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The Best Free Tools for Your Online Portfolio

By Edited Feb 21, 2016 1 0

Digital is the new medium, pageviews the new currency, and the internet the new battlestation for any designer or artist. Surely, paper and RLI (real life interaction, scary) have their place, but many prominent artists have already turned to online methods to showcase their work, promote themselves, and get commissions or jobs. As a designer (a landscape architect, specifically) who has recently gone through the hiring and job-seeking process straight out of graduate school, I have some specific thoughts for creating an online presence that will make you proud of your work instead of simply frustrated. 

LinkedIn Whos Viewed Profile
Credit: Pedro Nash

The online resume: LinkedIn

Ok, a lot of you are already on LinkedIn, and probably have more "connections" than I do, but did you know that you can connect your online portfolio to display within your profile? I talk about this more below. Also, one of LinkedIn's most valuable and probably least-used tools is the "Who's Viewed Your Profile" section. Monitor this section to see if any employers are checking out your profile. In one instance, I had applied to a firm in New York, I was pretty excited about them, and a week later I saw that one of their lead designers had viewed my profile on LinkedIn. The next day (so as not to be too creepy about it), I sent the person a LinkedIn message and connect request "Hi ___ , I happened to notice that you viewed my profile. I'm very interested in the opportunity to work with you, and please let me know if you have any questions for me". It didn't lead to a job, but it did lead to a series of emails back and forth and even a soft job offer after I had already found employment somewhere else. 

Issuu Portfolio Magazine
Credit: Pedro Nash

The online portfolio magazine: ISSUU

You know what's better than sending a 15mb PDF portfolio as an email attachment to a potential client or employer? Sending a link to an online magazine of your portfolio, with turnable pages, searchable text, and in-line zooming. It's a service I've been using for a while called ISSUU, which can also publish hard-bound copies of your portfolio if you like. It's free and you can upload as many documents as you want (portfolios, magazine articles, resumes, etc. I've had a lot of good responses from using this service. Often, in an email it's a good idea to include both a small, lower-res PDF and a link to your high-res online portfolio. 

 

Behance Network Portfolios
Credit: Pedro Nash

The online free portfolio: Behance

OK, there are a lot of options online for a free portfolio. In the past, I've used the Behance network and I'm including it here because it's free and it works well. Behance is more of a network of artists and designers who can leave kudos or feedback on your projects. But the main reason that I have used Behance is because of its compatibility with LinkedIn. You can showcase your portfolio right on your linkedin profile, maximizing views of your work and expanding your virtual network.

Squarespace Portfolios
Credit: Pedro Nash

The online preferred ($) portfolio: Squarespace

I'll direct you to the image above. Just look at it. These templates are beautiful! Squarespace is a website template and hosting service. For clean, minimal and polished portfolios, look no further. For $8/month, you can have up to 20 galleries or pages (pages can include logs, contact forms, "about me" sections, etc). I love it for its galleries and ease of use, and its worth the cost to me. I use Squarespace as my main website, which I include in all of my email signatures. Squarespace also includes built-in analytics, but you can add google analytics if you like. Downsides: it's not as infinitely customizable as WordPress (though it's easier for the beginner to look awesome), and the price jumps up to $16/month for more than 20 galleries, pages, etc. 
 
How do you display your work or art online? Let me know in the comments. 
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