Written by: Pip Jamieson
Published on: 21 May 2015

Image Credit: Vince Frost

Image Credit: Vince Frost - The Dots

If you’re looking to make it as a professional creative, the all-important question is what makes one creative portfolio stand out from another. Pip Jamieson, Founder of professional creative networking platform, The Dots shares 5 top portfolio tips:


Or as we like to say in the office ‘all killer, no filler’! This has been passionately advocated by all the Creative Directors we’ve ever worked with. Don’t worry if your portfolio isn’t bursting at the seams.

While it might be tempting to add filler content, less is actually more. Remember the average quality of your portfolio is brought down by your worst projects, so culling your portfolio back to just your best projects is definitely the way to go.

What you leave out is as important as what you put in. It’s not a problem that you’ve done a bad piece of work, but putting it in your portfolio says you don’t know it’s bad!


Your portfolio should reflect your own aesthetic and clearly show the type of work you want to be doing.

You’ll attract the type of jobs that reflect the work in your portfolio. So, if you didn’t enjoy the work, don’t add it or you’ll end up working on stuff you don’t enjoy.

Morten Borgestad

Image Credit: Morten Borgestad - The Dots


All the Creative Directors we’ve worked with have been massive fans of portfolios that include personal work, as well as client/student work. Self-initiated projects are a great way of showing off your creative thought processes and what you are capable of – it’s also a great way to show you’re passionate about the industry.

Projects could be anything from a personal identity, a competition entry, an exhibition, a zine, a pop-up store, a product range, short film or an installation. Contacting a senior creative or a company that inspires you, and asking them for a brief, is also an amazing way to challenge yourself creatively. If they like your response they may even offer you a job.


Rose Brissenden

Image Credit: Rose Brissenden - The Dots

Let’s face it, your own brand is the most valuable brand you’ll ever work on and one of the only ones you’ll have complete creative license over. Creative agencies and employers can sometimes see hundreds, if not thousands, of portfolios a year, so creatives that develop their own identity can help catch their eye every time.

If you’re looking for freelance work it can also help to show that you’re serious about your work as a professional creative business, and not simply just a creative individual.


Dylan McDonoughImage Credit: Dylan McDonough The Dots

When it comes to printing your portfolio, most senior creatives have the same firm opinion on design: Keep it simple… the work should own centre stage.

Employers want to see the work, not how cleverly you can present it. Fancy angles, selective focus, tiny thumbnails and complicated set-ups detract from the work.

Sometimes it's hard to take an impartial view on what should and shouldn't be in your portfolio. That’s why The Dots are now running monthly profession-led Portfolio Masterclasses, a great opportunity to get your portfolio reviewed by creative industry leaders.

Find out about the next Masterclasses 

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