One of the biggest challenges we face as designers is finishing our projects. Especially with personal work like our portfolio, it seems impossible to please ourselves.
We obsess over every detail and want everything to be perfect. The moment we think we're finished and take a step back, we have this strong urge to redo everything again.
Four years ago we launched Semplice. And one of the main things I've noticed over the years is that most designers procrastinate on their portfolio. Even if they have amazing work and dozens of great ideas for their portfolio, they take forever to start or struggle to finish.
As with everything, ideas are cheap. Getting it done is everything. Aside from having the right tools, these simple tips will help you launch something great within a short amount of time.
Step 1: Keep it simple. Max 4–6 projects.
Often the reason we don't get anywhere is because we fail to set boundaries and curate. For your initial launch, all you need is 4–6 of your best projects in your portfolio.
There are many positive aspects to this exercise, but mainly it helps you to focus on showcasing only your best work. At the same time it helps your visitors understand what you do best without getting overwhelmed. If you think you need to prepare 10–20+ projects for your first launch you already did something wrong — no one is going to look through 20 projects anyway. You’re not doing anyone any favors by including too much.
Semplice portfolio by Pawel Nolbert - nolbert.com
And don’t forget, this is for your first launch. You should always be updating and improving your portfolio, so this just keeps you moving forward. Your portfolio is not what you did, but what you’re going to do next. Build your portfolio with the work you want to do in the future instead of just using it as a backlog of projects.
Action expresses priorities. — Gandhi
Step 2: Set yourself a deadline
Followed by the first exercise, give yourself a deadline of four weeks. Then launch your portfolio no matter what. Even if it’s not perfect, even if some projects are missing. You have to launch! The key is to ship fast and keep iterating on it over time to make it better. By keeping it simple as described in the first step, you will be able to make it.
Portfolio by Mach Studio, built with Semplice – mach.studio (also our featured image)
Step 3: Get inspired
Inspiration plays a big role. Get inspired and push yourself by looking at other portfolios. By looking at other portfolios you can get a sense of how other designers present their work and how you would like to position yourself. The Semplice Showcase has fantastic examples by other great designers. Each of them had every reason to procrastinate on their portfolio, but all of them finished. In the end, it all comes down to committing and getting shit done.
The truth is that our portfolios are never finished. I think of my own website as just an iteration, constantly evolving as I do in my career. I'm always redesigning, adding new projects or refining it to set myself up for what I want to do next.