Whether you’re a photographer, illustrator, or graphic designer, having a portfolio that presents your work beautifully is a sure way to help you stand head and shoulders above the competition.
In this simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a portfolio template that can be easily adapted to your own content, complete with a stylish design, front and back cover, masters, and a print-friendly color palette.
So if you’re looking to impress some new clients, make sure to read on to find out how to put together this minimal and stylish portfolio brochure template design. On the other hand, if you're looking to save some time, you can get a portfolio brochure template that's ready to customize, like the one below.
Scroll down after this tutorial on how to make a portfolio to find a selection of top portfolio design templates. And if you're looking for a completely different style for your digital brochure, make sure to check out the range of portfolio templates on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.
What You'll Learn in This Design Portfolio InDesign Tutorial
- How to set up the portfolio document in InDesign
- How to set up the master for your portfolio
- How to add a background color to your portfolio
- How to add images to your portfolio
- How to format typography on your portfolio
- How to export your portfolio for printing
What You’ll Need to Create Your Portfolio
You don’t need much to create a stylish portfolio—after all, it’s your images which will be taking center-stage. You do, however, need access to Adobe InDesign and a stylish font to use on your design:
Download and install the font on your computer.
The images used in the digital brochure design pictured here are:
- Urban fashion girl
- Man in the city
- Fashion model
- Fashion model
- Fashion portrait
- Portrait of beautiful woman
- Close-up portrait
- Beautiful woman staring
- Handsome man with beard
- Biker woman on motorcycle
- Girl on background of sea
1. How to Set Up the Portfolio Document in InDesign
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
With the intent at the top of the window set to Print, choose Letter for the page size, and set the Orientation to Landscape.
Increase the Number of Pages to 10, and make sure Facing Pages is checked.
Set the Top and Outside Margins to 16 mm, the Inside to a more generous 20 mm, and the Bottom Margin to 18 mm.
Add a 5 mm Bleed to all edges of the page except the Inside edge, which should be kept as 0 mm.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s main drop-down menu.
Set the values to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4, and click Add and Done.
Repeat to create two more new swatches, C=49 M=39 Y=38 K=20 and C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1, to rename it Background.
Create three more new layers—Images, Overlays, and Type.
Then lock all the layers except Type, which we’ll work on first.
2. How to Set Up the Master for Your Portfolio
In the Pages panel (Window > Pages), double-click on the A-Master icon at the top to bring it up on screen.
Pull out a guide from the left-hand ruler to 139 mm on the left-hand page of the spread, and a guide from the top ruler down to 106 mm to mark out the center point between the page’s margins.
Select both guides and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste them, moving them over to a mirrored position on the right-hand page.
Select the Type Tool (T) and create a small text frame at the bottom of the left-hand page, centering it on the guide.
Type in ‘- -’.
Set your type cursor between the two dashes and head up to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number.
Set the Font of the text to Bergen Sans Semi Bold, Size 12 pt, Tracking 10 and Align Center.
From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
Copy and Paste the text frame, moving the copy over to the right page, into a mirrored position at the bottom of the page.
In the Pages panel, click on the [None] master icon at the top of the panel to highlight it. Then choose Apply Master to Pages from the panel’s menu.
Type in ‘1-3, 10’ and click OK, to remove page numbers from the front and back cover and the first inside spread.
3. How to Add Background Color to Your Portfolio
Lock the Type layer and unlock the bottom layer, Background.
Double-click on Page 1 in the Pages panel to bring it up on screen. This will be the front cover of your portfolio.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a tall, narrow shape across the left edge of the page, setting the Fill to C=33 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
Scroll down to Page 3, and create a second shape across the whole page, extending the edge up to the bleed and the spine, and setting the Fill to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
Select this shape and Copy it. Scroll down to Page 8 and Paste the shape onto the page.
Scroll down to the final page, Page 10, which will be the back cover of your portfolio, and Paste again. Switch up the Fill to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
4. How to Add Images to Your Portfolio
Head back up to Page 1, the front cover of your portfolio. Lock the Background layer and unlock the Images layer above.
Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame across the right side of the page, extending it up to the bleed edge on the top and bottom.
Go to File > Place, navigate to an image for your cover (in this case, I’m using this close-up portrait), and Open it.
Create a second, smaller image frame on the center of Page 2, placing another image (here, I’ve used this one).
Create another image frame on Page 4, centering the frame using the guides. File > Place, selecting an image with a portrait (not landscape layout), such as this one of a woman on a beach.
Double-click inside the frame to directly select the image, and shuffle its position so that the top half of the image is visible inside the frame.
Copy and Paste the image frame, moving the copy over to the facing page.
Then shuffle the image upwards so that the bottom half of the image is visible in the frame.
Add images to the next spread down, varying the size and layout of your frames to create variety.
On Page 8 and 9, add smaller image frames to the layout, scattering them across the spread.
Lock the Images layer and unlock the layer above, Overlays.
On Page 1, create a shape using the Rectangle Tool (M) over the right side of the image. Set the Fill to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
With the shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency, and set the Mode to Multiply. Click OK.
Copy the shape and head down to Page 6. Paste onto the page, adjust the Fill to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0, and adjust the width and height of the shape, as shown below.
5. How to Format Typography on Your Portfolio
Lock the Overlays layer and unlock the top layer, Type.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame on the front cover, across the center of the image, typing in a title and setting the Font to Bergen Sans Semi Bold, Size 95 pt, and Font Color to [Paper].
Add more text below set in smaller size Bergen Sans, typing in a subtitle.
Add your name to the cover, switching the Font Color to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0. Right-Click > Transform > Rotate the text frame and position it along the left side of the cover.
Scroll down to Page 3. This would be a good place for a contents page or an introductory page.
Format a title set in Bergen Sans Bold, Size 83 pt.
Add body text below set in Bergen Sans Regular, Size 13 pt. Set the text of both frames to Align Right, and flush against the right-hand margin.
You can use both of these text frames as a model for populating other pages.
Copy and Paste both frames together onto other pages in your portfolio.
Add contact details to the back cover of your portfolio, setting the Font to Bergen Sans, as before.
You can also add captions next to your images, set in Bergen Sans Italic, Size 11 pt, and a C=49 M=39 Y=38 K=20 Font Color.
6. How to Export Your Portfolio for Printing
Make sure to File > Save your portfolio. Then go to File > Export.
Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu and name your file. Click Save.
In the Export Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu at the top.
Under the Pages options, make sure Pages is checked, not Spreads.
Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu.
Check both All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings, before clicking Export.
Awesome work! You can send this PDF straight off to be printed professionally at a print shop or online print-on-demand service.
You're Done! You Know How to Create a Portfolio in InDesign
Your portfolio layout is finished—great job! You can easily add more pages to your portfolio brochure template from the Pages panel, or switch up the color swatches and images for a different look.
5 Top Portfolio Brochure Templates From Envato Elements
Now you know how to create a portfolio in InDesign and how to make a portfolio template. But as you know too, making a portfolio in InDesign from scratch can be time-consuming.
If you want to design a portfolio in InDesign and save hours of work, you need professional portfolio templates. And we've got the best from Envato Elements.
If you're a creative who uses design software on a daily basis, you'll find the best value for your money in Envato Elements. This subscription-based marketplace offers you unlimited creative assets like graphic templates, add-ons, premium fonts, and more!
Today we bring you five of the best portfolio design templates to make your job easier. Let's check them out!
1. Photography Portfolio Template (INDD)
If you're a photographer, you know portfolios are a great way to promote your work. And making a portfolio in InDesign will be a piece of cake with this portfolio template.
This minimal and clean photography portfolio template has an elegant design. It's super easy to customize, and it comes with 26 pages in A4 and US Letter.
2. Interior Design Portfolio Template (INDD)
Portfolios are essential for the interior design industry. Get a professional portfolio template that reflects your brand, like this one.
This interior design portfolio template features a clean and polished design. You can edit the 14 pages in A4 or US Letter size and customize this portfolio brochure template to your liking.
3. Sermos Graphic Design Portfolio Template (INDD)
Sermos is another fantastic option if you need a graphic design portfolio template. This professional portfolio template stands out with its clean design and straight lines.
This portfolio design template includes 20 fully customizable A4 pages and uses free fonts.
4. Lonest Photography Portfolio Template (INDD)
Gain more customers with this stylish photography portfolio template. You can customize the colors and typography to match your brand.
This portfolio design template features 40 custom pages in A4 and US Letter, and it's based on master pages.
5. Graphic Design Portfolio Template (INDD)
Looking for a portfolio template with a clean design? Check out this graphic design portfolio template.
This complete portfolio brochure template features 60 pages with a minimal and clean layout. You can adapt this professional portfolio template to a lot of purposes thanks to its great features.
Design a Portfolio in InDesign Today!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial about how to create a portfolio in InDesign. We covered the steps for making a portfolio in InDesign, and we also showed you top professional portfolio templates that are ready to use.
If you're looking for a completely different style for your portfolio, make sure to check out the range of portfolio templates on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. And if you're looking for more inspiration, don't miss our selection of InDesign templates for creatives:
- Adobe InDesignA to Z of InDesign: Tips, Tricks, & Hacks!Daisy Ein
- InDesign TemplatesHow to Make a Booklet in InDesignLaura Keung
- NewsprintHow to Make a Newspaper Template in InDesignGrace Fussell
- Adobe InDesignHow to Make an InDesign Catalog TemplateGrace Fussell
- Flyers42 Best InDesign Template TutorialsLaura Keung
- Adobe InDesign20 Best Free InDesign Templates With Creative Layout Design Ideas 2021Andrew Childress
- InDesign Templates25+ Best InDesign Calendar Templates (New for 2022)Melody Nieves
- Booklet44 Best Booklet Templates (Custom Booklet Design in PDF, PSD, Word, InDesign)Nona Blackman
- Templates60+ Time-Saving Print Templates for Adobe InDesign & PhotoshopGrace Fussell
- InDesign Templates50+ InDesign Templates Every Designer Should OwnGrace Fussell
Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Maria Villanueva. Maria is the Associate Editor of the Tuts+ Design channel.