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How to Make a Profitable Apparel Print Design Portfolio

Tips to create apparel print design portfolios that help you land your dream job and clients and grow your print design business. If you want to succeed in the apparel print design space, you’ll want to focus on building a profitable portfolio.   I cannot stress the importance of a high-quality portfolio for all apparel print […]

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A boutique print studio owner living in Southern California. I help freelance print designers find their niche & market focus in the apparel industry, clean up & curate their portfolio and implement strategies for growth in their business!

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Tips to create apparel print design portfolios that help you land your dream job and clients and grow your print design business.

If you want to succeed in the apparel print design space, you’ll want to focus on building a profitable portfolio.  

I cannot stress the importance of a high-quality portfolio for all apparel print designers out there. A good portfolio helps you land a great in-house position, win over your dream clients, make a sale, or reach out to a design studio.  

Before you begin, it is important to know the purpose of your portfolio and align your content accordingly. For example, if your goal is to land an in-house position, you’ll want to know the job description at length and include items that speak to the work that you want to be doing.  

If you want to work as a freelancer focusing on developing prints, you’ll want to attract clients who are looking for such a skill set. Therefore, you should do away with presenting items that are unrelated to print development in your portfolio.  

That said, let’s jump right into the three ways that you can build a profitable apparel print design portfolio. 

  1. Clarity – Assess your objectives for your portfolio and drill down to the specifics. What are the type of clients you’re looking to attract? What in-house position do you want to have? What is your market focus? Being specific helps you put together a portfolio that speaks very clearly to your main focus. You don’t want to be tweaking your portfolio all the time. Align your portfolio with who you are as a designer. 
  1. Creativity – Allow the flow, mood, and layout of your portfolio to speak of your creative personality and the things you’re good at. If you’re good at flat sketching, mood boards, creating your own creative direction, working with the design brief – and these are things you want to do for your job or clients – then showcase these.  
  1. Continuity – Having an apparel print design portfolio is much like telling a story. There has to be coherence and continuity; it needs to appear connected so your audience doesn’t get lost. Using the same font, having the same look, and using a consistent layout helps to achieve this. Another good tip is to check your color flow, the way that you’ve grouped the prints together, the way the stories work together from group to group throughout the portfolio. 

If you’ve read my previous blog posts or listened to my podcasts, you know that I’m an advocate of creating an evergreen portfolio because it’s your signature, your handshake. Strive to create an elaborate portfolio using the three components. Throw in a good mix of old and new work because this speaks volumes about who you are as a designer while offering them work that they can potentially purchase. 

I always encourage all apparel print designers to put in a lot of thought and care when crafting portfolios. I hope you find this blog helpful. Stay tuned for more tips and updates.  

For more from the Podcast, listen here!

Additional Resources: Join the Print Life Membership Waitlist to learn more about building a sustainable creative career in fashion print design.

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