10 Practical Steps to Create a Winning Web Design Portfolio
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Select your best work
  3. Structure your portfolio for ease of navigation
  4. Display each project with context and details
  5. Showcase a variety of projects
  6. Highlight your unique design process
  7. Add testimonials and reviews
  8. Include your resume and contact information
  9. Keep your portfolio up to date
  10. Promote your portfolio

Ever wondered how to create a portfolio for web design that stands out? Well, creating an impressive web design portfolio doesn’t have to feel like climbing a mountain. It's more like assembling a puzzle, piece by piece. Let's take a walk through these 10 practical steps that will guide you in creating a winning portfolio that not only showcases your work but also tells your unique design story.

Identify your target audience

Before you start putting together your portfolio, you need to know who you're creating it for. Your target audience. This is your first step in creating a portfolio for web design. It's like setting out on a journey—knowing your destination makes the path clearer.

The people you want to impress with your portfolio might be potential clients, employers, or even fellow web designers. Here's how you can identify your target audience:

  • Understand their needs: If you're aiming to attract clients, consider what kind of web design they might be interested in. Are they small businesses in need of a simple yet effective design, or large corporations looking for something more complex?
  • Know their taste: Some people prefer minimalist designs, while others may appreciate more colorful and creative layouts. Research what style might resonate most with your target audience.
  • Speak their language: Communicate effectively by using language that your audience understands. Avoid jargon if your audience isn't tech-savvy. However, if you're showcasing your portfolio to other web designers, feel free to show off your deep understanding of web design terms.

By identifying your target audience, you can tailor your portfolio to their needs and preferences. It's like serving them their favorite dish—something they find hard to resist.

Select your best work

Now that you know your audience, it's time to choose the projects that you'll showcase. This is a key step when figuring out how to create a portfolio for web design. Remember, your portfolio is kind of like a greatest hits album—it should only contain the work that you're most proud of.

  • Quality over quantity: It's better to showcase a few excellent designs rather than a mountain of mediocre ones. Choose projects that demonstrate your skills and creativity at their best.
  • Showcase your range: Variety is the spice of life, right? Show that you can work with different styles, technologies, and types of clients. But remember—keep it relevant to your target audience. If you're targeting corporate clients, your playful design for a children's website might not be the best fit.
  • Include successful projects: If you have projects that had a significant impact for a client—say, a website redesign that led to a major increase in sales—be sure to include them. It's always good to show that your work doesn't just look good, but also achieves results.

Think of your portfolio as a gallery exhibition. Each project you choose is a piece of art that needs to impress and engage your audience. So choose wisely!

Structure your portfolio for ease of navigation

The third step in creating a successful web design portfolio is to make sure it's easy for visitors to navigate. You might have the most impressive designs in the world, but if people can't find what they're looking for, they might just move on. Here are some pointers to make your portfolio user-friendly:

  • Keep it simple: Don't overwhelm visitors with too many options. A straightforward layout with clear sections for different types of work can make a big difference.
  • Use clear labels: Help your audience find what they need by using clear and descriptive labels for your projects. Remember, not everyone visiting your site will be a web design expert, so avoid jargon where possible.
  • Think mobile: More and more people are browsing the web on their phones these days. Make sure your portfolio looks good and functions well on smaller screens too.

Remember, your portfolio is a reflection of you as a designer. A well-structured, easy-to-navigate site not only makes life easier for your audience, but also shows that you understand how to create a great user experience. And that's a big plus in the world of web design!

Display each project with context and details

Now that your portfolio is well-structured and easy to navigate, let's focus on how to effectively display each project. After all, you're not just showing off your web design skills, you're also telling a story. Here's how you can do that:

  • Provide some background: Briefly explain what the project was about, who it was for, and what problems you were trying to solve. This gives the visitor a better understanding of your work and your process.
  • Show the process: Don't just show the final product, show how you got there. Sketches, wireframes, and drafts can give visitors a glimpse into your creative process.
  • Include the results: If you have any data on how your design improved the client's website performance, include it. This could be anything from increased traffic, better conversion rates or improved user engagement. These tangible results can really impress potential clients.

By providing context and details for each project, you're not just showing that you can make attractive designs. You're also demonstrating that you understand the whole design process, from understanding the problem, to brainstorming solutions, to implementing your ideas and measuring their success. That's exactly the kind of depth and detail that can set your portfolio apart!

Showcase a variety of projects

When it comes to creating a portfolio for web design, quality is important, but so is variety. Showcasing a range of projects not only demonstrates your versatility, but it can also make your portfolio more interesting to look at. Here's how you can add some spice to your portfolio:

  • Different industries: If you've designed websites for clients in different sectors, be sure to include them. This shows that you can adapt your design skills to different contexts, whether it's a trendy restaurant or a serious law firm.
  • Various scales: Include projects of different sizes, from single-page designs to comprehensive websites. This can show your ability to manage projects, regardless of their complexity.
  • Unique design elements: Have you experimented with interactive elements, animation, or unusual layouts? Including these projects can highlight your creativity and willingness to push the boundaries of web design.
  • Collaborations: If you've worked with other designers, developers, or copywriters, include these projects to show you're a team player and can collaborate effectively.

Remember, your portfolio is more than just a collection of your work—it's a reflection of you as a designer. By showcasing a variety of projects, you're showing potential clients that you're versatile, creative, and ready to take on any design challenge that comes your way.

Highlight your unique design process

When learning how to create a portfolio for web design, it's important to remember that your process is just as valuable as your end product. By sharing your unique design process, you give clients a peek into how you work, and it can be a deciding factor for clients who are on the fence.

  • Conceptualization: Do you start with sketches on a notepad or jump straight into digital wireframes? Talk about your brainstorming process and how you conceptualize a project before you even touch a design tool.
  • Execution: This is where you bring your idea to life. Whether you're a fan of Adobe XD or swear by Sketch, give a brief overview of the tools you use and why they help you do your best work.
  • Revision: Design is an iterative process. Show how you take feedback and use it to improve your designs. This shows clients that you're flexible and committed to delivering the best possible product.

By sharing your design process, you're not just showing clients what you can do—you're showing them how you do it. This transparency can build trust and help clients feel more confident in choosing you for their web design needs.

Add testimonials and reviews

As you take steps on how to create a portfolio for web design, adding testimonials and reviews from your past clients can be a game changer. It's one thing to tell potential clients about your skills and experience, it's another to let your past clients do the talking for you.

These testimonials serve as a vote of confidence in your abilities and can help to establish your credibility. It's like when you're choosing a restaurant—you're more likely to trust a place that has lots of positive reviews, right?

  • Format: There's no one-size-fits-all format for testimonials. Some might be lengthy and detailed, others might be as simple as "Great job, love the design!". The key is to make sure they're easy to read and are placed strategically in your portfolio.
  • Authenticity: Don't be tempted to make up testimonials—honesty is always the best policy. Instead, reach out to past clients and ask if they'd be willing to provide a testimonial. You might be surprised at how many are happy to help.
  • Results: If possible, include testimonials that speak to the results you've delivered. Things like "The new design increased our conversion rate by 20%" can have a big impact.

Remember, testimonials and reviews are a powerful way to show potential clients that you're not only good at what you do, but that you've made a real difference to businesses in the past. This can be a major plus when trying to win new clients.

Include your resume and contact information

To continue on the journey of how to create a portfolio for web design, remember to include your resume and contact information. You might be thinking, "Isn't my work enough?" Well, your work can indeed speak for itself, but clients often want to know the person behind the designs. Your resume offers this personal touch, providing a snapshot of your professional journey.

Here's what to consider when adding your resume and contact information:

  • Resume: You don't need to include everything you've ever done. Instead, focus on your experiences related to web design. Include the names of companies you've worked for, the duration, the roles you held, and the key projects you worked on. And remember, brevity is the soul of wit—keep it short and sweet!
  • Contact Information: Make it easy for potential clients to reach out. Include multiple ways to contact you—email address, phone number, or social media handles. And make sure to keep this information up to date. It might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how often people forget to update their contact details!

By including your resume and contact information, you're not just showcasing your work, but you're also inviting potential clients to connect with the person behind the outstanding designs. After all, people like working with people, not just portfolios.

Keep your portfolio up to date

Next up in our guide on how to create a portfolio for web design is keeping your portfolio fresh and up to date. It's like keeping a garden— you can't just plant the seeds and walk away, right? You need to water it, remove the weeds, and maybe even plant new flowers as the seasons change.

Similarly, your portfolio is a growing collection of your work. As you improve your skills and take on new projects, your portfolio should reflect this growth. Here are a few tips on how to keep your portfolio fresh:

  • Regularly update your work: As you complete new projects, take the time to add them to your portfolio. This not only shows that you are continuously working and improving, but it also gives potential clients a look at your most recent and relevant work.
  • Remove outdated work: If you have projects from five years ago that are no longer representative of your current skills or style, it's okay to retire them from your portfolio. It's always better to display fewer projects that are high quality than a large number of outdated or lower-quality projects.
  • Update your resume: Just like your work, your resume should also be up to date. If you've changed roles, learned new skills, or even if you've moved and have new contact information—ensure to update this information.

Keeping your web design portfolio up to date is an ongoing task, but it's an essential part of showcasing the evolution of your work and skills. Remember, your portfolio is like your professional timeline, and it should grow and change as you do.

Promote your portfolio

Now that you know how to create a portfolio for web design and keep it fresh, it's time to let the world know about it. Your portfolio is your personal billboard—it's there to showcase your skills and attract potential clients. However, it can't do its job if people don't know it exists, right?

That's where promotion comes in. Getting your portfolio in front of the right eyes is just as important as creating an impressive one. Here are some ways to promote your web design portfolio:

  • Use social media: Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter are great places to share your portfolio. You can regularly post about your projects, share behind-the-scenes looks at your process, and engage with other designers.
  • Network: Attend industry events, join online communities, or participate in design challenges. These activities not only help you make valuable connections but also provide opportunities to share your portfolio.
  • Optimize for search engines: Use SEO practices to make your portfolio more discoverable. Include relevant keywords in your portfolio's text and make sure your website's metadata is properly set up.

Remember, promoting your portfolio isn't about bragging or spamming people with your work. It's about making connections, showcasing your skills, and opening doors to new opportunities. So, don't be shy—get your portfolio out there!

If you enjoyed this blog post on creating a winning web design portfolio and want to take your portfolio to the next level, don't miss Jasmine MacPhee's workshop, 'The Ultimate Role-Getting Portfolio Layout.' This workshop will provide you with the essential knowledge and practical tips to create a standout portfolio that lands you your dream role in the web design industry.