Types of Graphics Portfolios

If you want to start working in the field of graphic design, it's extremely important to have a good portfolio. If you are looking for a job, employers will evaluate your portfolio and use it to decide whether or not to give you an interview. In case you are planning to start a freelance business, you should be aware that potential clients choose a designer by comparing multiple portfolios. There are many options when it comes to choosing which kind of portfolio to build. Each of them has its own advantages, as well as disadvantages.


Online portfolios might be the most popular type of portfolio nowadays. Since you’re a graphic designer, many people will even assume that you have a website of your own. In case your main focus is web design, a web-based portfolio is probably the best option and it’s a great way to showcase your previous projects and work experiences.


Simple to send out - you’re simply sending a link

A good way to show your personality

Enables you to make an interactive presentation of your previous work


It takes a lot of time to create it

You worry about it looking or behaving differently, depending on the computer that’s being used to access your portfolio

You'll need the technical understanding to put it together

You have to hire someone to develop it, which might be costly

You'll have to buy your own domain name and pay for the monthly website hosting


Making a portfolio in the form of a PDF is gaining popularity quite rapidly. Using Acrobat, you can create multi-page PDFs from layouts made with a graphics computer software (for example InDesign or Illustrator). The final result you’ll get is a brochure style piece that shows the types of projects you previously worked on, as well as project descriptions of projects and other relevant information.


Simple to send out - via email

You have control of layout without worrying about browser and web issues

The PDF itself illustrates your layout and typography skills

It can be printed with consistent results

It’s relatively quick to create


In order to access your portfolio, clients have to save and open the file

Less efficient when it comes to showing website design projects

The Classic Portfolio

The classic portfolio still serves a purpose in the “digital world we live in. The classic portfolio is a book of different sizes that contains printed examples of your previous projects. There are various methods to present this type of portfolio, from placing prints inside a pre-made book with sleeves, to making a custom, bound book.


Shows your projects in the actual, final format

Ideal for showing off print design

You can bring it to a meeting and show it without using a computer


It has to be delivered personally or by mail

In case you leave it with a potential client or employer, you're left without a portfolio


The exact type of portfolio that you decide to create depends on the budget you are willing to invest, available time and the type of work you want to show to your future clients. For website designers, a web-based portfolio is a no-brainer. In case you currently don’t have time or budget to set up a website, you need to make a PDF so you have something to send via email. A classic portfolio works great if you want to bring it to a meeting and showcase some of your best print work. Your portfolio is a key marketing piece and ought to be given serious attention. A combination of these three options could be the right choice, the one that will help you to reach future clients and get your ideal job.