How should you update your portfolio?

The Design Portfolio Trends of 2022 that You Need to Know

Every year there are new reasons to get excited again about design and new, innovative ways to present yourself to the world. Right now, at the beginning of 2022, is the perfect time to revamp your portfolio. We should be clear, though, these trends are always meant to be read as inspiration. Your own personality and experience are the two most important things you’ll need to put first; however, these trends can help inspire this year’s transformation of your portfolio.

1. Motion - In everything from Graphics, Images, to Content

We know what you might be thinking—are you asking me to go full Walt Disney animator this year?! Not at all (unless you’re an illustrator who wants to go that route), but motion across your portfolio truly catches the eye of a potential employer. They don’t need to be all that impressive or in-your-face, either! When done well, hints of animation, video, or motion graphics can showcase your skills while making it easier for employers to learn about you. The best part? Motion allows you to draw the viewer's eye to whatever projects or content you want - and the ones you'd want to do again.

Need ideas? It can be as simple as a screen recording. Record yourself scrolling through an app or website you designed, wrote, or produced. Post this video within your case studies and explain below in a sentence or two what role you played. Another fun idea: utilize hover graphics to keep your portfolio clean at first glance while encouraging interaction from users as they move their mouse. Or, incorporate the classic (but effective) parallax scrolling. Still too much? Portfolio building sites like Squarespace and Wordpress have templates that incorporate motion for you—no code wizardry required.

2. Big, Wild Typography

There’s no denying that unique typography is definitely experiencing a revolution. Where we used to see professional-looking typefaces with rules established around which ones we were “allowed” to use in our resumes and portfolios, those days are over. It’s truly a breath of fresh air, TBH. Artists are creating bigger, bolder type styles that bend and break all the traditional rules around what type can do. How can you get creative with type? Maybe a better question is: how can you NOT get creative with type? Try overlapping text, animate headlines, or pick a nostalgic font that works with other throwback elements you love. This is truly where you can have fun and show off. Take an afternoon to go down the typography rabbit hole. Discover a whole new world of artistic type and its communities (aka foundries), some of whom offer their work for free!

3. Maximalism is BACK…

After decades of keeping our business portfolios minimalistic and extremely simple, many artists are straight-up rebelling—and it’s leading to the creation of some super inspiring portfolios! Eye-catching portfolios can truly make you unforgettable, though you don’t want to overwhelm your audience completely. This trend is an exciting opportunity to show off your style and personality but can easily tip into straight crazy and overwhelming. Think about keeping all your elements organized and balanced. Play around with going overboard at first (on proportions, overlapping, and color). Then pair your ideas back when it gets to be too much. As always, consult your trusted friends and make sure you’re still staying true to your own design aesthetics. You want your bold, beautiful nature to ultimately be shown through your work. Your portfolio, after all, is still just a fun tool to show off those exciting projects.

4. …But a Great Layout is Still Key

As busy and bold as everyone is going with their portfolios, we’re still seeing many of them abide by the grid and incorporate all the classic elements of portfolios (i.e. a bio, case studies, favorite work, and contact info). Some designers are choosing to embrace white space in between their bold graphics or revitalizing classic magazine layouts. Others might be including the full kitchen sink on their homepage, but using hover icons to establish a cohesive element. Bottom line is: at least make your user experience intuitive.

5. Nostalgia is strong

Everywhere we look, it seems like more and more designers, fashion brands and creators are leaning into nostalgia—specifically styles from the ’90s. But, like with any of these trends, don’t take the plunge without considering what fits with your identity. If you’re not into taking inspiration from the past, this tip might not be for you. But if you ARE really into this idea, think about your muses, find historic design that excites you and take it from there. Some ideas: create a Pinterest board from your favorite decade with pop culture references. Then develop a color palette and find matching typography that fits the vibe based on your mood board. Study the qualities of classic designs you love and make them new again by, say, using illustration and animation. The possibilities are endless—because so much great design has already been done! Find where you fit in that history and make it yours.

TLDR? This year, creatives are saying goodbye to portfolios that all look the same. It's an amazing opportunity for you to appeal to the types of companies you want to work for and show what makes you stand out!

Want more portfolio tips? Check out some of our recent advice:

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