A guide to your 99designs profile

A great online portfolio will bring you more work. We’ve developed your 99designs profile page to effectively showcase your best work and introduce you to clients.
Presentation is the key to any professional activity and if there’s one place to make yourself shine on 99designs, it’s on your profile page. Utilize it to the fullest and your profile will be one of your biggest assets — a place to showcase your professionalism and skill to potential clients browsing the site.
 
Take a look at the following tips and see if you’re making the right moves!

1. Profile cover

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 personal design style, since it’s one of the first things clients will see.
 
Make sure your cover design doesn’t distract from the rest of your portfolio 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: Including your email or personal contact information can increase your chances of being subjected to a phishing scam, site policy and conflicts with the “Invite to work” button (which drops you and your client directly into the 1-to-1 Projects workflow).

Profile cover dimensions

  • Suggested size: 2480 x 400 px (for retina displays)
  • Minimum size: 1240 x 200 px
  • Display size: 1240 x 200 px on desktop screens; 540 x 200 px on mobile devices (minimum)

2. Avatar

Your avatar follows you across 99designs. From contests to the Discover page, this is the face clients will see wherever they go. So make sure it’s professional! 
 
There are two approaches that we encourage on 99designs:

A professional photo

 
Put a face to your work! We highly encourage using a high-quality, professional photo of yourself to help build an immediate connection with potential clients (think more LinkedIn than Instagram).
 
Before you snap that selfie, consider hiring a professional photographer. If that’s not in your budget, see if you can borrow a high-quality camera and try some of these tips:
 
  • Take your photo under natural light. You can have the worst camera in the world and still take a stunning photo outside, especially during the golden hour before sunset. 
  • Use a solid background. White is great for a clean minimal feel, but feel free to experiment with other colors.
  • Professional doesn’t mean boring. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality!
  • Don’t use too many filters! They often look less crisp and can quickly become dated.

A branded illustration or logo

 
If you’re not a fan of putting up your photo for everyone to see, consider using your avatar as an extension of your brand. Play off your cover photo and take care with the brandmark you choose—you should put as much thought into this one as you would with a client.
 
Be sure to keep the image simple. Your avatar appears in different sizes across the site and should shrink down without losing too much detail.

Read more about creating a personal brand here.

Avatar dimensions

  • Required: 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

3. Portfolio

 
The portfolio lets you bring your best work front and center. You have complete control over what to feature – so long as it’s not from a private contest.
 
A portfolio isn’t a dumping ground for your latest work, but rather another project that requires skillful design. Be sure to utilize your artistic sensibilities by selecting works that display a diverse array of skills and styles. A portfolio is a design problem and how you choose to solve it speaks volumes about you as a designer.

Here’s a few ways to make your profile pop:

Be consistent

Find a way to present your work in a consistent way. If you’re a logo designer, make sure everything’s the same size. If you’re a book or packaging designer, consider using similar lighting, drop shadows and backgrounds. Consider using a cohesive color palette.
 
This attention to detail not only stands out in your portfolio, but can help brand your work across the site.

Group similar styles together

If you have a distinct style, this is the place to show it off! Grouping work with similar aesthetics in your portfolio can make your work much more powerful.

Don’t forget to crop

There’s only so much you can fit in a thumbnail. For more intricate projects, try zooming in on a specific detail to grab the viewer’s attention. This is your chance to highlight an aspect of your design that’s exceptionally well done. The viewer can then click to view the masterpiece at larger scale.  

Showcase your range

If you have versatile skills or styles, your portfolio is a great place to put a spotlight on them. Filters can help clients zero in on different design categories and your most recent or popular designs.

4. Titles, descriptions & tagging

Now that your portfolio is looking sharp, it’s time to ensure you’re supporting it with the right content. Titles, descriptions and tagging help prospective clients better understand the context of your work and often elevates it from a pretty picture to a design that’s taken seriously.

Title

When you add a design to your portfolio, the title will default to the corresponding contest or project name. Not the best scenario!

Take a moment to give your design a proper name. It shows both pride in your work and professionalism. This small amount of effort can go a long way.

Description

Don’t let your design be taken at face value. It’s crucial to justify your work, whether you’re working with a client or sharing work in your portfolio. A brief explanation allows for much higher understanding and appreciation of your work.

Tagging

Tagging is one of the most essential aspects of 99designs’ designer portfolio and will help you and your work become more discoverable to clients. Think about what clients are searching for and how your work can best match their needs.
 
Do you have a particular style? Try using some of the style tags listed here. Is your design for a specific industry? Try tags like “yoga”, “dental” or “boutique” to apply to a specific niche. Is your work lumped into the “Other” category? Bring it to the surface with tags.   

Remember: There’s a maximum tag amount, so be sure to be thoughtful with the ones you use. Spamming with irrelevant tags will not only match you with the wrong clients, but is considered malicious and will be handled accordingly.

5. About 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 easy to find.

By filling out this section, you can give clients a deeper understanding of your skill level, specialties and professional experience. It’s also a great place to share more of your personality.

Your bio

Don’t shy away from this one! Use a few sentences to share a little more about yourself. What’s your design background? What are your interests? Have you won any notable awards? This is where you can give clients the hard sell and help them get to know you better.

Languages

We have clients from all over the world. Let them know what languages you speak so you can ensure solid communication throughout the design process.

Experience

This is an auto-populated section where we display your important 99designs stats, including contests won, number of 1-to-1 Projects and your response rate. If you want to share experience outside of 99designs, be sure to include it in your bio!

Skills & certifications

These are two more auto-populated sections that show the design categories you specialize in and what you're certified as on 99designs.

6. Client testimonials

Nothing speaks more loudly than an endorsement from an actual client. 
 
If your past clients love to rave about your designs, then our Testimonials section will certainly work in your favor. 
 
After you win a contest or wrap up a 1-to-1 Project, don’t be shy about directing your client to the testimonials form. Don't forget that you can also recieve reviews from private contests (yep, these will show up too, even if the designs don’t).
 
Just remember to be tactful and respect that not every client will want to give one.

7. Services (Top Level only)

As an added perk, when a designer is elevated to Top Level status, they will also be able to unlock a “Services” tab.
 
Services allows Top Level designers to set their own terms by offering up to five custom design services on their profile page. The services include pricing information, turnaround time and details on what the service includes, making it easy to initiate 1-to-1 Projects with clients.
 
Clients will be able to see your Service offerings when they invite you to work, after they leave you a review and in the Services tab on your profile.
 
Learn more about how Services works here.
 

Now that your 99designs profile looks good, get ready to market yourself→