How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio

How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio from UIGarage
Kurt Walker

Updated on January 24, 2020

Do you follow influencers on Instagram?

We’re all impressed by their success. They can earn thousands of dollars for a single post promoting a brand. Whenever they post something, millions of Instagram users see it.

Can you imagine having the same level of influence as a graphic designer? You’d showcase your own designs and you’d attract that much attention.

If you implement the most popular design factors for 2020, you can successfully showcase them on social media. However, the profile has to follow a few rules in order to become influential. 

It’s possible.

You can turn your Instagram profile into a perfect design portfolio.

How Instagram Can Help You Get Clients

When you’re looking for jobs as a graphic designer, your main goal is to showcase your work. Whenever you apply for a gig, you provide links to your website, Behance profile, and other online sources that prove what you can do. Some designers include attachments in print, so the potential employer gets a complete application.

How does Instagram fit into this picture?

It’s the era of social media. No one will land at your website “just because.” With Instagram, you attract a broader audience. People become attracted to your work even if you didn’t apply for a job that they offer. As your followership grows, your style will become recognizable. That’s when recruiters will start noticing you.

If your work is unique and attractive enough, Instagram will promote it. That’s how Seb Lester got one million followers. As soon as Instagram posted about his work, people fell in love with his patterns and letterforms.

How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio from UIGarage

If you see Seb Lester’s Behance profile, you’ll notice that it’s not nearly as popular as his Instagram. Social media holds a huge potential to popularize your work. Instagram is better than Facebook and Twitter, since it’s focused on visuals. It’s easy to create a profile that’s all about graphic design.

How to Turn Your Instagram Profile into a Professional Design Portfolio

1. Show Your Voice as a Designer

Question: what are you going to post on your Instagram profile?

Let’s take a look at one of the most popular profiles featuring the graphic design on Instagram: Mike Perry. Do you notice any photos of his birthdays, friendships, and random moments in life? No. It’s all about his work. That’s why we can say that his Instagram profile took the form of a portfolio.

How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio from UIGarage

As a designer, you already found your unique voice. Your work shows it. Whenever you post on Instagram, your personal voice must shine through. Save this profile for your work. If you want to have a personal profile, you can have a separate one. The one that shows your work must be completely professional. Keep in mind that potential clients will look at it.

If a potential client follows you on Instagram, you want them to receive daily doses of your uniqueness in their feed. When they see your design, they should recognize you as the author behind it. 

2. Embrace the Square

Many designers will argue that the standard square format is not suitable for showcasing graphic design.  

But if your design is really good, it won’t be difficult for you to fit it in the perfectly symmetrical square.

That’s not mandatory. Instagram no longer forces its users to post square photos. If you think that your work looks better in the landscape or portrait format, go for it. However, it’s best to keep the format of your visuals standard, so your portfolio will get that compact appearance.  

3. The Captions Are Part of the Process

If someone decides to follow you, it’s not only about the visuals. They want to learn something about you and your work. Instagram gives you great opportunities for personal branding. The caption is an important aspect of that process.

You can use the captions to talk about the inspiration behind that piece of work. You can talk about the creative forces that pushed you towards that design. You can explain what techniques you used. You can also ask questions that invite designers to discussions. “Do you think that a yellow background would work better for this design?” A simple question will trigger comments. When you start getting more reactions to your posts, Instagram will push them forward. More people will see them, so you’ll get the chain reaction you were hoping for.

If you’re not that great at writing, professional writing services can help. You can hire writers to help you come up with great captions for your posts. These writers are trained in marketing, so they know how to trigger people’s wish to like and comment.

4. Post Frequently

I won’t say “post as frequently as possible,” since many people may mistake frequency for annoying in-your-face content all the time. No; you don’t need to post visuals multiple times per day. At least not on your profile. You can save the Stories for that.

You can start with one photo every two or three days, and work your way up to one photo per day. For a graphic designer, that should be an easy goal to achieve.

You don’t want to post multiple times per day since your content would overwhelm people’s feeds that way. Still, it’s important to maintain your presence on the platform. 

If have visuals to post on a daily basis but you can’t get inspired for the captions, you can check out an EduBirdie review. This is one of the most successful services that connect influencers with writers, who help them share their voice on social media. 

5. Connect with Your Community

So you start your Instagram profile and everything seems fine. You post daily, and you choose the best possible content to show to your audience. But if you do that and only that, you come off as an egoistic person, who’s all me, me, me!

Yes; showcasing your work on Instagram is the main way to turn your profile into a portfolio. To make the profile popular, however, you have to become part of the community.

Follow other designers. Like their content and contribute with comments. Do this naturally. You won’t applaud someone’s mistakes. Fair criticism is okay! Be honest, but kind and supportive.

6. Use Hashtags

Let’s take a look at another Instagram profile: AhdaFridaus’ misterdoodle. Tap on any image, and you’ll see the hashtags.

How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio from UIGarage

Some of the hashtags describe the type of work presented: #handlettering, #quote, #logo, #goodwibes. However, you’ll also notice hashtags that connect the designer to his community: #typegang, #ligaturecollective, and #typographydesignersclub. Finally, you’ll also see the designer’s personal hashtag: #misterdoodle.

Hashtags are great! First and foremost, you can use them to describe the work presented. That’s important since people who explore those hashtags are interested in the type of design you do. They will see your posts by exploring the hashtag even if they don’t follow you. The hashtags that connect you with your community will get you follows from fellow designers. Through them, you can connect with potential clients. Finally, your personal hashtag will serve the purpose of personal branding. 

7. Don’t Limit Yourself to Photos

You don’t want to go overboard with standard posts since they overwhelm the feed of your followers. However, Instagram gives you three other options that help you stay active on a daily basis: Instagram Stories, Instagram Live, and IGTV.

You can use stories and live broadcasts to feature your work behind the scenes. You can showcase daily moments of your work as a designer, and connect with your audience on a more personal level. Since potential clients are watching this content, remember to stay professional at all times.

Stories give you an opportunity for brand and their HR software collaborations, too. Influencers earn money through Instagram. If you grow your profile enough, you’ll get those opportunities, too.

When you add the occasional personal post, you mustn’t be too promotional. Do not promote brands you don’t believe in. Do not post random moments of your life for the purpose of sharing anything. You have a reputation to build and maintain.

8. Don’t Get Boring!

Once you find a recipe that works, you’ll want to stick to it.

You’ll achieve a uniform look with the format, colors, and unique touch. When someone sees your new post, they know it’s you without looking at the name on the profile. You’ll attract the audience through stories, and you’ll become active in discussions on other people’s posts related to graphic design.

But if you do the same thing over and over again, your followers will get bored and your popularity will start going down.

Your personality should always shine through. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques. Your graphic design must not get boring, even when you discover the things that work well. 

Instagram Is the Perfect Platform for Your Design Portfolio

Instagram is fun, casual, and highly visual. It’s more popular than any dedicated platform for graphic design. It gives you a chance to promote your work in front of a wider audience.

Every designer can turn their Instagram profile into a professional portfolio. They just need the right approach. Hopefully, you’ll create a successful strategy by following the tips above.     

Check out also our previous articles for the first month of 2020!

5 Best UX Design Agency in Sydney

10 Best Wireframe Kit for Sketch/Figma/XD this 2020         

Top 5 Design Trends for eCommerce Websites this 2020

About Kurt Walker
How to Use Instagram to Showcase your Work As a Design Portfolio from UIGarage
Kurt Walker works as an essay writer and assignment help provider. While studying journalism, he actually needed an assignment helper. Not all students are good paper writers, but they can all improve their skills. By offering thesis help, Kurt helps students to overcome challenging situations in academic writing.