The UI Prep Syllabus on Design Portfolios
Designing or redesigning a portfolio is no small feat. It requires you to revisit old projects and tell their story in a way that is compelling and accurate while highlighting your role in the process. Not to mention the blood, sweat, and tears poured into the website design, personal branding, and “jena se qua” that takes it from a good portfolio to a great portfolio. The good news is, that if done well, all that hard work pays off in the form of improved communication skills, creative expression, and most importantly, better job opportunities.
The goal of this syllabus is to guide you through the process of creating a successful design portfolio no matter your experience level. It breaks down the process of creating a portfolio with high-quality resources from established designers, recruiters, and other industry leaders. It will help you determine the goal and style of your portfolio, create compelling case studies, build your personal brand, and turn it all into a website that will get you hired.
This post is part of the UI Prep syllabus series, a set of posts dedicated to helping product people (designers, PMs, developers) deeply understand key topics to help them build world-class products.
Before you start portfolio
Determine the type of work you’re looking for
- The Comprehensive Guide to Finding a Kick-Ass UX Job - Christian Beck
How to define what a “good job” is for you and setting yourself up for the best opportunities.
- How to choose your first design gig: startup, corporate, or freelance? - Alexis Collado 🔥
The good, the bad, and the ugly of working in different work environments.
Logistical advice for getting, or working toward, your dream job.
What to beware of and avoid when looking at UX job descriptions.
Define the goal of your portfolio
- What is the real role of a design portfolio website? - Fabricio Teixeira 🔥
Guide to how your portfolio should look and what it should include based on your goals.
- The 3 users of your UX portfolio - Sarah Doody
Learn the needs of each portfolio user so you can better communicate your knowledge.
How to determine which projects you should include based on your career goals.
- How and why I redesign my portfolio every year - Shawn Park
Why creating your portfolio should be a fun way to express creativity & improve your skills.
- The minimum viable product design portfolio - Kostya Gorskiy
The pros and cons of different portfolio types and how to apply the 80/20 rule.
How to create a portfolio with little to no experience
- How to build a UX portfolio if I have never worked in UX? - Fabricio Teixeira
5 paths to gain UX experience for your portfolio.
- How to Get A Job in Product Design or UX Without a Portfolio - Jonathan Courtney
Tips and tricks for breaking into the industry with little experience.
- 10 UX/UI Projects to Help You Build Your Portfolio - Alec McGuffey 🔥
Suggested projects for your portfolio and guidelines on how to work through them.
Step-by-step guide to getting more UX experience for your portfolio.
Build your design system with UI Prep’s Design System UI Kit for Figma.Learn more
Designing your portfolio
Creating a portfolio 101
- Building your design portfolio? Here are 8 things I wish I’d known - Emelyn Baker 🔥
Straightforward guide to creating a portfolio that will get you hired.
- Design Better Portfolios - Hiroo Aoyama
Designing better portfolios that are user friendly and clearly communicate your experience.
- 5 Steps to Creating a UX-Design Portfolio - Rachel Krause
Step-by-step guide to showcasing who you are as a designer and what you specialize in.
How to showcase detailed & context-sensitive UX research without polished designs.
- The ultimate product design portfolio checklist - Dan Shilov
Detailed list of what should be included in a product design portfolio.
- Why you need someone to review your UX portfolio - Sarah Doody 🔥
Why you should treat your portfolio like a product and how to get useful feedback.
Focus on your thought process, not the end result
- How to Write a Case Study That Wins You Clients - Lauren Holliday 🔥
5 key elements to creating a case study that shows you’re a good designer.
- The Death of Design Portfolios - Rachel Berger
Detailed case studies are more important than ever.
- Creating a UX Design Portfolio Case Study - Rachel Krause
Step-by-step guide to creating a case study for your portfolio.
- Case Studies - Semplice
Simplified guide to creating a case study for your portfolio.
- How to write a UX case study - Sarah Doody 🔥
Expanding your career options by writing better case studies that articulate your design decisions.
Case study examples from designers at top companies like Google, Apple, and Spotify.
Advice from recruiters
- Product design portfolio tips from a Figma recruiter - Korin Harris
How to design a strong portfolio that is aligned with your goals and speaks to your target audience.
- How To Make An Awesome UX Design Portfolio - Tom Cotterill 🔥
Advice and frequently asked questions from a UX recruiter.
- How to create a UX writing portfolio - Andrea Drugay
Tips to make your portfolio standout and leave a good impression.
- 5 Ways to Improve Your Design Portfolio Today - Garron Engstrom
How to create a portfolio that catches the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.
- How to Create a Product Design Portfolio in 8 Steps - Dávid Pásztor
A “recipe” for creating a great product design portfolio with detailed examples.
- Things I (honestly) don’t want to see in your portfolio - Fabrico Teixeira 🔥
4 things to avoid in order to make a good impression.
- OK, UX designers. Let's talk about your portfolio. - Jared Spool
Common mistakes new designers make when creating their portfolio.
- 6 things to avoid when building your design portfolio - Emily Esposito
Where to host your portfolio
- 10 portfolio websites to show off your design work - Tony Ho Tran 🔥
Breakdown of some of the best websites to use for your portfolio.
Comparison of common portfolio hosts with a surprising winner -- Notion.
Creating your personal brand
Why you need a personal brand
- Personal Branding Guide for Designers - Tomas Laurinavicius 🔥
How to create an authentic personal brand that will lead to more opportunities.
- Creating your personal brand - Lida Citoen
How to identify and grow your personal brand to open more doors.
- If You Don’t Have A Personal Brand, Nobody Is Going To Work With You - Nicolas Cole 🔥
Why having a personal brand is crucial and how you can start building one.
- The Importance Of Having A Personal Brand - Ashley Baxter, Paddy Donnelly
All the ways you build your personal brand and how it can give you the edge when looking for work.
- Make your portfolio the way you want - Suhail Gupta
Why your portfolio should represent you and your voice.
Designing your logo
- Logo trend report - Bill Gardner
Understanding and appreciating logo design trends and how to stay ahead of them.
- Logo design courses - Udemy
A collection of logo design courses for a range of still levels.
- Case Study: Personal Logo Design - Michael Loscalzo
Detailed process of creating and updating a personal logo.
- How I Built My Design Portfolio from Scratch - Jingyi Lai 🔥
How Jingyi designed and developed her portfolio in 2 months.
- Making of my Portfolio Website - Nikhil Yadav
How Nikhil designed and developed his interactive portfolio.
- My (Simple) Workflow To Design And Develop A Portfolio Website - Adham Dannaway
How Adham designed and developed his portfolio.
- How to build a portfolio and get a job in UX? - Olga Filimon
How she reverse-engineered her UX portfolio to change jobs in a short period of time.
Understanding the employment process and advice on creating a stronger portfolio.
How Stephen created an award winning portfolio and what he learned reviewing thousands of other portfolios.
- Design Details: 212: Extreme Portfolio Makeover - Marshall Bock, Brian Lovin
Conversation with Conway Anderson on finding design, hiring, getting hired, and faking it.
- The Deep End: Your Online Portfolio - Wes McDowell
How to showcase your best work.
Inspiring portfolio examples
- 9 Of The Best UX Design Portfolio Examples From Around The Web - Emily Stevens
- 10 Inspiring UX Portfolios and Why They Work - Tobias van Schneider
- 50 Essential UX Portfolios (2019 Edition) - Kyrillos Samaan
- List of Top UX Design Portfolios (Updated 2019) - UX Beginner
- Land Books
Communities to ask for feedback
- Reddit: r/uxdesign
- Reddit: r/webdesign
- Reddit: r/userexperience
- Reddit: r/ui_design
- Facebook: UX/UI Designers
- Facebook: UI & UX Designers