What if you haven’t amassed a huge body of work to show clients?
Or what if your portfolio is 82% skunk work that you’d rather keep under the bed?
Dazzle them with makeovers. Redesigns. Rewrites.
It’s actually a more interesting way to convey your skills, your voice, your sensibilities.
Befores and afters
Find some website home pages, or marketing copy, or photos, or interfaces, or whatever it is you make.
Then re-cast them as YOU would do them.
Pick examples that bug you. Or examples from the types of clients you want to work with.
Attack some visual cliches. Fix common UI errors. Translate some high-profile corporatespeak into English. Or rethink the package or logo as you see them.
Put the examples side by side in a downloadable e-book, or .pdf. Or post them on your site. Three, four or five are plenty.
Show the before, show the after. The format is more engaging than a portfolio. There’s a story line, a voice. Clients seem to be endlessly fascinated by this.
You don’t have to redo entire sites, or rewrite all the product copy. Snippets and pieces are fine. Maybe explain why you changed what you did.
The trick can even get you some good press, too. Last year, interface designer Dustin Curtis generated huge buzz by posting a redesign of the United Airlines home page on his blog. (The UX architect from the airlines actually got fired for responding to the post, however.)
Naturally, don’t pretend you did these makeovers for those companies. You’re just trying to show your chops and viewpoint.
Oh, and if you’re tempted to do a makeover of a client’s stuff, and send it to them in hopes of landing some business: resist the temptation.
The stunt usually backfires. (I have the soot stains to prove it.)
Redo somebody else’s stuff.