How to create a design portfolio without clients

A design portfolio is a fantastic tool for showcasing your abilities as a freelancer. You compete with millions of other web designers as one. So, in order to succeed in such a cutthroat field as web design, you must have a strong portfolio. You stand out from the competition with a strong portfolio. However, it can be difficult to gain attention for your portfolio and develop any momentum if you have no clients.

Usually, projects completed for clients form the basis of a person's portfolio. Therefore, it seems unlikely that a new web designer would have a strong portfolio without any clients. It is however doable. You can create a design portfolio even if you have no clients; this post will show you how.


What Makes A Good Design Portfolio?

Because most clients want to see your best work, a good portfolio should showcase it. Your best work, however, may not be client work. Furthermore, demonstrating your versatility is more important than displaying your best work.

Being a versatile web designer will get you more jobs than specializing in one type of web design. Notably, you do not need a large client base to be versatile in web design. Instead, by taking on different projects, you become more versatile.

Professional recommendations should be included in a good design portfolio. Testimonials from previous clients are useful here, but you can be recommended by anyone. It could be a friend, collaborator, or even your tutor who is a web designer.

Furthermore, a good portfolio should include non-client work; even if you have thousands of previous clients, including personal projects is ideal. It demonstrates that your development as a web designer isn't limited to what clients ask you to do.

Many other factors contribute to a good portfolio, but these are the most important in terms of demonstrating your ability. Even if you have no clients, you can create a portfolio that includes them.


How to create a design portfolio without clients

If you don't have any clients, you can try all or some of these methods to build a design portfolio.


1. Take on Some Design Challenges

Competing in challenges is a simple way to build a strong web design portfolio. It is beneficial whether or not you have clients.

Winning a design challenge is equivalent to being at the top of your class. It demonstrates that you are the best web designer in the room and the type of web designer that clients are looking for. Taking on design challenges will help you sharpen your skills in general.

You can compete in competitions organized by well-known web design communities. Such competitions can be found on websites such as 99designs and Design Crowd. Winning a web design competition will almost always land you a job.


2. Work on Personal Projects

Personal projects are similar to competing in challenges. In this case, however, you are pushing yourself.

Have you ever had a unique website idea? Don't wait until a client requests such a website. You can instead start the project on your own. If you are successful, you will be able to proudly display the project in your portfolio.

When you get clients, you won't have to convince them that you can handle such tasks because your personal project proves it.

You can work on as many personal projects as you want, no matter how simple or complex they are. Furthermore, you are not always required to complete them. Even unsuccessful personal projects can be included in your portfolio.


3. Replicate Different Websites

When most clients contact you, they will request that you create a website that is similar to an existing website. You can get a head start by cloning popular websites and displaying the projects in a portfolio.

Your ability to recreate a professional website from scratch demonstrates expertise. Furthermore, you are unlikely to get a perfect match with the original version. Your version may include enhancements that future clients will appreciate.

In addition, some web designers specialize in cloning. Assume you intend to offer such services to clients. In that case, simply displaying your previously cloned website projects will suffice to build a strong portfolio.


4. Create websites for People around you

Potential clients include family and friends. As a result, you can offer to build websites for them for free. Following that, you should include the work in your portfolio.

If a friend or relative owns an offline business, you could offer to build a website for them to give them an online presence.

Even if they never use the website, you can include it in your portfolio as a demo project.


5. Get Inspiration from Different Online Sources

You are not the only web designer without clients who wishes to build a solid portfolio. As a result, you can get ideas from others.

Dribbble, a social networking platform for designers, is one of your best options. Dribbble allows you to search for thousands of new and experienced web designers with diverse portfolios.

You can look through the portfolios, analyze the content, and try to replicate what you can in your own. You can also create a portfolio directly on Dribbble.


Bottom Line

As a new web designer, you should not be discouraged by the lack of clients. With the methods discussed in this article, you can still build a strong design portfolio. After you've created your portfolio, you can use it to land jobs. Following that, you can update your portfolio with your best client work.

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