So I worked with a community service type of client for pretty cheap last summer and created a really gorgeous design for a mobile shower they rolled out this last fall. They have since changed my design drastically, printed it in a completely different way and added the word "trailer" which I insisted on more than one occasion they should omit.

I am currently putting together my portfolio and I want to include the design that I created; I was thinking I might create a photorealistic 3D model of what the assets should have looked like.

The question is: should I include how they ultimately decided to use it? Should I say anything about it?

3 Answers 3


Any piece I use in my portfolio is used as it was delivered to the client.

While I've been fortunate the last few years and have had considerable control over client revisions and changes, it's common practice for many clients to alter work later. Especially web work.

When showing my portfolio, I simply explain all pieces are as delivered to clients and alterations outside my control may have been made since the initial project was completed and delivered. Everyone seems to understand.


Your portfolio showcases your best work, even if it's not ultimately used by your client. Some portfolio reviewers insist that work shown be client work, not simply speculative or personal exploration. I favor showing your best regardless of source, as this is what demonstrates your capabilities. If a person asks 'is this the design used by your client?' you can simply state that your portfolio piece is an alternate version not selected. This shouldn't be an issue -- we all get it that a client can make a mess of our best work, and this is often out of our control.

  • There is a valid reason many reviewers prefer to see client work and not speculative work (beyond student portfolios). Real, live, client work shows very important problem solving abilities which simply do not appear with speculative work. If a client chooses an iteration they like and you prefer a different iteration, then your choice is irrelevant. Using your preferred iteration is largely no different than making up projects for yourself. The portfolios should absolutely show your best work.. but within the constrictions of actual work delivered and used by clients whenever possible.
    – Scott
    Dec 30, 2019 at 21:58

Many times clients will take work and turn it upside down internally.

This may happen the next day, or after 6 months and when it does, its generally their decision and nothing to do with what you delivered 6 months ago. Presumably, having paid for the work, they own the work, so they can do anything to it, with or without asking for your opinion.

I'd just show what was delivered and paid for, and not worry too much about their internal changes. They could change it again next month.

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.