Build An Explosive Portfolio Without A Client

When your first starting out as a graphic designer and trying to get clients it can be very difficult, especially when you are young. As a young designer who is just starting out your portfolio is going to be a huge factor especially if you don’t have any previous work experience, a degree, or anything else to convince someone that they should hire you. The first step when starting your freelance business is to sort out your best work and build a portfolio that will showcase your talent, but how do you do this if you have never had any clients before? This post will provide you with plenty of great ideas on projects you can work on to help you build your portfolio and eventually start bringing in clients.

Offer Services To Family And Friends

Everyone has a family member who owns a business or offers some type of service, make some calls and let your family and relatives know that you are a graphic or web designer and offer to create something for their business such as a website, logo, or a business card. You can also ask your parents and family members to offer your services to their friends and co-workers, if you have business cards ask them to hand them out. Talk to your friends and offer to design something for them for free. This can be a great way to add a few projects to your portfolio.

When working on a project for family members act professional and treat them as a client. You can take advantage of the fact that your working for friends and family and create a contract or a quote form and test it out on them, afterward you can ask them to look over it for you and point out anything that they think can be improved. Once the project is complete you can ask them for feedback on what they thought of your customer service, what they thought of the final product, or for a testimonial on your overall service. This is a great way to prepare yourself for when you start dealing with real clients.

Create Something For Your School Or Community

Talk to your principal or director and volunteer to design something for the school such as a website and posters for school events. While your at it you can ask for community service hours as a compensation, which in some places are required for graduation and show up on your transcript, community service hours also help you look better when applying to colleges. Having your schools website in your portfolio is a big plus and can help to secure future clients living in your area.

  • You could also join a club in your school and offer to design a logo, a website, posters, or t-shirts to name a few.
  • If you are a member of a sports team you can offer to design the teams logo which will go on the uniform.
  • If you are part of a band you can offer to design:
    • The bands logo
    • Posters for upcoming performances
    • The bands website
    • A custom myspace layout
    • Album covers
    • T-shirts and more

Non Profit Organizations

Another great way to find some work to add to your portfolio is by getting in contact with some non profit organizations in your area and volunteering to design something for them. This way you will be able to work on something that you can add to your portfolio and you will also be helping your community.

Personal Projects

What better way to show off your abilities than through your own website! If you plan on being successful your going to need to have your own website where you can display your portfolio and advertise your work. Their are a few different things you can create for your business and to go along with your website:

  • Logo
  • Business Cards
  • Twitter Layout

Something else you can do is practice tutorials. You could then take the methods learned in the tutorial to create something different. This is a great way to improve your design skills and learn new methods and if it looks good enough you can include it in your portfolio.

When building your portfolio remember to go for quality not quantity. Only add your best work, not every single project you have ever worked on and also ask for critiques and feedback on the work in your portfolio!