A design portfolio is a great way to showcase your skills as a freelance illustrator. As a web designer, you compete with millions of other web designers. Therefore, you need to have a strong portfolio to land a high paying web design job in such a competitive space. A strong portfolio sets you apart from others. However, if you don’t have any clients, it can be challenging to get your portfolio noticed and build any momentum.
People usually build portfolios from projects they do for clients. So, it seems unlikely that a new web designer without clients will have a strong portfolio. However, it is achievable. You can build a design portfolio without any clients, and you’ll find out how in this post.
What Makes a Good Design Portfolio?
A good portfolio should showcase your best work, as most clients want to see your best. However, your best work may not be client work. Furthermore, what is more important than showing your best work is showing your flexibility.
As a versatile web designer, you will get more jobs than being an expert in one type of web design. In particular, you don’t need to have many clients to be versatile in web design. Instead, you become versatile by taking on different projects.
A good design portfolio should include professional recommendations. Testimonials from previous clients are valuable here, but anyone can recommend you. It could be a web designer friend, co-worker, or even your instructor.
In addition, a good portfolio should include non-client work; even if you have thousands of clients before, personal projects are still great. It shows that your growth as a web designer is not limited to what clients ask you to do.
Many other factors make a good portfolio, but these points are the most important when it comes to showing your skill. You can build a portfolio that includes them even if you don’t have any clients.
How To Build A Design Portfolio With Zero Clients
You can try all or some of these methods to build a design portfolio if you don’t have any clients.
1. Making Design Challenges
A simple way to build a strong web design portfolio is to compete in challenges. It helps whether you have clients or not.
Winning a design challenge means finishing at the top of the class. It shows that you are the best web designer in the room and the type of web designers clients want to hire. In general, taking on design challenges will help sharpen your skills.
You can participate in contests organized by renowned web design communities. You can find such contests on websites like 99designs and Design Crowd. More often than not, winning a web design challenge will land you a job.
2. Making Personal Projects
Completing personal projects is like competing in challenges. However, in this case, you are challenging yourself.
Have you ever had a unique idea for a website? Don’t wait until a client asks you to build such a website. Instead, you can start the project on your own. Then, if you’re successful, you can proudly display the project in your portfolio.
When you get clients, you wouldn’t have to convince them that you can handle such tasks; the personal project is a testament.
You can make as many personal projects as you can imagine, no matter how simple or complex. In addition, you do not always have to complete them. Even failed personal projects can be part of your portfolio.
3. Clone Websites
When most clients contact you, they will want you to create a website similar to some existing website. You can give yourself a head start by cloning some popular websites and displaying the projects in a portfolio.
Your ability to build a professional replica website from scratch shows that you have expertise. In addition, you will most likely not get a 100% match with the original. Your version may have improvements that later clients would appreciate.
In addition, some website designers specialize in cloning. Say you intend to provide such services to clients. In that case, you need to showcase your previously cloned website projects to create a strong portfolio.
4. Creating Websites for Family and Friends
Your family and friends are potential clients. Therefore, you can offer to build websites for them, even if it is free. After that, you should include the work in your portfolio.
If your friend or relative has an offline business, for example, you could offer to build a website to give them an online presence.
Even if they don’t end up using the website, you can include it as a demo project in your portfolio.
5. Get Inspiration From Others
You’re not the only web designer with no clients looking to build a strong portfolio. So, you can get inspiration from others.
Dribbble, the social networking platform for designers, is among your best options. Dribbble lets you find thousands of new and seasoned web designers with diverse portfolios.
You can scan the portfolios, examine the content, and try to replicate what you can in your own. In addition, you can even build a portfolio directly on Dribbble.
Not having clients shouldn’t bother you as a new web designer. You can still build a strong design portfolio with the methods discussed in this article.
After you create your portfolio, you can use it to secure jobs. Afterwards, you can update the portfolio with your best client work.
Image featured with storyset on Freepik.