Creating an eye-catching online interior design portfolio is essential to pick up new clients. It’s also a breeze — if you keep these tips in mind.
Are you hoping to catch the eye of your favorite design firm or win a bid on your dream interior design project? We’ve all been there before. The trick to achieving this is to create an interior design portfolio that makes you stand out from the crowd and showcases your design skills.
If you need some help getting started, you’re not alone (and there’s no need to feel embarrassed). In fact, one of the top questions we get from our community is how to build a design portfolio! The good news is this can all be created online with ease — and it’s a pretty fun process, if you ask us.
Every interior designer has their own distinct design style and creative process — that’s what makes you as a designer uniquely you! Mood boards reveal your creative interpretation of a space and invite the viewer inside your thought process. They will learn more about you via your personal design inspiration and the feelings you are trying to evoke through your work and gain a better sense of your design style.
Mood boards are extra helpful to anyone who is still an interior design student or has not yet had the chance to complete many “real” design projects. Part of the beauty of mood boards is that you can create one for anything (real or not) and still show your creative genius. Showing you’re adept at blending colors and patterns and combining furniture and architectural styles gives a client more confidence in your abilities as a designer.
The next time you meet with a client or assemble an online portfolio, display a variety of mood boards. If they see their personal style mirrored in one of your mood boards, they may be more apt to hire you.
Of course, the obvious thing to place in your interior design portfolio is the actual interior design projects you have completed. If you don’t have a client project under your belt yet, use your home as your canvas and have fun styling things! Show your 2D or 3D renderings of spaces and layouts, along with photos of the completed job. Pro-Tip: Any projects created in Spoak can be shared easily from your project dashboard, making it a seamless one-click (literally) process.
If you want to go the extra mile, hire a professional photographer to document your completed spaces and show your work at its best. If you are not at a place where you feel that’s necessary (sometimes it’s not!), take matters into your own hands and shoot quality photos of your projects to demonstrate your design skills. Professional-looking photography can be done with your phone and uploaded into your Spoak account instantly.
Whether you have lots of previous design work experience or not, you can always add room mock-ups and floor plan layouts to your portfolio for projects that don’t even exist. Your future client will appreciate seeing a sneak peek of how you work before they hire you.
How to put it into practice: We recommend including some particularly challenging scenarios to show clients you have an understanding of space planning. Pose an awkward living room floor plan dilemma and let your solution highlight your problem-solving skills. Don’t forget to show the different areas of design you are interested in, like residential or commercial (or both — the more, the merrier!).
Maybe this should go without saying, but be sure to include your best interior design work in your portfolio. If you have an extensive list of finished projects, try to just add the very best of them to show your design abilities. Although we know it can be tempting to add everything in, you don’t want to overwhelm anyone looking at your portfolio. Kill your darlings, as some would say!
Placing your best work at the front of your portfolio will grab a prospective client’s attention as quickly as possible. You may only have a few moments in which they peruse your work to get their attention.
Creating a digital portfolio can seem daunting, especially if you have never created a webpage before. Don’t sweat this; there are lots of tools that can make this a smooth, simple process. We all have to start somewhere!
First, gather some inspiration and look at other designers’ portfolios to get an idea of what you like and what portfolio styles are possible. There are plenty of templates available online, or you can choose to make something from scratch. As you narrow down your decision, don’t feel locked into one “type” of template. There are no rules! Experiment with your portfolio until you feel that it’s at its best.
For instance, during your search, you might find that templates created for an architecture portfolio might appeal to you with their clean, simple lines and abundance of negative space. Architectural work is very different from the work of interior designers and interior decorators, though. Make sure you find portfolios that can accommodate the type of work you’re showcasing and tell the best story.
Also, keep in mind that a more minimalist portfolio design is often easier for a prospective client to digest and consider — but rules are meant to be broken, so don’t feel the need to keep everything minimal. Create a portfolio that speaks to your style and the type of design gigs you’ll want to get hired for.
With legibility in mind, choose a clear and professional font, and keep comments on your mock-ups or graphics pared down so your work can speak for itself.
Choosing a page size that allows plenty of space for graphics to “breathe” and be showcased means you can’t go too small. Many designers choose an 8.5 x 11” page size because it is universal among templates and can easily be translated into a printed portfolio: You never know when you will need one!
Your work should speak for itself, but if it doesn’t tell your audience more in your “About Me” section! An “About Me” section can include more relevant information about your prior studies at an interior design school and previous work experience, but it is also an excellent opportunity to describe your unique interior design style or (bonus) share testimonials from past clients.
Take it a step further and share more of your personality through other artistic interests you may have. Do you have a hobby like garment-making, watercolor portraiture, or woodworking? Including copies or photos of your personal pursuits could round out a prospective client’s understanding of your style and artistry. Don’t be shy!
You may have mixed feelings about social media apps (who doesn’t?), but all types of businesses now use them as an extension of their portfolio. Make yours shine by curating your feed with images of your finished projects. Include photos and captions that briefly show your unique process, like mood boards and rough mock-ups you did (or didn’t) eventually use.
Keep it real with images from your personal life that show you are relatable: outings, family life, inspiring street life, or landscape photos. Keep things positive and somewhat professional because if they are interested enough to go to your social media, this may be the place where you seal the deal.
Since you’ve already taken the time to create a digital portfolio, it only makes sense to have a website that potential clients or employers can go to for your portfolio and more information about your services.
We’ll cut to the chase and give you the easiest (and our preferred) method for creating a portfolio website: Spoak’s interior design portfolio tool, which is built into the software for all members to use. The template style is pretty straightforward, but you can tailor it to your branding and put your own flair on it with a logo and custom colors.
Your website will link to everything from your previous work, mood boards, and completed projects to your personal information. Since your business and design tools are also on the same site, it is a one-stop shop for everything about your interior design business — no coding knowledge is required.
Whatever site you choose, include testimonials of past clients (even ones where you offered your services for free) if you are pleased with the results. The fact that you have satisfied clients speaks volumes about your ability to listen, communicate, and create the design that meets their needs. Hats off to you!
Feeling ready to make a portfolio that is a cut above the rest? Start by organizing your mock-ups, mood boards, and photos in one place.
The design suite and business tools that come with your Spoak membership allow you to instantly move projects and renderings into your portfolio page, with the ability to easily rotate in new projects and add testimonials to your page description.
Photo Credit: (Left) Designer Oasis
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