Create a Killer Portfolio with These Top 9 Design Trends

Create a Killer Portfolio with These Top 9 Design Trends

Written by Anthony Del Gigante
A bachelor's degree in graphic design is one of the best ways to learn design principles and start a path to a creative job in an exciting field. These degree programs also help you make connections that will serve you well as you begin your career. At MDG Advertising, we love working with new designers and the fresh ideas they bring. Talented design graduates move our field forward and help to communicate in innovative ways.

Whether you're just beginning to investigate degree programs or your studies are well underway, you should be thinking about creating your design portfolio. This collection of your best work will show potential employers how you've implemented all that you've learned in your studies. The selection of work for your portfolio is an important task that requires careful thought and planning. 

As you choose work for your portfolio, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’ve mastered graphic design basics. At the same time, you should show that you keep up with today’s design trends. 

The design experts at MDG Advertising have identified nine big trends for 2019. Here’s how to incorporate them into your work to put together a killer design portfolio.

1. Mellow—but vibrant—colors

Pantone has chosen Living Coral as their 2019 Color of the Year. Overall, today’s on-trend colors tend to be striking, but not strong. Try to locate work for your portfolio that highlights this balance. Show that you aren't afraid of using color in your designs, even if it's not a typical attention-grabbing pop. Color should uplift a design without overpowering it.

2. Unique Fonts

After a few years of clear, readable, sans-serif fonts like Apple uses, current trends are swinging away from minimalistic typography. This gives you a chance to highlight pieces you've created by using more ornamental typefaces. A unique font choice in a headline, billboard, or title lets you demonstrate this on-trend design choice.

3. Huge text

Along with more unique font choices, we’re also noticing the trend of using very large text in designs. Choose a piece that uses huge text in combination with small text to make a big impact.

4. Gradients

For the past several years, gradients have been prominent in graphic design and we see no signs of this changing. Don’t be afraid to showcase unique gradients that you’ve created in your own work. You can also show how you've used a gradient in a functional design, like a welcome screen or landing page.

5. Open composition

Designs that extend outside of a frame instead of remaining within it make a powerful statement. We love the way these designs spark curiosity and let audiences use their imaginations to wonder what’s beyond the frame. As you’re choosing pieces for your portfolio, find a few that use open composition. This is an excellent way to show that you can stretch beyond the expected.

6. Real-life dimensional objects mixed with flat design

We think this trend can help you create some visually stunning art for your portfolio. Flat design, which has been popular for years, is being mixed with dimensional objects in new and exciting ways. The combination of dimensional objects gives these designs an abstract, yet modern, feel. If you’ve designed a piece like this, make it a centerpiece of your portfolio.

7. Subtle movement

Movement in digital designs is eye-catching, but it doesn’t have to be excessive. Subtle movement draws attention without being distracting. If you have a piece that includes subtle movement, including it your portfolio will show that you know how to implement this current trend.

8. Create Icons

Turning real-life objects into icons is an important skill for any graphic designer to master. Be sure your portfolio includes some examples of unique ways you've been able to incorporate unusual icons into your work. Original icon designs let you play with your favorite themes and subjects. Include these icon sets in your portfolio and use them to demonstrate that you can make variations of a common theme.

9. Illustrations

Design majors often do hand sketching as they work. Using illustrations in your designs lets you highlight the more organic hand-drawn art you’ve created. Even if you prefer more polished digital art, find ways to incorporate illustrations or rough lines in your designs. Don’t be afraid to celebrate the imperfections in your art and showcase them in new ways in your portfolio.


Anthony Del Gigante, Chief Creative Officer at MDG Advertising
Anthony Del Gigante is chief creative officer at MDG Advertising, a traditional ad/branding agency made digital, with offices in Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York. Over the years, his unique talents in brand strategy, visual identity development, and brand activation have consistently delivered measurable results for a wide range of world-renowned clients, including American Express, Verizon, AbbVie, and Cushman Wakefield. A brand specialist, Anthony leads MDG’s creative development, working with clients to develop creative, strategic, and functional solutions for their brands.