Make the most out of your designer profile

Presentation is the key to any professional activity and if there’s one place to make yourself shine, it’s on your profile page. Our goal at 99designs is to create the ultimate professional nexus between designers and businesses.

The profile is often your first chance to impress clients searching for designers to invite to contests or 1-to-1 projects – and we’ll be the first to admit that the old designer profiles didn’t provide enough freedom in this regard. That’s why we’re so excited to improve your experience with more personality, customization and communication than ever before.

This blog post will walk you through the following features:

  1. Profile cover
  2. Avatar
  3. Portfolio
  4. Curated designs
  5. About page
  6. Stats
  7. Client testimonials
  8. Services

Plus, we’ll offer tips on how to present yourself in the most professional manner possible. Once you’re up to speed, you can get right to work.

1. Your profile cover

bathi
BATHI’s profile cover is vibrant and eye-catching, while emphasizing his distinct style
  • Suggested Dimensions: 2480 x 400px (so it looks good on Retina displays)
  • Minimum Dimensions: 1240 x 200px
  • Display Size: 1240 x 200px on desktop and wider screens; 540 x 200px minimum size on tablets.
  • Note: If an uploaded image has a different aspect ratio, it will be aligned in center, fit to the smallest size and cropped.

The first thing you’ll notice is your cover image: a thick bar of horizontal space that’s entirely yours to fill. This is your chance to showcase your individual design style, since it’s one of the first things clients will see.

Keep your design clean and simple, so it doesn’t distract from your folio or clash with your avatar. Avoid using images or designs that don’t belong to you. It’s misleading and will only damage your credibility.

Pro Tip: Don’t include your email or personal contact information. This increases your chances of being subjected to a phishing scam, violates 99designs site policy and conflicts with the “Invite to work” button.

2. Your avatar

  • Required Dimensions: 500 x 500px square
  • Minimum Display Size: 32 x 32px (can shrink down without losing too much detail)
  • Format: Your avatar will be displayed as a circle

Your avatar follows you everywhere on our site. From your profile page to Discover, this is the face that clients see first wherever they go. With the new rebrand, we’ll be including your avatar in even more places – so now’s the time to choose something well thought-out and professional!

There are typically two approaches that we encourage for your avatar:

Professional photograph

avatar-photo

We highly encourage getting a high-quality, professional photo of yourself. This allows clients to immediately connect with you and puts a face to your work.

Consider having a skilled photographer to take your photo. It will make you look more professional and connect you with clients faster (think closer to your LinkedIn profile than one of your Instagram snaps). This is also a great place to show off your personality. If you’re a parent, choosing a photo of you and your children is a nice touch. If you love the outdoors, your hiking photo will say a lot.

Branded logo or illustration

avatar-logo

Although we recommend using a photo of yourself first and foremost, if you are unable to we encourage you to use your avatar that extends your brand. Consider creating a nice logo for yourself or use an illustration you’ve created that speaks to your specific design style.

Make sure to select a design that works well with your cover photo (good balance, color palette, etc). You’ll want to think of your avatar as your personal brandmark on our site. Form it with the care you would put into any client’s.

3. Your portfolio page

designs
miridi showcases his full creative process in his portfolio

We want to continue bringing your work front and center – but that means that you should be mindful of the designs you choose and how they’re displaying aesthetically.

Be sure to upload a range of work to show your versatility to clients, if you specialize in more than one design category. The category filter in the top left (below the “Portfolio” tab) will offer a drop down a list of all the design types featured in your portfolio, so a client can immediately find your most relevant work.

Give special attention to the first page of your portfolio. Reality check: clients rarely browse past page 1 to see the extent of your work, so make sure you make an impression right away.

4. Your curated designs (and be smart about how you showcase them)

exapnded portfolio design
Increase your searchability by adding tags, design explanations and a catchy title (design by ArdieAquino)

When you upload a design to your portfolio, you’ll be prompted to provide a whole host of useful information.

Features include:

  • A title of your choosing: We imagine you can come up with something more appropriate than whatever the contest holder titled their contest
  • A description: Talk about the nature of the contest, your design strategy, or anything else you want to shed extra light on your genius
  • Comments: You can now leave comments on designs, enabling the community to praise, discuss, connect and critique even more easily
  • Cropping: This feature will allow you to have better control over your design thumbnails, specifically for any large format designs – such as a webpage or a logo – where you’ve presented multiple mockups at once
  • Tags: You can now tag your designs with up to 10 tags for each of the following:
    • “Tool” tags: The physical or digital implements, like “a pen” or “Adobe Illustrator
    • “Style” tags: These would include descriptive words like “minimal”, “Art Deco” or “line art”

Pro tip: Be thoughtful in your choice of tagging terms. These tags will help determine where your design shows up in our Designer Directory – another useful place for clients to discover you.

5. Your about page

Cross the Lime
Cross the Lime does a great job selling herself and her skill set on her About Me page

We know there’s more that you want to say about yourself, so we devoted an entire second page to it. This way, the information here doesn’t crowd your portfolio, but is still perfectly easy to find.

The About page includes:

  • Your bio: What is your training? What are your interests? Availability? Who are you? This is the place to tell people more about yourself.
  • Languages: What are you fluent in?
  • Top skills: There’s no need to do anything here. This section will be automatically populated based on your contest history. If you are selected as a finalist or win a contest, then that contest’s category will appear here.

Pro tip: Optimize your page title and bio by including terms like “logo designer” or “illustrator,” as well as your brand, to help your profile page rank in the search engines.

6. Your stats

stats

The statistics displayed on old profile pages were sometimes painting a very limited – even misleading – portrait of your and your work. We think that this set will work much more in your favor:

  • Contests won: This one’s self-explanatory
  • Runner up: Winning isn’t everything. A designer who is persistently selected as a finalist clearly has the skills and professionalism that clients seek
  • 1-to-1 projects: Prefer working one-on-one rather than in contests? Now you can show off that side of your curriculum vitae here
  • Repeat clients: Do your clients love you so much that they keep coming back for more? This number reflects clients who have awarded you in more than one contest, started more than one 1-to-1 project with you or a combination of the two

Pro tip: Stats will update only after the work is complete. For example, when you win a contest, the contests won stat will increase after the handover is complete

7. Client testimonials

reviews
The glowing reviews for DSKY are a great selling point for potential clients.

Nothing speaks as loudly as the endorsement of an actual client. If your past clients love to rave about your work, then our Testimonials section will certainly work in your favor. We eliminated pagination so potential clients can simply scroll through, awash in all the praise that’s been directed at you.

Pro tip: If you win a contest, don’t be shy about directing your client to the testimonials form – even if it’s a private contest (yep, now these will show up too, even if the designs don’t). Just make sure to be tactful, and respect the fact that not every client will want to give one.

8. Services

services
ludibes and other Platinum designers enjoy the perk of selling their services in priced-out bundles

As an added perk, when a designer is elevated to Platinum status, they will be able to unlock a “Services” tab. This allows designers to bundle together different design bundles, set their own price and easily initiate 1-to-1 Projects with interested clients faster.

Now, get started on your designer profile!

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