows the reader to understand how you think and work through problems. Consider this an additional opportunity to show that you have an efficient and scalable process.

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  1. Be Professional in Your Presentation

Attention to detail, both in textual and design content are important aspects of any visual presentation, so keep an eye on alignment, image compression, embedded fonts and other elements, as you would any project. The careful treatment of your portfolio should reflect how you will handle your client’s work.

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With any presentation, your choice of typeface will impact the impression you give, so do research the meaning behind a font family, and when in doubt, ask your typography savvy friends for advice.

  1. Words Are As Important As Work

Any designer should be able to discuss their projects as avidly as they can design them. Therefore your copywriting is essential. True, your work is the main draw of the portfolio – however the text, and how you write about your work can give viewers insight into your portfolio.

Not everyone who sees your work comes from a creative, or visual industry. Thus, the descriptive text that you provide for images is essential. At the earlier stages of a project, where UX is the main focus, often you will need to complement your process with clearly defined content, both visual diagrams, and textual explanation.

Text can also be important for providing the context of the project. Often much of your work is done in the background, so why not present it somehow? What was the brief, how did the project come about?

Avoid These Common Mistakes

The culture of the portfolio networks like Behance or Dribble have cultivated many bad habits and trends in portfolio design. A popular trend is the perspective view of a product on a device. However, these images often do little to effectively represent the project, and hide details and content. Clients need to see what you have worked on before, with the most logical visualisation possible. Showcasing your products in a frontal view, with an “above the fold” approach often makes more sense to the non-visual user. Usually, the best web pages and other digital content are presented with no scrolling required. Avoid sending your website portfolio as one long strip, as this is only appropriate for communicating with developers.

Ensure that you cover the bases on all portfolio formats. Today it is expected for you to have an online presence, however some clients prefer that you send a classic A4 or US letterhead sized PDF. You need to have the content ready for any type of presentation.

Try to use a consistent presentation style and content throughout the projects in your portfolio. Differentiate each project with simple solutions like different coloured backgrounds, or textures, yet within the same language.

This article is originally posted here.

Getting Your #Business #Online: 5 Key Steps

In this day and age, it has never been so important to get your business online. Once you get an online presence, you will find that it is much easier to attract new customers and clients. Everyone else is online so you should be as well. Otherwise, your potential new customers may not even hear about yours. But there is so much more to being online than attracting new people to your business. Want to get online? Here’s how it’s done.

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Set Up A Website

First things first, you should make a website for your business. This will be what people will use to find out crucial information about your company. Things like contact details and the kinds of services and products that you provide. You also need a website so that people looking for your kinds of services on Google will stumble across your site.

Think About Marketing

You also need to consider online marketing. Marketing on the internet can help to expand your business’s reach to get to more people. There are various ways you can go about marketing online. One common way companies market is to buy advertising space on popular blogs. There are many other types of online marketing. One kind, social media marketing, brings me nicely onto my next point.

Social Media

It is crucial that you create profiles on all the main social media platforms for your company. This gives your clients and customers the chance to keep up to date with your latest news. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to interact with your customers. While you are on social media, you should be pushing your online content. Try to make each tweet and post very shareable. That way, there is a good chance that it will be shared many times and might even go viral.

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Company Blog

You need to ensure that you have plenty of fresh and new content you can regularly share with the world. The best way to do that is to create a company blog. You should post weekly blog posts that are relevant to your company and industry. Make sure that you ensure they are SEO ready. That means you need to include lots of keywords in the post that Google will pick up on. That way, it will rank highly in Google searches.

Newsletters

Newsletters are a very big deal right now. Every company sends them out to their client base. Whenever you make a sale, take the customer’s email address from them and add it to your newsletter contact list. Then, either once a week or once a month, you should send out your mail to all your subscribers. It’s a great way to keep your customer base up to date with all your current news and the latest developments in your industry. You can also use your newsletter as a way to inform customers about any new products or services that you start to offer.

Hopefully, this guide will help you get your business online and start to make more money!

This is What You Need to do to Make Your Business Amazing

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When you run and support your own business, you need to look at how you can improve it. It’s important that you do whatever you can to enhance and advance your company. The idea is to get to a stage where the business can blossom naturally and achieve success as easily as possible. Now, there are a lot of things you need to do to achieve this. It’s just a case of coming up with as many different ideas and techniques as possible. Take a look at the following points that you can use to make your business amazing. These are all important and essential steps for entrepreneur ears to take. So use them as much as you can, and help get the brand to the place you want it to be.

Make Sure You Can Support It

You’ve got to make sure you can support your business as much as possible. There are a lot of things you’ll have to account for when you think about this. Running a company is very expensive, and you’re going to have to take care of all of this yourself. So, you need to come up with ways of helping you bankroll the company. Hopefully, you’ve been sensible and saved some money for such an event. However, you may well need financial support anyway. Applying for a business loan is one of the best ways of getting the financial injection you need. Make sure you are meticulous in your application and that your business can afford to be borrowing money.

Spend Time Making the Office Great

If you think about all the things an entrepreneur needs to start a business, you’ll find that an office is up there. It’s so important to make sure you have a great office environment. This can be essential for productivity, comfort, and improving your working life. So, you need to spend as much time as you can making the office great. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a home office or your place of business, it needs to look awesome and be functional. There are a lot of things you have to look at and address when it comes to making the office better. Consider the benefits of layout, lighting, equipment, and size. Making the office great may seem like a bit of a luxury, but it’s actually more important than you might think.

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Team Building

It’s crucial that you develop the best team of workers you possibly can. And that’s why team building is so important for modern companies. You have to do as much as you possibly can help build a strong staff base. There are a lot of reasons why you need to build a strong and successful team. The better your team of workers is the more they will produce for you. Positive morale is one of the best things to enhance productivity. So, you have got to come up with ways of focusing on team building. This could be through corporate events, weekends away, or staff nights out. Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure you are working toward building a strong team of workers.

Network

You must never forget how important it is to network as much as possible. No matter how established your business might be, you still need to make sure you network. It’s always important to build contacts and increase your client base. And this is something that you will work toward through networking. The good news is that this is much easier nowadays because of the internet, and social media. So, the best thing you can do is come up with different ways of networking. You never know what opportunities may arise to help you build connections. So, you always need to be looking for ways of networking the business in the strongest possible way.

Rebrand

There will be points when it becomes necessary to rebrand areas of the business. You need to be aware of the fact that sometimes your company and products will need a rebrand. This might just be to give everything a facelift after a long period of time. But, it might be because you are trying to dip your toes in the waters of the foreign market. There’s always a risk that the business branding may not translate well in another language or culture. So, rebranding the company is always something you need to consider. It’s an excellent way of making the business better and improving your chances of success.

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Go International

Eventually, you will want to see your business grow into a well-known and respected brand. And the best way of doing this is to take the company international. You’ve made a success of yourself in your own country, and now it’s time for the next step. It’s time for the business to achieve global recognition. So, you have got to come up with the best possible way of doing this. It might be a case of rebranding even more. You may need to travel out there for business meetings to develop client relationships. Also, hiring foreign employees is a good way of helping to facilitate this change too.

Use all Sorts of Marketing

You should always be looking for ways of driving the brand forward as much as possible. It’s crucial that you do whatever you can to promote and advertise yourself in the best possible way. And, you need to make sure you use lots of different marketing strategies to help you achieve that. You should visit SEO ClickMedia to find a great digital marketing company. It’s also important to make sure you use an array of different marketing methods. Things like radio, television, and word of mouth are just as important as social media. Try to have as many great marketing methods as you possibly can.

Reputation

You’ve got to understand how important it is to have a great reputation in the business world. It’s crucial that you build, maintain and preserve the best possible reputation for your company. That’s because you have to understand that people judge you on reputation. A reputation can take years to build but seconds to tear down and destroy. So you have to make the right decisions and do sensible things with your reputation in mind. It’s important that you build a positive rep so that clients respond to your business in the right way. Always keep in mind how important it is to have the best possible reputation.

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Be Reliable

It’s essential that you make sure you are reliable and dependable as a company. People hold this in very high regard these days. You have to make sure you are the business that can be relied upon. Customers want the best service and quality possible. They are spending their hard-earned money, and they want to be sure they are getting the best possible deal. You already know the importance of having a strong reputation. And you need to develop a reputation as someone who is reliable and can provide customers with exactly what they want. This is the best way of ensuring you get the best possible attention and success you can.

Luxury

If you’re serious about making your company better, you should try to embrace the luxury market. This means making changes to try to make the business a bit more high-end. You could target a different class of customers and try to make sure your products are as awesome as possible. There are a lot of benefits of getting into the luxury market. For one thing, it’s good to increase your profit margins, and become more diverse. But, you also need to remember that you will be judged more intensively in the luxury market. So you really have to go out of your way to make sure your products and services are the best quality they can possibly be.

Focus on Customer Service

You need to remember how important customers are when it comes to business. They need to be your principal focus because they are what help your business grow. And that’s why customer service is so important for companies. This is something you really need to focus on and make sure you get right. It’s important that you realize that your clients are going to judge you on the level of service you provide them with. So, you have to make sure you are focused on making the customer experience a good one. Make sure you train all your staff to prioritize customer service as much as possible.

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Making your business amazing should be the principal focus of any entrepreneur. You need to try to make changes that will improve the company as much as possible. And, there are a lot of things you can do that will help you achieve this. It’s important that you take steps to try and make your business as awesome as you can. Use the ideas and suggestions on this post to help you do that. You’ll set the company up well for a successful and fruitful future.

See your office in a new light: How light affects productivity and mood

You can’t do your work at the office without light—right? But the wrong kind of light can be a miserable work-day experience.

Most offices across the country offer too much of the wrong type of light. That’s leading to employees who suffer after-effects that are small and big. Productivity can be adversely affected, as can physical well-being—headaches and eye strain to name just two symptoms.

The light might be wrong in a number of ways—source, color, and intensity, for example. It might be creating glare, which makes it more difficult to work on a computer. It also might be affecting how alert employees are. But light, like many other things, can be fixed—oftentimes with simpler-than-you-think solutions. This graphic offers ways to get started.

 

Five Things Every #Entrepreneur Needs To Start A #Business

If you fancy yourself an entrepreneur, you need more than just a willingness to start a business. You need to be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. That means building a few skills and learning aspects of running a business. In this article, we’re going to look at the kind of things you need to be learning. What really separates the entrepreneurs from the daydreamers.

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A plan

The very first thing you’re going to need to start getting a hand on is the plan of the business. You can’t just wing it and expect a business to succeed. You need to understand how much money you need, where it goes and how much you need to get back. You need to have a direction to point in when you’re making the hard decisions. You also need it to win over people for things like funding.

Finances

Yes, a lot of potential sources of your capital want to know that you have the plan to succeed. Otherwise, why would they trust you with their money? When you do have the plan, then you need to acquire the capital. Entrepreneurs always need to be looking out for sources of capital. Whether it’s from banks or sites like www.capitalformerchants.com. Know your options and keep an eye out even when you have the money you need for now.

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The team

You shouldn’t be going it alone, either. An expert entrepreneur has a range of talents and knowledge from multiple schools of business. You need the creative thinkers, the detail-oriented and the deadline pushers. You need people who compliment your skills to create a focused workplace that isn’t lacking the right perspectives. You need to not only be someone who finds people. You need to be able to manage them as well. Become well versed with management styles and human resources tools.

Research

You also need to have a firm idea on whether or not your product. As well as what market it’s going to work in and why. The right research helps you better know which ideas you should press on with and which need a bit more development. It can help you inform how and where you market, as well as the kind of competition you’re going to have. Www.marketingprofs.com states that it even helps you stay relevant and future-oriented.

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Charisma

The one skill that you’re going to need to have, regardless of those who compliment you, is charisma. The ability to be a salesman, as www.smallbiztrends.com suggests. Not only to help you sell your business plans to investors. But to sell your products and know the driving forces behind the best marketing strategies for your market. You need to be able to help people see both the strength of your business, your products and yourself as a person.

You’re going to need to build up your skills even further than we’ve just indicated. However, this article should help you get a start on becoming the kind of businessperson you want to be.