How to set up your first Design Portfolio using Medium.com

This episode is part of a series called Portfolio Principles. In this series, I help people to build a more effective portfolio. Get weekly portfolio building tips.
All opinions my own.


Themes, templates, frameworks, website builders and content management systems. It is so easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you are just starting to build your first design portfolio.

The truth is that none of this is relevant. You shouldn’t have to worry about any these. At least not for now. The only thing you should focus on is creating the best possible content.

Last week I suggested to build your first design portfolio on Medium. Medium’s constraints are excellent for building your first design portfolio. It stimulates a content first approach and prevents you from getting caught up pushing pixels. Rather than giving you 800 x 600 pixels of freedom such as a platform like Dribbble, Medium gives you a text writer. Thanks to Medium’s community you can even start to engage with an audience from the moment you launch.

So how might this work out in practice? To show you, I converted my existing portfolio to Medium. This is what it may look like.

Example of Portfolio using Medium

Medium has some lesser-known features which are excellent for today’s purpose. Keep reading if you want to understand how you can quickly set up your design portfolio in a similar way.

Step 1. Create a Page for every Case Study

I don’t have to convince you of the importance of having projects on your portfolio. If the goal of your portfolio is to demonstrate your skills, detailed case studies are crucial.

In my example, I created an individual page for every case study. This decision was driven by the high amount of content each case study has.
 
A positive side effect is that it enables people to comment on each individual project using Medium’s commenting feature.

Wondering how many case studies to show? Read an earlier article:
Why having fewer Portfolio Projects is better

Start creating the content of your case studies and hit “Publish” before moving on to the next step.


Step 2. Create a Homepage

Now you have created your case studies, you can start working on your homepage. This is the page that you will be sharing with people. It is the starting point of your portfolio. Below are some elements that you could include to utilize Medium’s features.

A unique and personal image banner
Medium has a nice image banner feature to show at the beginning of your pages. It’s excellent to grab your visitor’s attention and to show some of your personality. Don’t be afraid to create unique graphics or show a photo.

About Me
Introduce yourself. Share your story and show your passion. You might wonder why you shouldn’t create a separate page for this. Here is why.

Using Medium, or any platform that you don’t own, you benefit from having as few webpages as possible. Every time you direct your visitor to another page, he will also see new links to other articles that Medium suggests. These could potentially be ways for visitors to leave your portfolio.

Case Studies
You can simply paste in the URL of the case studies that you created in the previous step. Medium will automatically format these links in a beautiful and visual way.

Connect with Me
You can have amazing case studies viewed by millions of people, but it only pays off if they can connect with you. Enabling people to connect with you is crucial.

Don’t be afraid to include links to your profile on various social media platform. Some visitors like to connect through email, others might follow you on twitter. Enable your visitors to connect to you how they prefer.


Step 3. Tying it together with a Publication

Not a lot of people know about the power of Medium’s publication. A publication is basically a collection of articles. Every publication has a customizable page that gives an overview of the articles inside. People can follow publications and will get notified once an article is added to it.

For the purpose of your design portfolio, you can create a publication to tie your pages together.

Example of Portfolio Publication

To create a publication, go to https://medium.com/me/publications and click “New Publication”.

Give your publication a name, such as “Portfolio John”, a “Description” and don’t forget a “Publication logo”. This logo will appear on top of pages that are part of your publication. It’s a great way to immediately show people that a page is part of your portfolio.

Once you created your publication you can start adding your pages to it. To do so, go to one of the pages and click “Edit” in the top bar. Now you will see a button with three dots appearing. From here you can access the “Add to Publication” button.

Bonus tip: Recently, Medium added a custom domain feature. Read more about it here.

Once you added your homepage and case studies to your publication you are all set. You can start sharing the link to your homepage. That was easy, wasn’t it?


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