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Branding & Marketing

6 Steps To Creating A Knockout Online Portfolio

Ready to pump up your creative portfolio? We have insider tips on showcasing your best work and standing out from the crowd.

[Ed. note: We hope you find this piece from our archives useful, which features advice from former Chief Designer of Behance Matias Corea.]

As the Chief Designer of Behance, few people are better at identifying a great online portfolio than Matias Corea. While judging contests, looking for new talent, and conducting design research for Behance, he has reviewed thousands of creative portfolios on the web.

To get some insight on what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to showcasing creative work online, I chatted with Matias about his observations and extracted six simple tips for building a knockout creative portfolio.


1. Take a step back, and curate your best work.

Take the time to look at all of your work and carefully choose the right pieces for your portfolio. “One piece of advice I got from my mentor was to always showcase the type of work you want to be doing in the future,” says Matias. “Display only the projects that you are really proud of, that look the best, and that use the best materials.” Choose at least five projects so you can demonstrate the breadth of your work, but be selective. Remember, it’s always better to have a portfolio of a few projects that are stunning than dozens of projects where some of them are just OK. The quality of your portfolio is only as good as your weakest project.

2. Use eye-catching images, and share the backstory.

Now that you’ve edited the work you want to show, get into the nitty-gritty of each project and think about how to best present it. Visitors like to know the story behind your finished work, so think about presenting your process—from the initial concept, to early sketches, to the finished product. A good rule of thumb is to present the whole piece first, followed by more detailed shots to show the precision of your craft. Stylized photography is a nice touch, as long as it doesn’t distract from the work itself.


Matias: “First, contextualize the project with a short paragraph. Add a title that makes sense and gives a hint of what this project is about. You want this to be quick reading—you need to be able to glance at it and understand what it’s about. The title, a short paragraph, and first image should be engaging enough to make people want to look at the entire project.”


NOVUM 11/11 by Paperlux



Written Portraits by Van Wanten Etcetera


Citroën DS Line Book by Laurent Nivalle

Once you’ve decided how to frame and explain your project, focus on finding the perfect images or media to showcase the project, starting with a cover image. “If you’re using covers to present your projects in a gallery, it’s important that your cover is crafted,” says Matias. “Your cover doesn’t have to be an exact image from inside your project—you can custom design a cover if the project requires it. For example, maybe you just want to display text. Unify the look of your covers as much as possible.”



Orlando Aquije Abarca on Behance



Heydays on Behance




Andy Gugel, Art Director on Behance

3. Keep the website design simple, and let the work take centerstage.

When designing a portfolio, you want a website that is straightforward. You want your content to be the focal point, rather than a distracting design.

“Your website is a vehicle for people to find your work,” says Matias. “You don’t want the site to be overly flashy or unconventional—that will make the content more difficult to access. It’s not that I prefer minimalistic designs—it’s a question of creating the visual environment you need to showcase your work most effectively. Simplicity in the interface and visual design of your website will push your work to the surface, where it should be.”

This means simple navigation and the fewest amount of website sections necessary. “Have a gallery of work and a contact page? That’s a great portfolio website.”

Simplicity in the interface and visual design of your website will push your work to the surface, where it should be.

When it comes to customization, Matias advises you to keep it simple—pick one font, and keep things consistent. “One font and sticking to it will make your life easier. Pick a color for each link state that’s the same across the site.”

prosite-1, built on ProSite (now Portfolio)


prosite-2, built on ProSite (now Portfolio)

4. Craft a bio that expresses your unique process and/or point of view.

Personalize your “About” page to tell your story, not just list your past jobs. Here are a few key pointers for reinventing your resume as a compelling bio:

  • Share a Point of View. As a creative, you have your own unique perspective on your industry and the creative world. Frame your bio with your own creative focus or mission statement.
  • Create an origin story. Share the backstory of how you developed your point of view. Did you have an experience as a kid or early in your career that lead you to pursue a passion or shaped your creative direction?
  • Ground your experience using external details. Anchor your bio with details that demonstrate your connections through the creative world. Think notable clients, press, or publications.
  • Be approachable. Round your story out with some personal trivia. Have any hobbies or interests you obsess about? Revealing some guilty pleasures keeps your bio approachable and relatable.

5. Add distinctive elements (e.g. awards, your blog), and broadcast your work.

Now that you’ve got all of the necessities, consider any other distinctive elements that you can include to give you an edge.

  • Mention awards. If you have mentions in press or awards, do include them.
  • Invite contact. If you’re looking for freelance or contract work, consider using a contact form on your portfolio. Forms from Wufoo or JotForm allow you to customize fields so you can ask for all the information you need up front, like budget and timeline expectations.
  • Make sharing easy. Including buttons to share your work on social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+) can help bring more exposure and an audience to your site. Promote your work on social media whenever you add new projects to draw attention to fresh work as well as your overall portfolio.
  • Include your blog. If you do have a blog that you update frequently that also represents where you are professionally or adds value to who you are, include it. Matias advises, “A blog needs to add something to your site—otherwise forget about it. No clutter.”

6. Keep your portfolio fresh.

Keep in mind that your work doesn’t end with just creating a killer portfolio. You’ll also want to regularly update it. The best portfolios are never static. As you create new and better work, make sure you make additions to showcase your latest projects, but with the same focus on careful curation!

Of course, we welcome you to come explore Behance and create an online portfolio!

More Posts by Mell Ravenel

Comments (80)
  • Fabiola

    Thank u ! Exactly what i needed.

  • Baron Rebache Lee

    Wow.. if you’ve never participated in a Design Team challenge before, today’s challenge may just change that pattern!  This week, the Creative Sketches Design Team invites you to participate in an Anything Goes Challenge!!  There is no sketch, no specific cardstock or ink colors, and no  pre-defined stamps.  Your CS13 paper craft project upload can be anything.. be it card, scrapbook page, 3-D item, ATC, what ever!

  • Baron Rebache Lee

    But Photoshop has a few tricks up its sleeve to make the task easier. When it comes to making a digital sketch, your new best friends will be the High Pass filter and the Threshold command. While these two are fairly innocuous on their own, when brought together they seek out the outline of a photo and then turn it into a sketch.

  • Anntina

    Thanks,It’s very helpful for me

  • website optimization

    Amazing tutorial for creating online Portfolio. I just start a Small business and your guideline will help me more for creating effective portfolio. Thanks Mell for great share.

  • Jyoti Awasthi

    Great article….!!!Nice
    to know about new things with helping concept. I am almost brand new to
    blogging and really like your post, it is really on target! Thanks for all of
    your time & work. Hope you always write this blog.

    Thank you,

    The given information is very effective.

    I’ll keep update with the same.

    website designing

  • mark ranasinghe

    thanks… very useful…

  • Sara Arnold

    I’d love to see a similar post specifically for copywriter portfolios. Many of the content suggestions are the same, but I always struggle with how to creatively display my work in a way that enables the viewer to actually read the copy.

  • Matt Rule

    Great article – thanks! What I love is seeing the stylized photography of a designer’s work. It seems to take a portfolio from good to mind-blowing (provided the work is good of course). Anyone have any DIY stylized portfolio photography tips? Or read any good articles that they could share?

  • Mike

    This is AWESOME! I am just about to graduate school and they never taught us this. Great reference! I am going to make a portfolio overhaul.

  • Criz Bertoldo

    This is very helpful tips! Thank you so much! ^_^

  • Alessandro

    I am redesigning my portfolio and this articled has cleared some doubts I had about my home and about page.. Thank you so much 🙂

  • AjayRana17

    The ultimate step to create knockout portfolio website is to use the most popular platform, i.e., which lets you to create smart portfolio websites.

  • AjayRana17

    Great tips !!!!! Just want to let you know that those who are not well versed with designing skills, can use, a simple to use application for creating online portfolio.

  • Dhiraj

    Nice article, also I really like your website and have added it on you can check it here

  • Jay Lathigra

    Great Advice! Cheers.

  • Marcela González Alarcón

    Thanks for this, right now i’m writing my “about” page, and just needed this tips, they are very helpful!

  • Chris Pullinger

    Great Advice! Although the ‘pick one font’ doesn’t match your examples?

  • stacey

    I have been debating on a portfolio redesign, and this just gave me the extra push thank You !

    stacey from

  • Melvin Hoyk

    Clear out my mind, thank you.

  • Hajra Zuberi

    Great advice for young n upcoming designers n artists. thank you it really helped me.

  • Isidro Mendoza

    thanks for the eye{mind}opener.

  • AjayRana17

    Hey, thanks for providing these tips. Using these tips along with the online platform we can create smart portfolio websites and that too within a less time. Great Post Dear admin.

  • gloria viquez

    WOW, so great! thank you so much, it’s just what I’m looking for ^ ^

  • Sliding Boxes

    Check out Sliding Boxes (, brand new and really clean looking.

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