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Author: Yogesh Mankani

Yogesh Mankani is an IT Professional who has been into the field of blogging since last four years. He loves writing about latest advancements related to Android, Design and Technology.
10 Best PHP Tools of 2015 

10 Best PHP Tools of 2015 


PHP is server side scripting language which can be used with HTML code to write code for developing websites. It can also be used with various templating engines and web frameworks. PHP code is processed by a PHP interpreter and then executed as Common Gateway Interface. Once it is interpreted and executed it can generate a web page, image, code or some other useful data. There are many PHP tools released daily that are free of charge  and are useful in coding websites.

PHP tools make web related work quite easy and faster. With so many PHP tools available in market, web designers or developers don’t want to invest a lot of time to look for the best PHP tools. Here is a list of some useful PHP tools. These tools are for beginners as well as for advanced designers.

1. Prettifier

Many of the text editors do not support automatic text formatting and text highlighting. There can also be inconsistency in coding, and later, in debugging. Unless a designer is the author of source code, they could potentially be lost in the mirage of the codes. Prettifier provides code formatting and syntax highlighting for almost all programming languages and file formats including HTML, XML, SQL, PHP, Perl, Apache, Javascript and many more.

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2. Geocoder

This is a PHP library which helps in building geo-aware applications by providing a powerful abstraction layer for geocoding manipulations. To install Geocode use Composer. It provides step by step instructions to make the most of this designing tool.

3. Plates

Plates is a native PHP template system which is fast and easy to use and extend, and it doesn’t require designers to learn any new syntax. Plates is a template system and not a language and offers data sharing across the template.

4. xSansity

This is a bootstrapping solution for small-to-middle applications. It is built on top of Slim Framework, and powered by Eloquent ORM on database layer. Slimstarter is packed with ready to expand admin dashboards and built on a sleek, customized SB Admin theme.

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5. PHP CPP

PHP-CPP is a C++ library for PHP extensions. It is a collection of well-documented and easy-to-use classes which can be used and extended to build native extensions for PHP. It is a fun to use tool with lot of extensions.

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6. SubLime Text

Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. It performs well and offers extraordinary features. It allows multiple changes at same time, renames variables easily and manipulate files quickly. It also has a distraction free mode to keep users free from distractions. There is a command palette with functions like sorting, changing syntax and indentation which can be done quickly without remembering the key binding or having to look in the menus.

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7. HOA

HOA is a modular, extendable and structured set of PHP libraries providing a bridge between the industrial and research worlds. Designers can compose or extend libraries and create applications or original libraries.

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8. Forp

Forp is a simple production oriented PHP profiler which is light in weight. It will measure the time and allocate memory for each function. It will also file and line number of each function call. It is non-intrusive and provides PHP annotations for work. Forp provides a structure that makes it very simple to create your own UI.

9. Twig

Twig is a modern template engine for PHP which is fast, secure and flexible.  People might say if  PHP is a template engine then why to switch to Twig? The reasons are simple. PHP language is verbose while Twig has concise syntax which makes templates very readable. Also twig works on template oriented syntax and has shortcuts for common patterns.

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10. Guzzle PHP

Guzzle PHP is a PHP  HTTP client which makes it easy to send HTTP requests and trivia to integrate with web services. It can send both synchronous and asynchronous requests using the same interface. It can also manage things like persistent connections, represent query strings or simplify sending streaming POST requests.

20 Beautiful Long Shadow Icons for Inspiration

20 Beautiful Long Shadow Icons for Inspiration


As a designer there are always choices to make when starting any project. From deciding the theme, the background image, colors and fonts to choosing the header and various effects to align with the theme of the page. Even if the client provides content there are still decisions about where to place with tabs.

And then there are the icons. An icon is a pictogram displayed on the computer screen which helps the user navigate a computer system. It is a symbol which reflects a text, giving the users the ability to know what’s there at a quick glance. For example, we know the icon to delete is a trash can, and as soon as we find the icon we press it to delete the object.

The latest emerging trend is Long Shadow icons. Developed by designer Jeff Escalante, the shadow of the icon extends to an approximately 45 degree angle and 2.5 times the size of the icon. These long shadow designs look really attractive on smartphones and tablets. It gives a modern and stylish look. Take a look at some of the latest Long Shadow Icons here:

1. Long Shadow Practice

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2. iOS7 App Icon

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3. HintApp

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4. Lana

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5. Flat Design

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6. Men of Steel Icon

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7. Appcorner Icon

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8. New Tall Chess Icon

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9. Flat Design Long Shadow

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10. Long Shadow Experiment

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11. Icons

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12. M – WIP

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13. World Clock Widget

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14. Fox Icon

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15. Travel Icon

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16. Google Fonts Flat

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17. Need for Speed 17

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18. DesignModo

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19. Date App Icon

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20. E-learning Logo

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These icons inspire developers. Tell us which icon were the most attractive which project they can best be applied. Don’t be afraid to use lots of colors in creating such icons and various shapes.

5 Lesser Known Browsers You Need to Know

5 Lesser Known Browsers You Need to Know


Chances are right now most people reading this article are using Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or IE rather than any other browsers. These five or six browsers have gained a tremendous following and people invariable use them for net surfing. Since these browsers are very friendly and serve almost all purposes then why would anyone want to switch to any other option? These browsers provide a wide variety of browsing and configuration features allowing browsers to be highly customized. But those same features can result in slowing down speed and eating up unnecessary memory in the computer.

It may be time to switch to a better, faster and safe browser. Though these popular browsers take almost 90% of market share, check out some of the other browsers out there. These browsers are especially useful to web developers and programmers to create sites compatible with both users and software interpretation.

1. Lunascape

Web developers design the pages, but what they create may look different to the end user. Sometimes, the reason may be simply that a particular computer may not render the data and opt for default feature values. The default for IE is Trident, Gecko for Firefox and Webkit for Safari. Web developers will have to check every web page for all three browsers and possibly waste time and memory. Here comes Lunascape Orion to the rescue. It is a triple engine, which is easily toggled among the three options to see the output. Designers can even see all the three outputs side by side in cascade view and thus notice the difference in browsers.

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2. Lynx

Lynx is a totally different browser since it doesn’t have graphic interface but only text interface. It runs on UNIX, MacOS, VMS, Windows, DOS as well as OS/2EMX. It doesn’t require powerful hardware and takes a minimal amount of memory. And the best part is, it can be used on very old computers as well.

3. SeaMonkey

This is a web browser which combines all internet applications in one. It has email and newsgroup client with web feed reader, an HTML Editor, IRC Chat, web development tool and, of course, a browser. In this way, this browser is for masses as well as developers. Its HTML editor is a wonderful editor for all newcomers because of the easy and efficient graphic interface.

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4. Maxthon Cloud Browser

Maxthon Cloud Browser offers a web browsing experience with amazing speed and exclusive features for both mobile and computer users. It integrates cloud technology with the browser and also offers device-independent experience to improve speed, synchronizing browsing data and downloading files on a local device. Cloud storage has lots of advantages if you keep changing the device or are on the move continuously. It allows users to save their playlist on cloud and listen to it on mobile, as well as a laptop.

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5. Vivaldi

This is a new browser that can customize anything right from the tab on the bottom or on the side of the window. Developers can change the address bar location, color schemes and whole view of the browser. Use Vivaldi to define keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures and so on. Vivaldi’s color scheme acts like a chameleon and adapts the color scheme according to the surroundings. It allows you to organize the tabs with Tab stack and avoid the cluttering.

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Web developers will definitely find using these browsers very effective and useful. Try some of them and let us know if they have improved your work.

Cartoon Characters in Web Design : 15 Creative Examples

Cartoon Characters in Web Design : 15 Creative Examples


The use of cartoon characters to design the e-commerce portals seems to be very popular in America, Canada and the UK. Glossy websites can attract young viewers.  Here are some choices that allow developers to create funny cartoon characters to promote business online.

1. Popeye

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2. Ryan Quincy

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3. Xbox Gift Card

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4. Mitchlana

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5. HungerCrunch

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6. HTMLPanda

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7. PoisonCenterApp

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8. LetsYep

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9. IWillChangeIt

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10. Stuff and Nonsense

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11. Yoobic

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12. Pudding Monsters

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13. FullEnglish

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14. BearCSS

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15. MailBakery

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Cartoon characters are built on specific themes for ‘business promotion and site designs. Many multinational companies and close-outs online optimize sites by introducing animated cartoon characters to make web pages lively, and vibrant.   Use these 20 website designs to have mastery over the ‘application of the advanced technology to remodel the fictitious cartoon characters.

 10 Most Creative Leaflet Designs for Inspiration

 10 Most Creative Leaflet Designs for Inspiration


Marketing is major part of any company’s annual budget. IT has increased multi-fold to around 7-10% of total turnover. This is because competition is stiff and every company wants to gain customers for their products and new features. Some of the best marketing tools are placing banners, TV advertisements, free sample products and leaflets and pamphlet distribution.

Leaflets have become a part of our regular life, they can create solid results. But many are tossed the trash: the reason is content. Printing companies can often make big mistake when they decide the content of a leaflet. The content should never be cluttered, unattractive or boring. The key to a good leaflet is to make it short and to the point. It doesn’t need to have each and every tidbit of information, but just enough of the data to allow the customer to step into your store.

Leaflets should not be overloaded with information, but have an interesting design to attract readers. A leaflet should be colorful with creative folding and packaging which attracts users to spend time looking at it. It can contain lots of graphical information to give quick data or pose an interesting question to make the reader inclined to read it.

Here are some of the best creative leaflets for your inspiration:

1. Hickling & Squires

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2. Flyer

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3. 99U Book

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4. Prism – Helvetia

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5. TVNZ

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6. Cook Book

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7. Lovejoy

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8. Volkswagen

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9. Vulture Labs

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10. Italian Neorealism Cinema Series

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The above leaflets have been designed creatively. They feature a lot of bright colors with stunning designs. They give a fresh vibe and attract a contemporary audience.

10 Useful Tips you Keep in Mind While Hiring a Web Designer

10 Useful Tips you Keep in Mind While Hiring a Web Designer


Often business owners find the need to hire a web designer in order to create a site for their business to draw worldwide attention. However, with an endless options of designers to choose from, people often get confused as to whom to choose and whom not to. Even if an owners has no technical knowledge about designing, they need to have a basic idea about what they want so they can explain their requirements to a web designer. There are certain questions you should ask yourself or the designer before deciding whether he or she is a good fit to design your website for you. The following tips will help business owner choose the perfect designer.

1. New Designer = Small Project

When you’re trying out a new web designer or a new firm to design your website, make sure you test them out with small projects first. If you are satisfied with their efficiency, you can roll out bigger projects for them to tackle. Handing out bigger projects in the initial stages means a higher risk it may not get accomplished.

2. Samples

When choosing a particular web designers ask them to show samples of the previous projects they’ve done which cost a similar to the project that needs creating. This will give you a fair idea as to what to expect from the designer and how the project will look on completion. You can also seek references and talk to other clients handled by them to be extra sure.

3. Managing the Project

Depending upon the size of the web designing firm you’re working with, there should be a single person who looks after all the aspects of the project or the job that may be distributed among various people like graphic designers, copy writers, and programmers. Make sure you know who to contact in order to get a report of the ongoing project and have a good relationship with them.

4. Cost

Make sure you have a solid idea about how much the final project is going to cost before you sign a contract with a web designer. Depending on the content, graphics, etc., the cost may range from a few hundred dollars to about $10,000. Set the price range before finalizing the deal.

5. Duration

Every project should have a time range for completion. Keep track of work to make sure the project is completed within the specified time. Be ready to take prompt decisions if a problem arises during the course of development.

6. After Completion Adjustments

Ask designers how much time they’ll  provide for making adjustments after the project has been completed. Some designers will charge extra for work done after the completion of a project while will make adjustments for free. Make sure the terms are clear before the start of the project.

7. Layouts

Before the project is set into motion, ask the designer to provide a layout of what they’re creating. This will help you make changes if you don’t like something and this also helps the designers to make the adjustments easily.

8. Content

Most web designers have a tendency to give more importance to the design of the website and not to the content of it. Plan out the content of the site carefully with your designer because content is responsible for the success of the site.

9. Future Changes

Get to know the requirements if you wish to make changes in the future. Also, ask them if they’ll let you make the basic updates or will you have to contact them for the work.

10. Slow Hiring, Fast Firing

Make sure all your criteria are met before you hire a particular web designer for the completion of your project. Take your time and test them before you are absolutely sure about hiring a person. On the contrary, if you find a person isn’t getting the job done, let them go. Don’t create a loss for your business while giving an unworthy designer a second chance.

Hope these tips help when it comes to choosing the perfect web designer for  project.

8 Free WordPress Plugins for Mobile Sites

8 Free WordPress Plugins for Mobile Sites


WordPress is one of easiest to use and access CMS solutions. WordPress offers tons of options when it comes to themes, support and plugins. It remains the number one choice for website developers. WordPress is now used to create mobile sites which are compatible according to the size of a screen. To make any website easily compatible on mobile two things are needed: A fast loading time and mobile optimized design and content.

Let’s discuss some of the WordPress plugins available free of cost:

1. WPTouch

This is a mobile plugin for WordPress which automatically enables simple and elegant themes for any mobile visitors to a WordPress site. It allows the website to be compatible according to screen size and fast and user-friendly without modifying the code of a desktop. It has Pro which offers enhanced themes for blogs, business and retailers.

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2. Mobile Smart

Mobile Smart switches the theme to mobile friendly version as soon as it detects a mobile device. It gives a manual option of switching between the desktop and mobile version. It also codes images to fit into smaller screen and template functions to determine which tier of mobile device is viewing the site. The paid Pro version has even more features.

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3. WP Mobile Plugin

This is a good option in case your current website is not mobile compatible. It will use the current menu or assign a new menu according to the mobile theme. It can easily enable or disable mobile mode. Users can manually switch to desktop text or mobile text. It also sets a custom homepage for mobile visitors or by default use WordPress reading options.

4. WordPress Mobile Pack

This new WordPress mobile pack allows developers to package their  existing content into a cross-platform mobile web application. It creates responsive UI according to various screen size and orientation. It can create customized themes with various colors and fonts and add logo and graphic elements.

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5. Mobile Press

This plugin creates WordPress themes compatible on mobile screens with responsive UIS. You can choose various colors and fonts.

6. Post Script Responsive Images

This plugin will modify “the_content” and the post thumbnail function by using SRCSET to render the images. This plugin will allow for resizing the image on the go and also on the previously uploaded images.

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7. Easy Responsive Shortcodes

Easy Responsive Shortcodes will provide short and easy to use codes for creating columns, buttons, icons, tabs and much more. It gives codes which are responsive and work in almost any theme. This plugin is designed to create short, fast and reliable codes which are easy to use.

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8. FV WordPress Flowplayer

This plugin is free and easy to use for embedding videos on the site. It can embed MP4, HTML5, Playlists, Youtube or Vimeo easily.

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Trends to Follow While Designing Mobile Weather Apps

Trends to Follow While Designing Mobile Weather Apps


Gone are the days when most people watched the weather forecast on television. These days the weather shows up on smartphones and tablets with alerts and eye-catching appeal.

Almost all smartphones have their own apps to display the weather. But third party developers are also working on creating new apps that are more attractive, lighter and quicker.

Let’s discuss some of the top trends in latest mobile weather app designs:

1. Font

Almost all apps have changed to lighter font typefaces like Helvetica Neue, Gotham or Hero. These fonts are sharp and give a crisp and fresh look. They can be read quickly and absorbed by the user.

2. Colors

Colors immediately pop out for users. Most app developers try to create weather displays where colors evoke emotions.  Apps play with color to show the intensity of the temperature outside. The numbers aren’t as important when the app gave show the weather with eye-catching appeal.

3. Infographics

Infographics break the information into bits of data and display it methodically. Developers can use charts or illustrations to show weather trends. They can also display graphs to indicate what has been average temperature on a given date for past five years. Items like a wheel displaying every single piece of weather information like humidity, temperature, wind force or amount of precipitation, can also be created.

4. Photographs

A great example of photographs used online to make an app attractive is Yahoo Weather! It pulls location based images from Flickr and displays the info in a clean and crisp manner. Users can swipe the image to get more weather details.

5. Flat Iconic

This is a simplistic approach to display the weather. Here the developers use the same old weather icons like cloudy, rainy, sunny with a temperature display. Apps like Minimeteo explain that a perfect app need not have beautiful pictures or attractive designs. Just simple sign with card-like interface works fine to give info on temperature which can be quickly glanced by the user.

6. Realism

This feature is a virtual platform where digital interface is designed in such a way to resemble real-life objects such as wood or glass. Weather Dial uses a knob for different settings and a center gauge to display the information. This is a beautiful innovative app and very functional. It also has a fully automated night mode.

Play with colors, fonts and pictures to attract customers and easily sell your app. Create a new user experience and users will pay to use it.

 How to Hire a Designer for your Startup 

 How to Hire a Designer for your Startup 


Times are changing; users are more into smartphones, apps and social networks. They want everything to be done on websites and just with a click. The websites need to be crisp and fresh to attract users. This has led to demand for designers. Depending on the requirements and financial status employers can decide if they are looking to create a team of 3-4 people including a full-time designer or a multi-tasker who can design as well as code.

I would suggest hiring a designer exclusively if money allows. The reason is very simple, there are so many beautiful sites coming up daily that designers need to work full time to think and plan websites. If a designer is writing codes, checking out prototypes and analyzing feedback, it gets tiring and hampers creativity.

Here are certain tips to help find the correct designer for the job:

1. Hunting the Unicorn

Trying to find a unicorn is a waste of time because they don’t exist. Don’t overburden the designer with so many responsibilities that they refuses to join your company. No one can be skilled in all areas, expecting someone to be so might discourage them from joining your firm. You need to decide what skills are important to you and their priority.

2. Think Like Them

Established designer might not want to join  new firm. Offering lot of money will not help if a designer doesn’t see the potential for career growth while working with you. Hiring a young passionate designer is better than an experienced author with no excitement for what they are doing.

3. Expand the Horizons

Opt for freelancers, non-US citizens or outsource the design work to established companies. Freelancers are best option since they look for a short period of time to work and then move on. This gives employers best outcomes.

4. Hire a recent graduate

Make time to interview students while they are in design school and don’t be afraid to hire someone who has just graduated. They are enthusiasts and want to try out everything they have learned in school. They may be an unknown quantity but they will bring a fresh set of eyes to any company.

5. Consider Visual Design or Interaction Design

Both the skills are needed to build a great product and understand the client’s perspective. But remember any candidate may be good in one skill set while not-so-good in another. You need to define what you want to produce and accordingly choose the correct candidate. Visual design is needed when you want the product to look better than the competitor’s.

It needs to be credible and of high quality. But interaction design is needed if you are offering a complex service and need to present it in simpler way. IT is also needed when designing mobile platforms and supporting complex tasks.

Once you prioritize what you want to produce, it will be easier to choose the correct candidate and see progress in your company.

How to Design a Perfect Portfolio

How to Design a Perfect Portfolio


Whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur or employed, your portfolio needs to be as perfect as possible. Portfolios are the best way to market yourself and showcase your talents. Portfolios can be digital or physical, depending upon the career and the objective of the work. Potential clients or employers need to be able to look at a portfolio quickly.

A professional looking portfolio will help with that. Consider the option of creating two or three portfolios that showcase work depending on the type of company and job profile you are seeking. For example when applying for a marketing company, make sure your best logos, market campaigns and videos are all in one portfolio. The same holds true when applying to an academic institution. Doing this will eliminate a bulky compilation of work and will create categories that are immediately ready when a potential job becomes available.

Here are some points to consider when creating an online portfolio:

  1. Platform: WordPress sites are very simple to use and don’t require a lot of technical knowledge to create. Alternatively, you can also outsource the work to other professional companies or use various online tools and platforms like Behance, PortfolioBox or Big Black Bag to design a dedicated portfolio.
  2. Be Selective: Don’t be overzealous while displaying your work. Be selective and only choose elements which will get you hired. Illustrate the full range of your skill set.
  3. Show, don’t tell: The website should be created with showcasing your style in mind. The images and text used should highlight your best work, without having to explain that this is your best work.
  4. Keep it updated: This is one of the most essential elements. Just creating a portal, will not help further your career. You need to regularly update it with all your recent work. Always create a versatile template and update in marked folders, this way updating will be simple and more streamlined.

Physical portfolio:

  1. Context to work: When including examples of artwork, include a description of how it was created. This gives potential employers and clients insight about your skills.
  2. Include Case studies and non-client work: It is not always possible to find a picture that is representative of a project. Ask for recommendations from previous clients and mention them in the portfolio. Also mention some of your dream projects or self-initiated work. This will give a futuristic view of your career path to the client.
  3. Indexing: It is very important to index the design of your portfolio so that readers can get back to the page which they found most interesting and amusing. Mention page numbers or titles.
  4. All-round Experience: You are not just a photographer or a designer. If you are good in marketing or coding you need to mention that as well. Give your portfolio a broader approach to showcase your talents. With increasing competition, clients are not just looking for one quality but a mix of talent.