Like most products, Semplice started as a problem we wanted to solve (mostly for ourselves at first). As designers, my co-founder and I were both frustrated with the limited “one-size-fits-all” options out there for portfolios — especially when it came to case studies. We wanted to build custom portfolios and advanced case studies in a simple, beautiful way. Aside from using a template or a developer, the option didn’t seem to exist. So we decided to solve the problem ourselves and boom, Semplice was born.
We continue to grow each year, but we will always be focused on portfolios. That’s our sweet spot. With every feature we add or product we create, we aim help creatives do their best work and feel a sense of pride about it.
Right now I see a lot of Swiss-style, minimalist portfolios. So the ones that stand out do something playful and different, whether that’s with animations, color, copy, type or layout.
A few recent examples from our Semplice family:
That said, it all comes down to great work. The best portfolios are the ones that set the work up so well, I barely think about the portfolio design itself.
Neglecting case studies. Dumping a bunch of images on a page and leaving it up to the user to guess what they’re looking at. Or, on the other extreme, writing case studies so long and boring I can’t make it past the first two sentences.
It’s all about finding the perfect balance.
The person reading your case study is busy. They’ve probably looked at dozens of portfolios today. Respect their time. Write something that makes them smile. Tell a story, but get to the point.
With our own portfolio, it’s easy to forget the design and web practices we know so well. Things like: People scan, they don’t read. They want captions, not chapters. They’ll exit fast unless you keep them wanting more.
Ask yourself if you’d enjoy reading your own case study. If not, your audience probably won’t either.
Avoid doing the trendy thing. We usually look to our peers when building our portfolio, and we end up repeating the same phrases (“crafting solutions through strategic storytelling!”) everyone else is already saying.
UX is not only in high demand, but it is also a title everyone uses now because it’s what gets you the job.
And if I look at most UX designers these days, they all try to fit in with what they’re saying, what they’re designing and how they present themselves.
Side projects. Do as many as you can afford, whether they are self-initiated or small client gigs. Your friend’s wedding invitation. A small-budget project for a non-profit organization. Business cards for a family member. When I first started out as a designer, I accepted nearly every opportunity that came my way. (I actually wrote about about this in detail on my blog.)
Learn to write well. Communicating your work is important for any design field, but especially for UX design. Your work doesn’t always speak for itself the same way a poster or packaging does. It’s your job to not only make it tangible for people, but to also make it interesting. The better your UX work, the more we enjoy the result and the less we think about your UX work. You have to point it out for us.