As a content designer, your portfolio is often the first place you send clients/potential employers/relatives who don’t understand what you do. It’s your opportunity to make a first impression—but how do you make sure it’s a great one?
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Creating a content design portfolio can be challenging. There’s so much to consider: communicating the complex work we do, describing complicated projects in a way that shows what you can do without being boring, figuring out how to showcase your samples, whether you have many or few. Working through these questions can cause anxiety and procrastination.
Fortunately, there are tons of examples of great content design portfolios that should give any content designer or UX writer some ideas. The content design portfolios in this article feature a wide range of designs, types of samples, and experience level. They’re sorted into categories, but many of them overlap … and all of them are excellent. So browse through, and come back to the list every time you need to jumpstart your imagination and remind yourself of the possibilities available.
Voice and tone in content design portfolios
Andrew Schmidt leads with this fantastic bio: “I’m a UX writer at Figma, where I put words to buttons and make our software sound just a bit more human.” Short, sweet, funny, and, yes, human. And that style carries through the portfolio. He breaks his work into three simple categories with three examples of each, and rounds out the page with three facets of his life outside of work. I’m tempted to quote everything on the page, but I’ll let you check it out for yourself. This portfolio is a great example of voice, as well as how much you can accomplish with short text and a simple design.
Much as I love to browse content design portfolios, most of them are fundamentally utilitarian. They’re designed to be absorbed as quickly as possible. The Cortex Copywriter site is a place you might want to hang out for a while. With a Lisa Frank color palette, engaging graphics, and a wide suite of services, Cortex Copywriter (aka Nathan Mudaliar) has a lot to offer. In addition to an extensive library of samples and case studies, he shows off his stuff in a truly unique way: you can experience the site in 5 different voice and tone styles. Select corporate, community, technology, luxury, or entertainment to toggle between different copy and design.
Open Sarah Ann’s site, and you’ll see a minimal design. A header, some site navigations, and the following phrase, in large italics: “A writer and design thinker—creating a velvety customer experience in words.” It’s a bold move, giving so much weight to a sentence, and it works, establishing her skill with voice and tone right off the bat. And the rest of the portfolio doesn’t disappoint: Sarah Ann has a large selection of her work, presented in appealing images and simple titles. Click through for case studies with just the right amount of information about what she did, her process, and impact.
Content design portfolios featuring non-traditional projects
Adina Cretu’s portfolio features a wide range of UX writing samples. Several of these are video scripts, which are increasingly part of the UX writer’s job. If you’ve been working with video scripts, and are wondering how to present them, check out this portfolio. Cretu showcases her process, and embeds the video to show the final product. While you’re there, check out the “UX Writer’s Desk” section, where Cretu has curated an extensive set of UX resources.
Voice interfaces are a new frontier in technology—and in content design. But it can be difficult to know how to present something without an obvious visual component. Clem Auyeung’s portfolio includes an excellent write-up of this work creating a voice interface for Capital One. Stick around to check out his other work in UX writing, research, and design. (Also: corgi video.)
Probably the most unconventional content example on this list: the pizza box. Seattle-based writer, editor, and content strategist Rebekah Wolf was the content writer for Pagliacci Pizza for many years, and pizza box copy is indeed included in her portfolio. She also showcases a wide range of more traditional projects. Her “About” page features a narrative resume that takes you through her accomplishments in an engaging way. She presents her projects in an informative and readable way, balancing text and images and providing just the right amount of information.
Style guides don’t actually fall under the category of “non-traditional project.” Creating these documents is frequently part of a UX writer’s job. However, it can be difficult to know how to present them. Marina Posniak’s style guide for the power company Opower is a model of the form (I bookmarked it immediately). She presents it compellingly, with a brief executive summary on the right, and a detailed study, with tons of visual examples, on the left. She also has many other projects featured, so this portfolio is well worth a browse.
Content design portfolios with fewer projects
Simple, yet packed with easily digestible information, Facebook Reality Labs’ content designer Tizzy Asher’s portfolio does an excellent job of communicating her value and skills with minimal clicks. This portfolio does a lot on a single page, showcasing two projects and another offering: her storytelling workshops. She provides enough information to help you understand what she does without cluttering the page. But we’d recommend clicking through – her case studies are clear, detailed, and a pleasure to read.
Aveck, Betsy Mickel’s content studio, features only a few projects, but they pack a punch. Each is displayed with a large, colorful icon, and clicking through takes you to beautifully designed case studies with a nice balance between image and text. She includes testimonials at the bottom of each, which is a nice touch, but even without them, the quality of the work speaks for itself. Displaying a small number of samples helps potential clients find her best work, without being overwhelmed by too many choices.
UX content designer Nikki St.-Cyr’s portfolio features several full-length case studies that are well-organized and detailed. She includes the tools and skills she used in each, to help future clients/employers see what she brings to the table. She also elegantly solves the issue of how to present small projects that don’t merit a full case study. By including a “UX Writing Samples” card in her portfolio, she shows users her smaller samples on a single page, so they can see what she’s done without too many clicks.
Content design portfolios with standout case studies
With projects for Facebook, Chase, IBM, Emirates, and other prominent brands, Tyler Womack could probably rest on the strength of his client list alone. But the San Francisco-based content designer goes further, showing off exactly what he did for those high-profile clients. With tons of images accompanied by brief but effective text, Womack shows his work, thinking, and impact. His case studies are something we can all learn from, whether or not we’ve worked for Facebook.
Facebook content strategist Kasandra Staniscia has an inviting website that gives you a sense of who she is as a person. The projects in her portfolio are titled by project type: content strategy for web, content usability analysis, metadata design, and readability presentation. These aren’t categories – each one only includes one project. But naming projects this way allows potential clients/employers to find the skills they are looking for, and it also allows her clients to stay anonymous if necessary. Also, be sure to check out her description of what a content strategist is.
Riri Nagao’s portfolio starts simple, then moves into great depth, without ever feeling boring or overwhelming. She opens with a straightforward yet engaging headline: “My work in design, research, words.” Be sure to click through her projects to see her Frontier Health case study. She begins with a simple summary, shares a glowing testimonial, then goes deep into every stage of her project. It’s not just a stellar portfolio example, it’s a useful model of how to approach a project.
Content design portfolios featuring multiple projects from one organization
Shakespeare Sim presents his project page in a simple display of large images with short, descriptive titles. This layout lets you browse without inducing cognitive overload. Click through to see extensive yet well-organized case studies. Many of these projects are for one organization, which is a good reminder that even if you’ve only had a small number of employers, you’ve likely done multiple things. Shakespeare Sim also includes articles he’s written alongside his other projects. While some people file work like this in a separate section of their website, this is a useful alternative to consider.
Tom Waterton was one of the first content designers at IBM. That means he has tons of experience, a lot of it at one company. In his portfolio, he showcases the diversity of work he’s done at IBM. He divides his work into three sections: product teams, content guidance, and leading a community of practice. Bonus points for his “what I actually do” breakdown of the content designers role. And new and experienced content designer’s alike can benefit from his many articles, linked on the site.
Any you think we should add to the list? Post them to our Facebook group!
Want more portfolio tips and tricks?
- Check out our article The ultimate UX portfolio resource
- Listen to the podcast episode From case study writing to writing robots
- Also, remember that you need a cover letter! You’ll get some great advice in this podcast episode with Hayley Reynolds
- Last but not least, what about when you land an interview? Check out our 8 tips to ace an interview