Practical Tips to Revamp Your Creative Portfolio for 2023

The New Year is often met with the urge to reflect on one’s life, refresh one’s personal space, and sometimes redo one’s creative portfolio. Suppose you’re an artist, photographer, or designer of any kind. In that case, you may be familiar with the desire to discard a current portfolio item or two and swap them for newer or more enticing projects. Trust us, we’ve all been there. So, what can you do when the New Year prompts you to dust off your body of work? Follow your intuition of course! If that seems daunting, don’t fret. The good news is that we’ve come up with a few practical tips to help you improve how you present your work.

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Practical Tips to Refresh Your Portfolio

“A portfolio is a living, breathing document that should be updated regularly to reflect your most recent and best work.”

– Jessica Walsh, American Designer, Art Director and Illustrator

We’ve talked about the importance of having an online portfolio before, so we won’t bore you with those details. Instead, we’ll share a few practical tips you can use to refresh your portfolio and start searching for your dream job.

Review your current portfolio with a critical eye.

Start your portfolio refresh by reviewing your current body of work and how it measures up to your skills and career goals. Consider replacing outdated work, as well as, refining the overall organization and presentation of the work.

Focus on your goals while you curate your best work.

When curating your body of work, try to include your most recent and most dynamic artworks, photographs, or designs. After all, your portfolio is a way to showcase your skills and land a job. So, you don’t want to have too many projects or portfolio items that are severely out-of-date.

Consider how you’re organizing your portfolio.

The organization of your portfolio is key – especially if you want to communicate specific things about your art or design process. So, if you want to craft a great portfolio, consider how everything is organized and if your work is easy to navigate. 

To help with organization consider the following:

  • consistency with the design and layout
  • easy to read typography
  • grouping projects by subject matter, project type, theme, or medium

“Your porfolio is a tool to sell yourself, your skills, and your ideas. It should be tailored to the audience you’re trying to reach, and showcase your unique strenghts and abilities.”

– Paula Scher, American Graphic Designer, Painter, and Educator

Experiment with new formats if things are feeling stale. 

We get it, sometimes you need a change of scenery – or in this case, a change of format, to keep things fresh. So, experiment with different ways to display your various projects. Just be sure to keep things consistent and professional and you can’t go wrong!

Update your portfolio regularly.

If you want a portfolio that accurately reflects who you are as an artist, photographer, or designer, it’s important to update it regularly. Doing so will ensure that your most recent skills, accomplishments, and projects are reflected.

Seek feedback from art/design peers, mentors, or industry leaders.

It’s important to get constructive criticism from peers, mentors, and industry pros, from time to time. After all, an outside perspective on your portfolio can provide valuable insight for you to improve. 

Where to Find Portfolio Reviews 

Want to get a fresh set of eyes on your online portfolio? Head to one of the resources listed below to book a portfolio review.

  • Behance Portfolio Reviews – If you want to receive feedback from experts, consider getting a portfolio review from the team at Behance. These are hosted throughout the year, usually at Adobe-sponsored events across the globe. 
  • PhMuseum Online Portfolio Reviews – Want your work seen by internationally-known photographers and curators? A one-on-one portfolio review can be an opportunity to get industry leaders to look at your work. 
  • AIGA Portfolio Festival – If you’ve been looking for a virtual event to have your design portfolio viewed, this might be the best resource for you. AIGA’s annual portfolio festival usually occurs in the summer and offers students, recent grads, and budding designers the opportunity to get feedback on their work, find mentorship, and find other designers to collaborate with.
    • Note: AIGA Portfolio Festival 2023 dates have yet to be announced but this event is held annually. 
office supplies like pens, colorful paper, and paper clips

Essential Tips to Organize An Art, Photography, or Design Studio

In addition to updating one’s portfolio (or getting it reviewed), the New Year may prompt the desire to organize one’s space as well. Are you familiar with that feeling? If so, keep reading. Here are some tips to improve organization in your art, photography, or design studio:

  • Begin by decluttering your space. Dispose of unnecessary and useless materials. Then consider recycling, repurposing, or donating materials that are often under-utilized. 
  • Employ an effective storage system for your tools and supplies. Your storage system may include shelving units, cabinets, bins, or other containers depending on your needs, spacial limitations, and preferences.
    • Use storage containers to organize and store large items such as canvases or rolls of photo paper.
  • Organize supplies by material type. For instance, materials like paints, markers, grid paper notebooks, camera lenses, reference books, etc can be grouped with similar objects. 
  • Dedicate a space for work on your laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other electronic devices that enable you to do your work.
  • Try to keep your workspace as clutter-free as possible. 
  • Occupy vertical space by installing shelves or hanging containers that can be used to store small items.