Part resume, part advertisement, design portfolios are the universal adapter of the hiring process. They not only showcase previous design deliverables and specialty projects, but also illustrate the designer’s sensibilities, experiences, and specialized skills.
Your portfolio provides hiring managers, interviewers, and collaborative team members with a visual and functional frame of reference for your working capabilities. Because portfolios provide a tactile frame of reference, many hiring managers minimize the weight of traditional resumes in favor of the visual demonstration of a candidate’s aesthetic, experience, and industry specialization. In fact, portfolios are often the key differentiator for candidates of similar backgrounds, resumes, or contributor levels.
While portfolios are most often considered visual in nature, the evolving needs of the interactive design market continue expectations toward increasingly interactive portfolios. This evolution of industry expectations creates a high level of competition between different types of portfolio platforms.Design Portfolio Platforms
Dozens of portfolio platforms have sprung up to respond to this growing industry need, each with their own specific audience, specialized focus, and interactive capabilities. While some platforms offer free accounts with basic portfolio features, unlimited uploads, or existing site templates, identifying the platforms that offer customization, searchability, or additional social networking functions can give your portfolio the extra boost it needs to stand out from the competition.
Behance.net is one of several portfolio offerings from the team at Adobe. Fully integrated with the Adobe Creative Cloud, Behance.net is commonly considered to be the premier portfolio platform for the professional Design market. Behance offers a wide variety of searchable Design specialties, ranging from Brand, Marketing, and Visual Design, to Interactive, Operational, and UX Design.
Although Behance does not currently offer fully “interactive” portfolio pieces, the platform does allow embeds for gifs, videos, or other animated elements, giving the designer a lightweight, interactive toolkit to create a portfolio with a higher level of presentation than many other portfolio platforms.
Tightly integrated with the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of applications, Behance ties directly into your Creative Cloud membership and shared Adobe library files. This seamless integration between the suite of desktop applications and the online Behance platform makes it easy for designers to focus on specific portfolio pieces, rather than spending extra time “coding” their customized portfolio site.
Advanced Behance features include job boards, highly searchable project types, and a full suite of connected apps driven by centralized Behance project uploads.
Upside: High visibility, flexible interface, and portfolio setup, directly integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud Design libraries.
The “Design platform for the design community” offers minimal customization features, but makes up for this lack of functionality by providing designers with a robust social network of like-minded professionals from which to draw inspiration, make connections, and have networking meetups or conferences in the real world.
Dribbble focuses almost exclusively on quick, bite-sized “shots” of work-in-progress, project highlights, or highly visual design examples. Often underestimated as a design portfolio, Dribbble provides designers with a sense of community, competition, and communication with some of the best design talent worldwide.
The advanced community features of the Dribbble platform include job boards and postings, team signups and collaborations, as well as a wide variety of real-world meetup or conference opportunities for designers interested in advanced community networking.
Initially created as a “by invite only” design platform, Dribbble now offers “Pro” membership levels for $5/month, which includes a free pass to start posting shots to get in the game.
Before its rebranding, redesign, and relaunch by Core77, Coroflot was going through a downswing. Since the platform updates in 2018, Coroflot has continued to gain traction in the design industry to include a wide range of interactive UI, UX, and product design portfolios.
In addition to advances in their portfolio toolkit, Coroflot also focuses on job boards and industry connections while providing a wide range of salary tools to help Designers target specific negotiating strategies associated with their level of experience, skill, or job title.
While not as well known as Behance or Dribbble, Coroflot continues to add useful features and platform functions at a brisk pace, making it the platform to watch in 2019.
Custom Portfolio Platforms
Nothing says “Interactive Design Specialist” like the fully customized, self-programmed, highly polished, custom interactive design portfolio.
With an ever-increasing number of design portfolio templates, add-ons, and as many custom options as you can code, full-service web platforms offer many different benefits to those designers who have technical expertise.
UX/UI Designers who bridge the technical gap between design and development will be best served by these more generalized site platforms, tailored specifically to the needs of the portfolio. For interaction designers, site building platforms offer the highest degree of flexibility when creating the perfect interactive portfolio.