In our last post on this topic, we discussed the ways you can strengthen the impact and navigability of your WordPress portfolio. By organising and categorising each different piece of portfolio work; by including guided, questionnaire-based testimonials; and by creating a dialogue and buzz around your past work through blogging; you can make your portfolio intuitive, interesting, and hugely beneficial to your site as a whole.

However, it’s also vital that you balance layout, structure and textual content with the appropriate visual accompaniments. As we’ve discussed in the past, well-designed graphics and visual information are among the most important elements of any successful site or written piece. These different mediums will have just as much of an impact on your portfolio as they will on the rest of the site.

Tell a story

A lot of portfolio images tend to feature the brand or company logo behind the project in question. While this is important in that it lets you show off who you’ve worked with, there are actually better ways of name-dropping past clients outside of your portfolio. (See below)

Creative freedom clients
Name-dropping big past clients can be a very effective permanent feature of your site – one that doesn’t intrude on your testimonials

You’ll notice that with our portfolio, we tend to avoid using company logos in our preview images – there’s plenty of room for that in text. Instead, we opt for a snippet of the project itself. The main advantage of this is that it allows potential clients to quickly gain an understanding of the diversity of your work. By grouping lots of preview images of former projects, you are demonstrating the versatility of your work. You are telling the visual story of your brand.

What images should I use in each portfolio page?

So you have your previews on the main portfolio – what images should you use to represent each project?

There are two options here that can be combined. As you’ll notice, we prefer to use images of the final product. The reason for this is simple — it’s important to show your work, and if you couple this type of image with a description of how the project took place, you are more-or-less covering all the bases.

However, you can also include images of the project at different stages — such as concept drawings, drafts or prototypes. As long as you make it clear that these are not the final product, potential clients will be given a greater insight into how you work. It should be noted that this should complement your portfolio project ‘diary’, so to speak, and not replace it.

Using WordPress themes?

There are hundreds of WordPress themes specifically designed with digital portfolios in mind, and a lot of the so-called ‘premium’ themes are admittedly pretty well-made. However, as we’ve touched upon in the past, they are not always well-optimised to your site’s needs, coming with a lot of baggage that can really slow down page load-times.

If you really need to resort to a WordPress theme rather than bespoke design (the much stronger option), it’s important to look for one that is light and highly customisable. Your portfolio should be as unique as your projects and services are, so it’s no use looking like a carbon copy of everyone else with the same theme as you.

By investing time into making your portfolio your own — whether through customising a theme, commissioning a bespoke design, or just by carefully planning, selecting, and laying out graphics and textual information about your work — your business may soon reap the benefits.

Adam Parrish

Owner and creative director at Creative Freedom Ltd. Unbelievably cool icon design expert, husband, and father of two awesome girls. A proper decent chappy and thoroughly fab to work with. Ok, so I wrote my own bio…

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