When a client is looking for a designer, like you, on Upwork, their first stop is your profile. Your designer profile is how you showcase your expertise and attract dream clients. Think of your profile as the story of your design career. As you take on new projects and learn new skills, your story evolves—and your profile should evolve with it.
Who are you as a designer? Take a moment to think about your unique skill set, what you've accomplished professionally, and why you're the best person for the job. Here are eight profile tips for creating a winning Upwork design profile to attract clients and increase your marketability.
Table of Contents:
1. Build your brand with a professional photo
Your profile picture is your first impression with a potential client. As a creative, showing a bit of personality is okay as long as it's still professional. Every piece of your profile helps to build your personal brand.
Profile picture checklist: Is your profile photo…?
• In focus
• Using a high-resolution
• Set against a plain background
• Free of illustration (It's against Upwork policy)
Check out this graphic design profile picture for inspiration!
2. Choose the most suitable design title
Titles give a prospective client a high-level summary of your expertise. Clients should have a good understanding of what you do based on your title. Design titles can be confusing since many design roles share similar responsibilities. A graphic designer title for Upwork could have many different definitions and areas of specialty.
Make it easier for clients to understand what you do by explaining the type of designer you are and the kind of work you can deliver. Keep your title short and impactful—we recommend fewer than ten words.
Types of Designers
Here are some broad descriptions to help you craft your title:
Graphic Designer: focuses on visual communication and uses software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They use typefaces, hierarchy, color, images, and placement to create a visual design. Some graphic designers specialize in logos or visual branding. Work may involve webpage mockups, graphics, branding guidelines, style guides, etc.
Web/Interactive Designer: concentrates on a website's visual design and features by creating mockups and responsive designs. They use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and some may know HTML and CSS and understand front-end web development. Certain designers specialize in content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress or Drupal. Others may use drag-and-drop site builders to create websites or mockups.
UI Designer: defines how different elements like buttons or menus behave and how people use them to navigate the site on the front end. Work may involve interface layouts, interface designs, visual designs, interaction designs, and visual guidelines. Mobile UI designers focus on mobile apps and mobile versions of websites.
UX Designer: focuses on the user's holistic experience. They explore how users interact with the product. UX designers make sure the experience is user-friendly from start to finish. Work may involve user research (including user testing and face-to-face interviews), task analyses, field research and detailed analytics, content strategies, user persona development, information architecture, wireframes, prototypes, and layouts. A mobile UX designer focuses on mobile apps and mobile versions of websites.
Motion Graphics Designer: creates complex graphics, animation, and videos and works on conceptualizing, storyboarding, editing, etc. They use software such as Apple Motion, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid, Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Cinema 4D. Work may involve title and post-production, multimedia campaigns, promotional videos, animated illustrations, computer artwork, and more.
Animation Designer: brings 2D and 3D images to life for TV, movies, video games, and other media. They typically create characters and add visual effects. Animators use software like Cinema 4D, Adobe InDesign, Adobe After Effects, 3D Studio Max, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and UX wireframes.
Brand/Product Designer: oversees the creation of a product with an added marketing angle. They often act as intermediaries between designers, engineers, researchers, and other stakeholders. Brand and product designers often use tools like Sketch, Invision, and Adobe XD.
Interior Designer: focuses on the inside of residential and commercial spaces, making them more functional and aesthetically pleasing with decor and other details. Interior designers often use tools like Adobe Capture, SketchUp, and Autodesk 3ds Max to create mockups for clients.
Industrial Designer: creates concepts for products, paying attention to appearance and functionality. They often work with engineering, marketing, and product experts to develop prototypes and determine marketability. Commonly used tools include Keyshot, SolidWorks, and Autodesk 3ds Max.
Art and Illustrator Designer: specializes in 2D art for books, magazines, websites, advertisements, and more. Illustrators may use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and Vectornator to create digital renderings.
3. Showcase your expertise in the overview section
Your profile overview is your elevator pitch to potential clients. Why should a client choose you over another independent professional? Tell your story as a designer. Start by describing your real-world experience, design approach or philosophy, the types of clients you've worked with, and the work you're most passionate about.
Your overview should help clients answer these questions:
- What is your design specialty, niche, or area of focus?
- Which professional experiences or previous projects are you most proud of and best highlight your expertise? Include years of experience and well-known companies or agencies you've worked with.
- What type of work or projects are you interested in?
- Who are you passionate about working with?
Keep it concise. You can show more of your expertise in the skills section.
4. Think of your portfolio as your greatest hits
Actions speak louder than words. The portfolio section is the most critical section of an Upwork designer profile. Clients can see your best projects and get a sense of your design style. Spending the time to put together a great portfolio is well worth it so you can win proposals and get noticed by clients.
Present the type of work you want to get. In design, perception is reality. What type of designer are you (or do you want to be)? If you want to specialize in a specific area, choose your best projects highlighting these skills, whether WordPress design, UI design, or design for a particular industry, such as e-commerce websites. You don't have to choose just one. If you have multiple areas of expertise, your portfolio should reflect your wide range of skills.
Make the best first impression possible. Pick your favorite and highest-quality pieces and place them in the first four tiles. You want prospective clients to see your best work, front and center. Showcase only your absolute best and most representative work! You don't need to use any samples you aren't super proud of. Link your portfolio to completed contracts, so future clients see your positive feedback.
Tell a story visually or in words. Turn each portfolio piece into a case study. Upload multiple screenshots and descriptions for each tile. Make sure to categorize your item under the most relevant title (e.g., Web & Mobile Design vs. Graphic Design). Walk potential clients through your process and paint a clear picture of your role. Include the tools and technologies you used both in the project description and the project skills section.
Keep it fresh. Update your portfolio as you finish new projects and retire pieces that no longer represent your best work. Make sure you have permission from your clients before you post any work you’ve done for them! If you maintain a personal portfolio, make sure it links back to your Upwork profile and you keep it updated with your latest work.
5. Prioritize your most important skills in the skills section
Make the most out of the skills section by adding new skills as you develop them or take on new projects. Don't forget to remove old skills as they become outdated. Place your strongest and most relevant skills in the front. Make sure you select the skills you are best at. Skills can include overarching themes (e.g., web design, UI design, graphic design) or specific design tools (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Bootstrap, wireframing).
6. Link other accounts to your Upwork profile
Linking your Upwork account to your Behance, Dribbble, DeviantArt, and LinkedIn accounts will establish your online presence and enable Upwork to match you to jobs better. Build a cohesive online brand identity as a designer.
7. Show off your success stories in your employment history
Use this section to highlight projects you've worked on while on Upwork and before joining.
If you're new to freelancing, add information about your past professional history. Highlight if you've worked with top creative agencies or any large clients to establish credibility.
Those with Upwork experience should feature any long-term work or noteworthy projects to demonstrate expertise. Each position should include a brief description of your responsibilities and examples of successful projects.
Tip: Make sure your profile is up to date and has your latest projects and skills to attract top talent. Double-check for spelling and grammar mistakes while editing.
8. Get help from a pro
The first step in winning the clients you've been dreaming about is creating the perfect designer profile. Your designer profile should clearly describe what type of work you do and show great examples of your best designs.
Starting from scratch? If you still need to create your Upwork profile, take it step by step and start by filling in the basic information. After you've completed your profile, you can work on making it stand out with these Upwork profile tips.
If you don't love your current profile, have a User Profile Creation Expert help with the finishing touches. These independent professionals have experience creating Upwork profiles that win projects and attract clients.
Top designer profile examples
The key to winning proposals and working with top clients is to create a stellar design profile. After reading your profile, future clients should know exactly what type of design work you do. They've taken a look at your best projects and can tell whether or not you'd be a good fit for their project. Check out the profiles of these Expert-Vetted and Top Rated Upwork designers:
Profile Example 1
Ceyda P. is an Expert-Vetted visual designer specializing in Deck + Identity Design. Ceyda's profile overview section shows personality and customization with emojis but is still professional. The overview highlights her unique background in architecture and human-centric design and how that relates to her overall style. She emphasizes the type of clients she's worked with in the past and her specific skill set. A potential client landing on Ceyda's profile would have a great understanding of the type of design work she does.
Profile Example 2
Antoine M. is a Top Rated Plus multimedia designer specializing in illustrations and video editing. In the overview section, Antoine describes his passion for design and lets prospective clients get to know him better. He shows a highlight reel of his best work in the introductory video. Antoine's portfolio showcases the different styles and types of designs he can create.
Profile Example 3
Marcela V. is a Top Rated Plus graphic designer specializing in Illustration. In her overview, Marcela talks about the type of work that inspires her and what kind of projects she's worked on for clients on Upwork. She notes the tools she uses but lets her work speak for itself with a robust portfolio of samples and a time-lapse video of her illustrating. Marcela's samples show her range of work, from watercolors to wine labels, along with positive feedback from clients. Prospective clients get a clear sense of her design style and the type of work she's best at.
Work as a designer or hire one
Ready to start your Upwork journey? Join the world's work marketplace and work as an independent designer. Clients on Upwork are looking for many different types of designers. As you complete each successful project, you'll build your reputation and portfolio so that you can keep landing the clients of your dreams.
Need some design help? Find the right designer for your project on Upwork. You’ll find many independent design experts who can't wait to start creating for their next client. Meet designers that are genuinely passionate about what they do.
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