Many designers produce a lot more content than what they show on their portfolio. This is for good reason because if you’re making a career out of design – you produce a lot of content. But sometimes years can go by and the designer’s portfolio will look the same. Why?
When you have a stable job, the need for a portfolio goes to the sidelines. When I had a full-time job in an office for a year and a half, I updated my portfolio once, and that was when I was aware I would be quitting soon.
Some projects have a non-disclosure agreement, so it can’t be showcased. I have produced content for clients that has information that the general public was not allowed to know (i.e, specific address listed on an employee newsletter).
One particular style
Designers often try to showcase a particular style that they like designing in so new clients can get an idea of the style the designer likes and is best at producing. Many clients will place countless revisions on a designer’s project to the degree that it’s no longer something the designer is proud of showcasing (i.e, the client insisted on an ugly color palette or font – >cough<comic sans>cough<).
Less is More
Designers might have too much similar content, so just one good example should stand in the place of 50+ variations of it. You don’t want to overwhelm potential employers with a huge portfolio the same way you don’t want to overwhelm employers with a 10+ page resume.
Designers who get imposter syndrome issues might feel nervous about updating their portfolio because they are still nervous about what others will think of their work. They second guess often and feel it’s better not to open up to new criticism.
As designers refine their skills, it’s good to update their portfolios at least annually. It could also be a good motivator when you see how far you’ve come from your last update.