graphic design portfolio examples

Graphic Design Portfolio Examples to Inspire You + Important Tips

Newly graduated? Actively seeking employment in the field? Super comfortable in your current position?

No matter what your status, the Go Media team suggests you regularly work to keep your design portfolio up-to-date.

Seasoned designers, we know that this task may seem daunting. However, in order to show beautiful work, you simply have to put the time in. Being methodical about adding work is far easier and more effective, in our view. Slow and steady always wins the race.

We have launched a couple blog posts about what your design portfolio should include. They are:

How to Have the Best Graphic Design Portfolio on the Block: 3 Tips and
How to Create a Graphic Design Portfolio 

Here are five of our most important tips.

  1. Only show your very best work. Your portfolio should be well curated. Less is often more.
  2. Cover all of your bases. If you have excellent work in branding, print, web, illustration, show us. Well-rounded designers are few and far between.
  3. Tell us a story. We love case studies! Show us your thought process from start to finish. Include illustrations, notes and various rounds. Address failures & successes along the way. We love to see how designers move throughout the design process. No matter what the outcome, we will respect you for guiding us along your path.
  4. Put as much time into your portfolio as you did completing the project. If you took eight hours to create a logo for a client, take roughly eight hours to work on that respective portfolio item. Dedicate yourself to mocking the logo up on multiple templates until they look perfect. Write, rewrite, proofread the copy to go along with your portfolio item. Construct a thorough case study as referenced above. If your logo appears in a store, restaurant or other location, go out and photograph it! Take time editing the photos so that they are professional in quality. Gather testimonials on your work if possible. Don’t stop until you’re proud.
  5. Show that you can work with clients & meet deadlines. Students, this one is for you. If you have not yet had experience in the field, ask your friends and family if they need any design work. This will get you some freelance work in the door and show us that you have experience, no matter how minor, working for clients. Get ready to illustrate the work you’ve done in your portfolio, as well as discuss how you communicated with them and managed to meet important deadlines.

Here are some portfolios that have inspired us with notes about why we enjoy them.

Ekaterina Oloy
Los Angeles Based Illustrator, Artist and Visual Storyteller
What We Love: Katia’s Portfolio is instantly spellbinding. Each project is accompanied by a full case study or accompanying materials that help you relate to Katia’s
work. This is the standard that all other portfolio’s should be judged against.

Skinny Ships
Design and Illustration by Richard Perez and Jennifer Derosa
What We Love: The cleanliness and fun spirit of the work. It makes you want to work with them.

Hom Sweet Hom
Hand Lettering by Lauren Hom
What We Love: High-quality, vibrant work that hits you in the face!
Great brand consistency

 

Ron Draper
Artist and Designer living in the UK
What We Love: Nice high-quality, bold imagery. Some portfolio items tell a story of Ron’s process.

Jordan Metcalf Studio
South African Graphic Designer
We love Jordan’s copy. As you know, we love a story and it gives more substance to his work.


Chuck Anderson
No Pattern Studio – Chuck Anderson
Artist, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Creative Director
What We Love: Chuck’s Portfolio is filled with over-sized, juicy imagery.
The quality of his presentation, in our opinion, is simply on another level.

Kate Moross
Designer
What We Love: Kate’s bold and captivating presentation

Erik Marinkovich
Lettering Artist and Designer
What We Love: Clean and crisp overall. The work is breathtaking! Copy is simple and straightforward.

Creative Mints
A Boutique Human-Centered Design Agency from Prague
specializing in Branding, UI and Illustration
What We Love: Creative Mints shows a beautiful variety of work in their portfolio

Go Media’s Online Portfolio
We couldn’t let you leave without bragging about our own graphic design portfolio!
Here at our Cleveland Graphic Design and Web Development Firm, we love showing off the work we do in the areas of not only design and web, but print, illustration and web marketing.

Our Rich Wonder portfolio item is a great example of one of our case studies. We used illustration to help us
explain our thought process through the project.

We hope you enjoyed this post and it inspired you to add to your portfolio today!

90’s Graphic Design Mood Board

The 90’s were a magical time – a time of the Docs, Game Boys, and the sweet, sweet sound of AOL dialing-up. As everything that was once old is new again, the 90’s are making a come back.

Design trends from this era can be found in posters, album covers and fonts. As artist Dave Perillo has shown, even some of our favorite old friends are back in action. Deservedly so.

Dave Perillo’s art can be found on http://montygog.blogspot.com/

What about 90’s design is worth reintroducing, you ask? We created a mood board of sorts to answer this question and hope it helps uncover the truth. Below you’ll find 90’s posters, graphics, album covers, products, and other elements that may inspire you to create your next design piece enhanced with 90’s elements. We have arranged the elements in four categories. We hope you find this helpful. Enjoy!

90’s Design

1 – Color like WHOA.

The 90’s was at once a wave of color and a dash of grunge. But for this moment, at least, we are rejoicing in glorious brilliance of it all. Think Pretty in Pink (literally), color pops, neon lasers and this 90’s cup design that kind of grows on you after awhile. Totally unapologetic!

90's cup design

2 – Chunky Fonts.

If you take a broad look at fonts in the 90’s, you will see a lot of thick lines and truly unique fonts driven by theme. Oh – and we loved a drop shadow!

3 – Photo Posters

The focus around many of the posters or album art in the 90’s was around one simple graphic or photograph.  Many of these are iconic posters and I think their simplicity speaks volumes.

4 – From Bold & Vibrant to Black & White (and Red)

Though this era gave us a lot of pink, we also saw a lot of stark contrast – black & white – sometimes with pops of red.

What did you love most about design in the 90’s?

For more 90’s Graphic Design, head to the Go Media Pinterest Board.

Rock Medical Orthopedic Website and Branding by Go Media

Portfolio Spotlight: Rock Medical Branding & Website

Designer Face Off featuring Paper Cut Artist Reina Takahashi & Facebook Art Director Shiu Pei Luu

Welcome to Designer Face Off, where we ask two designers to go head to head, asking one another burning questions about their shared passions for design, entrepreneurship, and all things creative. Facing off today are two WMC Fest family members, WMC Fest 2017 speaker alum paper cut Reina Takahashi and WMC: Off-The-Grid workshop leader and speaker Shiu Pei Luu. Reina and Shiu Pei Luu are friends, having worked together in the past at Facebook, so they were excited to face off against one another.

https://www.instagram.com/reinasaur/

Reina is a full-time freelance paper cut artist and illustrator living and working in San Francisco. Her clients have included Facebook, Lyft, Wired, Better Homes and Gardens, American Greetings, and more. Her Instagram are what dreams are made of.

https://www.instagram.com/meany_pie/

Shiu Pei Luu is an Art Director at Facebook, as well as a Civil Engineer turned illustrator and Creative Director/Co-Founder of the Beehive Society, a non-profit that fosters creativity through pop-up art shows and workshops facilitated throughout the bay area. Too, her Instagram is an amazing collection of the characters she creates. Go ahead and drool over that, but not before you watch these two chat.

Who do you want to see on our next Designer Face Off? Email us and let us know!

For the full Designer Face Off series, head to our YouTube Channel.

How to Know It Is Time for a New Logo

How Do You Know It’s Time for a New Logo?

Center for Arts-Inspired Learning Non-Profit Website Design

Portfolio Spotlight: Center for Arts-Inspired Learning Website

Go Media, your favorite Cleveland-based web design, branding and design firm, is so proud to have had the pleasure to work on the website for the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning.

The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning is a non-profit organization that brings unique learning experiences to students through the arts. ‘CAL’ as they are affectionately known has impacted the lives of 7 million students over eighteen counties through arts education. As former board members, it was our great privilege to help them on their mission to ignite student learning, creativity and success by building them a highly functioning, intuitive and fun website. Our goals were to increase awareness, drive fundraising and to have the overall feel of the website reflect the creative nature of the organization.

The new Center for Arts Inspired Learning website was built upon Go Media’s Designer Sites Platform. The site is built in WordPress, the leader in content management systems. WordPress sets the standard for ease-of-use, which is key when you have a number of contributing members to your website. This CAL website is enhanced by Go Media’s Page Builder on page editing tool. This powerful and intuitive content management tool allows members of CAL the ability to make live edits directly to pages without having to use WordPress’ backend.

View the Full Portfolio Item

Take a peek at some of the work we did on the website here:

CAL does a very special place in our hearts and we trust the website will assist them to assist their goals in uniting art and education to change lives. To learn more about their programs or donate to the cause, please head to the CAL website.

View the Full Portfolio Item

Top Five Links

This Week’s Top Five Links (7/13/2018)

Here are five links, images or videos from the web that stood out to us this week. We thought we’d pass them onto you and share the love. We hope you enjoy them. Please tweet us and let us know what caught your eye or inspired you.

1 – Manrope – a free font by Michael Sharanda on Behance

2. Our Top Reasons to Attend WMC: Off-The-Grid by Heather Sakai on Medium (Shameless Self Promotion)

3. Design Week’s nod to the World Cup

4. The Zany Logistics of London’s Baby Trump protest balloon

5. Top 10 Fonts Used by Professional Graphic Designers

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week!

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building a Strong Brand Presence

Project Spotlight: Without Bounds

We are excited to share the website design we completed for Without Bounds Educational Services, a phenomenal education service that provides young students with the tutoring they need to master concepts and prepare for exams. They work with the most talented and qualified educators to offer tutoring in over 25 subjects. From core classes like Algebra and Grammar to 4 levels of foreign language, Without Bounds is ready to take on the unique needs of every student.

Go Media had the pleasure of helping Without Bounds grow their network by designing a website that showcased all of their offerings on a contemporary responsive platform.

Here are a few previews of the work we did. To view the full project, head to the full project.

View Live Site

Responsive Website Design Cleveland

Icon Design

View Full Project

Web and Infographics Design Cleveland Ohio: Go Media

Project Spotlight: Scott Sheldon

Web and Infographics Design for Scott Sheldon

We are excited to share the work we completed for Scott Sheldon, nationally recognized supply chain consultants based out of Detroit, Michigan.

Scott Sheldon’s new website needed to convey the level of sophistication and technical know-how they bring to each and every one of their clients. In conjunction with upgrading to our web platform, Go Media developed intuitive infographics to help deliver technical information with ease.

Here are a few previews of the work we did. To view the full project, head here.

Infographics Design Cleveland Ohio by Go Media

Infographics Design Cleveland Ohio by Go Media

Supporting graphics

View Full Project

Infographics Design Cleveland Ohio

Print Design Piece - COSE PPA

Portfolio Spotlight: COSE-PPA Print Design Piece

Print Design Piece by Go Media

We are proud to spotlight a recent project we completed for COSE, the Council of Smaller Enterprises, a group that has supported and advocated for the small businesses in our region since 1972. This print piece, their 2015 – 2016 Public Policy Agenda, served to compile crucial information for their client base. Because of this, delivering it in a highly cohesive and easy-to-understand way was our goal from the onset.

With content including messages from COSE’s leaders, information on their new policy agenda moving forward, as well as material shedding light on their member-driven process, sticking the landing on the overall piece’s presentation was crucial to the project’s success.

Here are a few samples of the full portfolio item:

Print Design Piece by Go Media

Print Design Piece by Go Media

View the Full Portfolio Item

how to get hired as a graphic designer

How to Get Hired to Do the Design Work You Want to Do

How to Get Hired as a Graphic Designer
(to Do the Work You Want to Do)

When going through the hiring process here at Go Media, we see a lot of portfolios. Some are good, some are bad, very few make us stop and say…”wow, okay!”

The portfolios that really stand out to us are strong in branding, print design and web development, have a bit of edge, and hint at a background or strength in illustration. Why? Because we want to find a designer that:

  1. Is passionate about the same type of work we do.
  2. Is stylistically similar to us, but still has range.
  3. Is psyched about using the same programs as we are.

Really want to work at ____ << dream company here (for purposes of this article, we’ll call it Go Media!)

We want it to feel like your portfolio was created with us in mind. Whether that means removing pages from a physical portfolio or modifying  your website for this particular job search, it’s time to make some necessary adjustments that will seriously make our heads turn. If this sounds like it will take a lot of extra time and effort, you’re correct. But, it’s worth it.

Here are our recommendations in regards to your portfolio:

MIRROR OUR PASSIONS – BECAUSE YOU SHARE THEM

As you may have heard us preach, you MUST do your homework about Go Media and know our company  inside and out. It will take hours to truly understand our services, as well as our history.  As mentioned above, Go Media has a strong background in illustration. So, when designers open up their portfolios, show off their illustration skills and refer to our history, we are really wowed. Without doing any research, however, you will likely miss this important bit of history altogether and miss out on some great conversation with us. And quite possibly, a position here at the company.

PAIR DOWN, SHOW RANGE

After you’ve come to understand our major service areas, you should start to pair down your work to match ours. Once you have narrowed down your portfolio to your strongest print, branding and web projects, you can leave the watercolor painting work you do in your free time to the wayside. It just starts to clutter things up.

From there, show us a sample of what you do best while simultaneously showing range. Illustrate the fact that you can work with any client we throw at you, from gritty, down-home BBQ restaurant, to a quaint cupcake shop, to a biker bar, to the world’s largest healthcare center.

SHOW US THAT YOU’RE VERSATILE

We really like our designers to show that they have a wealth of knowledge working in many different programs. One reason is that we need designers to work in specific programs for very specific reasons. (For example, we need designers who are experts in Photoshop that can work on our mockup templates.) Another reason is that we want to ensure that we can all work on and in the same files if needed. Use your portfolio/case studies as a vehicle to show us that you are comfortable in Adobe Creative Suite and other programs if applicable.

At the end of the day, in order to get hired as a graphic designer here at Go Media – to do to work you want to do and truly love to do, all you need to do is to show us the work you want to be doing through your portfolio and, in person, a real fire and passion for that work.

And don’t forget to leave out any work that distracts us from seeing the designer that deserves a seat at our table. Good luck!

Website Design for Welding Company by Go Media in Cleveland

Portfolio Spotlight: Akron Welding Website and Branding Project

Akron Welding

The Akron Testing Laboratory & Welding School is a family owned and operated business that has been in existence since 1965. ATW serves its local community with a goal of sharing the knowledge and expertise of master welders with students looking to start, or improve their career in the field of welding.

Although Akron Welding has a long history of success, their website was not reflecting all they had to offer. Go Media had the pleasure of bringing their dated website to present-day on a platform that will sustain the growth of their business for years to come. Included in their project was a logo refresh to give ATW a facelift all across the board.

View Full Project

Website Design for Welding Company by Go Media in Cleveland
Website Design for Welding Company by Go Media in Cleveland

View Full Project

How to Design Your Own Apparel

3 Tips for Designing Printed Apparel with Dan Byler

Tips for How to Design Your Own Apparel

In today’s video, we introduce you to Dan Byler, Business Development Guru at Jakprints. Jakprints is a premier print shop here in Cleveland with over a decade of experience in online printing. They specialize in custom full-color offset printing, apparel printing/embroidery and sticker production. Dan really knows his stuff, as evidenced by the video you’ll see below, in which Dan discusses his tips for How to Design Your Own Apparel.

Dan Byler has been happily employed at Jakprints since 2004. He began his career in Apparel Production at Jakprints and over the years worked my way into a Business Development role. He is currently working at the Jakprints Oceanside, California office. He has helped hundreds of clients with thousands of projects during his time at Jakprints.

For more on how to design your own apparel, head to some of our most popular articles on this topic under this category:
How to Start Your Own Clothing Company

Tips for Designing Printed Apparel

To connect with Jakprints, head to: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Google+ | Instagram

Approaching Your Design work with Jon Phenom

3 Tips to Approaching Design Work with Jon Phenom

My Top Three with Jon Phenom

Jon Phenom, apparel designer and brand director for BLVD Supply, has been advising entrepreneurs on how to create and grow their fashion and clothing lines for over ten years. You can find him doling out advice on YouTube, where he has over 425 free videos for designers looking to grow their clothing lines and launch their businesses into the stratosphere.

Jon’s many passions include brand consultation, design and production work, public speaking, and providing online courses to help other designers launch their clothing lines. His Clothing Brand Academy will be launching soon, so stay tuned to learn how to create an original garment design and learn how to successfully launch your own apparel line.

——

You can find Jon on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, as well as on his Official Site. Make sure to subscribe to his Official YouTube channel now for all of that free knowledge Jon has blessed us with. It’s truly extraordinary stuff.

After you’ve subscribed to Jon’s channel, check out this video he created exclusively for Go Media, where he gives us:

3 Tips to Approaching Your Design Work

Tips for Designing Your Own Patches with Patch Superstore (+ How to Get a Free One)

This month, we are all about patches, as we are giving away incredible Arsenal patches to our current Arsenal subscribers and anyone who subscribes to the Arsenal membership in May ’18.

If you don’t know about the Arsenal Membership, it’s a beautiful thing – this subscription gives you access to Go Media’s world-renowned design resources (every single one of our mockups, royalty-free vectors, textures, tutorials, fonts and more), plus every product we have yet to release, in addition to our exclusive community – for only $15/mth. No strings attached, cancel anytime.

Go ahead and join now – so that you can grab your patch and wear it proudly. After all, our Arsenal crew is pretty tight and proud to be part of this revolution.

We owe our friends at Patch Superstore a huge thank you for partnering with us on this month’s member goodies. We had a moment to talk with Bill Stevens of Patch Superstore to gain some insight about designing these popular accessories

Bill, can you tell us a little about yourself?

All my life I have loved being near the ocean, you could call me a classic Thalassophile. Growing up I was always drawn to bright, eye-catching art. This lead me to creating my own art and eventually majoring in Graphic Design at University Of Florida. I began working with Adobe Products and Photoshop 3, eventually mastering them. I loved the program so much that I ended up getting my MFA in 2004.

I began working with PatchSuperstore in 2003 and during that time I’ve designed tons of patches and pins. During the past 15+ years I’ve worked my way up in the company, starting from entry level designer, moving to digitizer, then to art director. After that, I began working in sales and I’m now the master of all our products.

Working in design has afforded me such incredible opportunities – I get to live my dream doing exactly what I love to do, and that is to create art every day. Not only do I get to pursue my own creative endeavors but I get to help bring beautiful art into the world, by assisting customers with their own designs. Design is such a rewarding field for any creative to be in – if I could do it again, I would not change a thing.

Can you give designers some quick tips on setting up their design files specifically for patches?

Awesome looking patches start with excellent artwork and very experienced digitizers. The digitizer converts your design by retracing it in a file that tells the embroidery machine how and where to lay the stitches.

At Patch Superstore we have multiple digitizers on staff with a minimum of 7 years’ experience and the master digitizer has over 25 years. Designing patches, you have to think about it like drawing a design at actual size with crayons. You can get lots of detail at 12″ but at 2-3″ that same design in a crayon drawing would look really bad. Embroidery can’t produce really fine details like regular printing can. This is because the thread thickness and needle size are a set diameter, so we can’t go smaller than what it is. This is also because the fabric is less stable and precise.

Things to avoid are:
Thin lines with light color threads
Lots of thin lines like cross hatching
Small text under 0.08″  tall
Too much detail for the size (think drawing with a crayon)
Narrow Spacing
Over 12 thread colors
And gradients.
Thin lines will produce what we call a running stitch (as seen below)

It is a single stitch that will look dotted with light color threads as it shows the shadow of each pin hole. To avoid this we recommend removing them or making them dark like a Black or Navy. It is a cool effect though if your looking to give that appearance on something.

What file size and type do you prefer?

Ones that are editable are always best. File sizes matter when emailing. If it’s over 10mg put it in Dropbox. Here is a basic guideline for the best file types we like, but we also take hand-drawn images on napkins that are send from a phone:

RASTER DESIGNS

Photoshop, PNG, JPEG and PDF files
Artwork must be the exact size you wish to embroider or larger
300 DPI or higher resolution
0.13″ or larger text (10 pt.)
No fine detail

VECTOR DESIGNS

AI, and EPS files
Linked images must be embedded or provided as a separate file
Fonts may be outlined or provided as a separate font file
No fine detail
0.13″ of larger text (10 pt.)

What mistakes do you see designers make when designing for patches or submitting files to you?

Forgetting to convert fonts to outlines, missing linked images, adding way too much text or details to small designs, using over 12 colors.

What should designers keep in mind when designing for patches vs a sticker or button?

Gradients can be achieved but unlike print we have to run the colors into each other to give it a blended effect. We recommend the gradient area is 1″ or larger and no more than 2-3 colors per inch. Text outlines in like colors like white around black text and 3″. It will have a dotted effect going around the text and not look solid.

Patches are a really popular item among the design and creative community right now. What kind of patches are most popular on your store? What patches do you recommend designers create if they want to hit a home run for swag bags or to sell to other designers, at trade shows, etc.?

We do a lot of add-ons like putting the patches on backing cards, making them retail ready, patch key-chains, die cut aka “hot cut” borders. Iron on patches are the way to go. No one wants to have to sew these on, plus it gives the patches a stiffer feel, so the patches aren’t limp. No one likes limp patches.