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Ingenious Hack Turns Instagram Into A Design Portfolio Site

Move over, Behance!

As a designer, a good portfolio is a must. Being clever–without going too far–can set you apart when people are considering hiring you. And platforms like Behance and Dribbble are a great way to get started without too much work. But there’s another perfect portfolio site hiding in plain site: Instagram.

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Ji Lee, a designer who works on creative strategy at Facebook and Instagram, recently launched a portfolio entirely on Instagram as a personal project. The grid of Instagram’s UI became the foundation for his portfolio, where each post on the grid becomes almost like a menu for a particular project Lee is working on. Each post has tags that link out to other Instagrams, where Lee is constantly updating his work. “This method is much easier than updating a portfolio website, which tends to be time-consuming and dull,” he tells Co.Design via email.

. Tap the image ????Then click the tag ???? Three dimensional alphabet

A post shared by Personal Projects by Ji Lee (@jileeprojects) on

The posts are all labeled, which makes navigation simple–some posts have broader labels like “Editorial Art” while others call out specific projects. Click on a post, and you can often scroll through photos of that project using Instagram’s relatively new slide-show function. Lee also tags the posts with another one of his Instagram accounts, so you can explore projects in more detail. For instance, tap on his project “Univers Revolved 3D Alphabet,” and you’ll see a tag called “univers_revolved.” If you click on it, the tag takes you to an entire Instagram account dedicated to the project.

Lee also has traditional portfolio site, pleaseenjoy.com, but he found that fewer and fewer people were visiting it over time. “Many creatives use Instagram to share their work so their Instagram ends up becoming their main creative channel and site so to speak,” Lee says. “With this in mind, I wanted to create a proper portfolio site by hacking the Instagram grid where I can feature all my past work.”

[Screenshot: Ji Lee/@jileeprojects]
Lee hopes others steal his hack and Instagram becomes a more established place for creatives to put up their portfolios–especially because everyone’s already on the platform anyway. The best part? It’s free.

“I want many people to use this hack, especially students and young designers who can’t afford paying for a site,” he says. “I also think studios, agencies, and brands can adopt this hack, too. It’s a good way to gather all their projects, expressions, products, and service into one place.”

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About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture.

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