I have been employed for five years at the same company working on the same internal web-application. It has evolved considerably with major improvements, design changes, UX updates, etc.

I would like to update my personal portfolio as the work that is currently on it is old and not representative of my current skill level or design sensibility. However, I only have this one web application as an example of "current" abilities. Due to family life, workload and various other factors I have not taken on freelance work.

My question is: would this application broken down into a case study covering different aspects (logo design, UX, workflow, etc) be the most effective way to handle this situation?

This would effectively mean I only have "one" project and I'm afraid this will hurt my chances in trying to obtain freelance now, or new employment in the future.

  • 3
    I have seen several "Mind Blowing" portfolios with a single piece in them. I hired one person on the spot and later another one. It depends on how compelling the work is for the piece. Giotto di Bondone was hired for life with a pension for a single hand-drawn perfect circle by King Robert in 1332.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 16:02

3 Answers 3


You've effectively joined the 9 to 5 job market and must rely on a CV until you can squeeze-in a few contracts to build a reference. That's the trade-off with the job market versus freelancing.

You must start over

I've tried this twice and it's problematic going back and forth between contract work and a salary. Freedom versus Security. You tend to stagnate the breadth of your work at the expense of depth. The larger the company, the greater the difficulty tearing free.

Will your present company allow you to use their IP in your portfolio? There may be a conflict with your disclosure of the company product development. It will give an advantage to their competitors. It might be unethical to reveal your best creative insights.

I decided to teach part-time for security and freelance for the lucrative and challenging brain candy. I have the best of both worlds as each different field complements the short-comings of other.

Deadlines continue to be a challenge, however, as each has its own schedule independent of the other. One is quite stable to balance the fickle direction of the other.

  • I have permission to use the current application in my portfolio, yes. Just replacing the relevant bits of information with placeholders.
    – crichins
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 16:34

In the same situation as you, been working in an e-commerce company for the past 6+ years. when I finally decided to update my portfolio and resume I was faced with the same challenge.

I'd consider working in a single product, thinking longterm, a type of strength in this day and age where people are looking at short-term solutions and quick fixes.

my portfolio more like case studios and was categorized by features, and design skill set that was used in them.

e.g. projects like 1. checkout redesign (ux, user research, visual design), 2 mobile app navigation (visual design, ui design), sale campaign (creative direction, visual design)

overall, I'd looked at myself as someone who provides design-based solutions to real problems faced by the user and company. i also showed before and after comparisons to show how the feature has improved.

the best designs and solutions can stand the test of time. as they need to be thought out long-term. i've seen designers who job hop do great looking designs that while looked great at the time became obsolete pretty soon.


Well you are kind of right.. going freelance is tough with a single portfolio item, be that as complex as it may. Yes, if you only have this one to show off, make it as shiny as possible and hope you get lucky. Post it on Behance and start connecting with people there, so you get some traffic and hopefully some more freelance jobs. Also try finding local clients by showing that one shiny job. If freelance is your aim, you'd better make time and start taking jobs, otherwise you'll get another full time job at best. And a new employer might restrict you from showing their work in your portfolio, in which case you'll just get left with that one single job.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.