What does your portfolio look like? (Personal site or PDF)

over 5 years ago from , Lets do this

My current portfolio is only in PDF. It's about 40-50 pages. I am planning to simplify it but still not sure if I should keep it in PDF or move everything to a personal website. What's your experience? Why should we make our portfolio in site but not PDF? or why PDF?

Appreciate help.


  • Mark O'NeillMark O'Neill, over 5 years ago

    What do you do? If you are a web designer then really you should use your portfolio as an opportunity to demonstrate skills. If you are a print designer then PDF is probably best.

    Address it like any other design problem - your users are the employers, how can you best tend to their needs?

    7 points
  • Joel Cook, over 5 years ago

    good lord... a 40-50 page pdf??? Maybe I'm just out of touch with how in-depth a portfolio should be but that seems pretty extreme. I typically just keep my cover letter / Resume as a pdf then link out to my portfolio site.

    5 points
  • Gabriel AnghelGabriel Anghel, over 5 years ago

    I think a pdf is fine and just have a website with couple of details, contact form or contact details and a download link.

    For the pdf i recommend trying to show a little bit of your process, you don't need to go overboard with the info, but be on point.

    Here is an example of my portfolio pdf from about 3 years ago. https://www.dropbox.com/s/4w5zq1pamsn68hw/Portfolio.Anghel.Gabriel.pdf?dl=0

    As you can see i kept it simple to 3 projects, just going a little bit about my process and explaining couple of the screens.

    Hope this helps and good luck

    P.S Sorry for the low quality of the PDF. I had to keep it under 10MB for some reasons.

    3 points
  • Alex HoffmanAlex Hoffman, over 5 years ago

    Your portfolio shouldn't be every screen you've designed, highlight the projects your most proud of and walk me through your process in a narrative like experience. I'm far more impressed by a well thought through project with mediocre UI than some UI porn that looks like it was made for dribbble

    2 points
  • Ken Em, over 5 years ago

    "How does your portfolio look like?"

    2 points
    • Roland IllésRoland Illés, over 5 years ago

      Just thought I'd explain this guy's constructive comment: It's either "how does it look" or "what does it look like".

      10 points
  • iterati designiterati design, over 5 years ago

    I'm working on it atm and plan to have a website, a pdf and whatever else I may find useful.

    Also, it makes sense to customize your portfolio for a particular client, i.e. leave stuff out and focus on what might matter most to them.

    1 point
  • Richard SisonRichard Sison, over 5 years ago

    Hey mate,

    So a few things:

    • Quality of quantity: Aim for 5-8 of your strongest portfolio pieces which provide a good indication of the jobs you want to apply for. If you're applying for UX-related roles, make sure to provide details of the thought process, research and decisions that led to the end result (and what the results were if possible). If you're applying for visual roles, make sure the details stand out — though don't show every screen.
    • Format - PDF vs Website: This is a tricky one. When I was putting my portfolio together 10 months ago, it was the first portfolio I'd put together in 10 years. I assumed that the interview game had changed and websites were the norm. What I found out was that this wasn't really true (at least not in Australia). I ended up coding my own portfolio (which took a lot of effort) but all of the job applications had somewhere to upload a PDF — providing a link (especially a link with a password protection like mine) was actually more of an inconvenience than a PDF.

    TLDR: When it comes to portfolios, it's all about quality over quantity and in whatever format you're more efficient with.

    0 points
  • Adam ConradAdam Conrad, over 5 years ago

    A 40-50 page portfolio will never be read. Sorry to say. You need to prune that significantly.

    I take a three-prong approach to my online presence:

    All serve there own purpose, but are straightforward and pretty quick/easy to read

    0 points
  • Harm Hoelting, over 5 years ago

    Imo it really depends on what kind of design you are specialized, how experienced/established you are and what you are looking for. Thus said a PDF would always make sense if you are job hunting. A lot of agencies, recruiters etc. like to scan trough your work quickly and check if you suit them or send it around (in a recruiter case for example). Also try to keep your portfolio a little more compact. Show the work you are most proud of or fit the company you are going for.

    0 points