Design portfolios come in all shapes and sizes, whether you're an illustrator, graphic designer or web-savvy developer. These 25 inspiring examples are some of the best of the bunch.
The internet is full of thousands upon thousands of awe-inspiring design portfolios. To enable you to stand out in this tough market, it's important to make your online portfolio as impressive as you can.
It's not just the examples of work that need to blow away your potential clients (although they do help) it's the way that they're presented. You don't have to be a superstar web designer; a touch of creativity and innovative thinking will get you a long way. And there are plenty of free online tools, such as Behance, to help you build a portfolio without any coding knowledge.
So, check out these 25 inspiring examples of online design portfolios, both for individual designers and design agencies - to help you angle your own in just the right way...
01. Frank Chimero
Frank Chimero is a designer and illustrator based in Missouri with clients including The New York Times, Nike, Wired, Facebook and many others. He believes great design comes from sharp thinking and reflective practice and every solution creates unexpected problems. His online portfolio is minimalistic, which makes it easy to navigate. We love the overlaid imagery that displays his portfolio of work.
02. Studio Airport
Studio Airport is a design agency based in the Netherlands, with a strong online presence embracing airport graphics, large photographs and strong typography. We love the little animated reordering of contents that takes place in its Projects section when you switch options in the left-hand menu.
03. Paul Currah
Paul Currah is an award-winning multi-disciplinary graphic designer, delivering creative, innovative and engaging solutions to communication problems across brand identity, print, packaging, environmental, and digital. His portfolio is a clean and simple offering, with each project photo fading in and out, showcasing different aspects of the creation.
Teacake is a quintessentially British, inventive and conscientious design studio. Its online portfolio instantly catches your attention with its yellow backdrop and large imagery. Navigating through the site you see a strong and diverse portfolio of work. Our only plea would be for the trackpad to allow for horizontal scrolling through the content.
Smart! is a multidisciplinary team of professionals in graphic design, communication and information technology that have two offices in Buenos Aires and Perú.
Their online portfolio has a simple structure, with the grey turning to full colour once you hover over each project. We love that the selected images from each project are presented in a horizontal line.
06. Olly Gibbs
Olly is a London based, multi-disciplined designer and illustrator who has already worked with the likes of Warner Bros, Muse, and The Salvation Army. It's the attention to detail within his portfolio that really makes it stand out.
The sense of fun immediately showcases Olly's personality, whilst the typography and lay-out makes it work aestheically. We especially love the 'About' section.
Pollen are strategists and innovators, as much as as they are designers. They have developed a format that allows them to work closely with clients as creative partners, engaging the target audience and driving results. Pollen have a beautiful structured website, comparable to editorial layouts. We’re a big fan of the chunky yet simplistic footer.
Working as a team of 58 creative individuals, Viget have got some impressive projects under their belt. Set up by brothers Brian Williams and Andy Rankin and their Dad, Wynne 'Pop' Williams, Viget Labs was established back in 1999 when the internet was changing.
The portfolio showcases just how important photography and user experience is within this industry. They're able to showcase their work in a stunning fashion that allows potential clients to really get a feel for the agency.
09. Laureano Endeiza
Laureano is based in San Luis, Argentina and has been working as a web designer for almost a decade. Although his portfolio is pretty simple, it's the brilliant illustrated wire and circuits that make all the difference.
Each wire connects to a different project, which shows off Laureano's hard work. The wire connecting to the sites also coincides with each project's colours, which works as a perfect finish.
10. Super Awesome
With a name like Super Awesome, you'd expect this web design agency's portfolio to be pretty, well, awesome. And it's safe to say that it most certainly is!
Making sites not suck since 2007, the layout of each project allows the user to gain an insight into each aspect of the web page. We love that the site isn't afraid to produce statements such as 'portfolios are boring' and 'we don't do meetings'. Bold, super awesome stuff.
11. I'm Tawn
In a world of quick clickers and impatient scrollers, it's important to instantly grab the attention of your potential clients. Too much text on the homepage could scare away the curious, so it's a good idea to entice them with an image. Here, Ashleigh Downer does just that with a quirky landing page before showcasing her incredible collections. Remember, you want to make your visitors click and you can't help but do just that with this portfolio.
12. Small Studio
Small Studio is an award winning creative agency, founded in Melbourne in 2007 by directors Paul Kotz and Todd Proctor. Describing themselves as 'design adventurers', this online portfolio is an adventure for any user.
The horizontal scrolling already enables the portfolio to stand out from the rest, with each section of the site within easy reach. It also looks pretty great on a tablet!
Bleed state that they "represent a mix of cultures and disciplines to challenge today’s conventions around art, visual language, interaction, media and identity". This mode of thinking is implemented within their online projects, full screen imagery and large type engage the user whilst scrolling through the site. We love they have included a manifesto at the end - nice touch.
14. Kendra Schaefer
As soon as you stumble upon Kendra's site, you're immediately presented with this image and we love it! There's nothing better than showing off your personality and sense of humour.
Not only is it great photography; the colours, typography, and statement, "This is how I feel when I'm not making the internet. Luckily, I make websites for a living", will instantly etch Kendra in your memory.
15. Cast Iron Studio
With a name like 'Cast Iron Studio', you're going to need a pretty vintage looking portfolio. Thankfully, this design studio does just that but with some creative flair.
Using the simple grid structure, the site oozes class with the use of traditional, vintage-looking typography and complementary colours.
This is an online portfolio that really stands out from the crowd. DJNR crafted this highly interactive site, which includes a GIF of a working day that coincides with the bar running at the bottom of the page.
There's also music and a highly eye-catching colour scheme. You can browse through all the projects on one page, which includes development, games, animation and design. It was even a FWA site of the day!
17. Gareth Strange
The phenomenon of Pinterest has meant a huge rise in Pinterest-style layouts. Whilst some may grit their teeth at the sight of yet another 'copycat', graphic designer Gareth Strange manages to make this one his own. The homepage directly focuses on his illustrations, with the colours nicely complementing each other. The visitor is able to immediately gauge Gareth's design approach, which certainly makes for a successful portfolio.
18. Emil Olsson
When you first stumble onto Emil Olsson's portfolio, it may not seem the most impressive of sites. However, once you start scrolling - and we all love a good scroll - it quickly becomes sleek, stylish and highly original. Today, more and more of us are visiting websites via our smartphones and tablets, so it only a matter of time before designers showcased their examples of work on the little gadgets... on their websites. We think it works extremely well but what are your thoughts?
19. Steven Bonner
Steven Bonner is a bonafide illustrator, whose work deserves to be splashed across any screen. Thankfully his online portfolio - designed by Mike Sullivan and David Cole does just that. Laid out in a lovely Pinterest-ish fashion, you're able to hover over each image to gain insight into the brief and Steven's original ideas. It's a fantastic addition to the design that enables the user to really get to know Steven's style. You can also change the layout with a simple click of a button if the array of images is a bit too much for you.
20. Ion Drimba Filho
Now this is certainly a new take on the online portfolio. Created using Flash by designer Ion Drimba Filho, it's an interactive, revolving cube! You can hover over each image to highlight the example and click on it to read more about the project. Allowing your user to interact with your work is always a bonus and this one works perfectly. Very nice indeed.
21. Jesse Willmon
This playful portfolio comes from designer Jesse Willmon. As soon as you arrive on the homepage, the site alludes an instant sense of fun whilst still managing to showcase the examples of work in an innovative way. Its cute approach allows the visitor to feel welcome, with its chatty tone, felt-tip font and colourful icons. It only gets better once you click on the links as the style continues throughout.
22. Odd Web Things
Odd Web Things certainly lives up to its name by portraying its portfolio in a somewhat unusual way. Instead of images, web designer Peter Godek showcases his portfolio using numbers - with an image appearing every time you hover over one of them. Once you click on an image, the right to left scrolling continues with the example in full. The site is easy to navigate, fun and fresh.
23. Seymour Powell
You can enter this site in both HTML and Flash, which allows the visitor to see the portfolio in any way they choose. We were curious enough to check out the Flash version and boy, is it awesome! Firstly, you're presented with a stack of business cards entitled 'Seymour Powell in seven clicks'. What ensues is pretty self-explanatory but it's one of the most original portfolio presentations we've ever witnessed.
24. Lounge Lizard
Website design and marketing agency Lounge Lizard has been making waves on the design circuit for almost 15 years. Describing themselves as 'brandtenders', this bar-themed portfolio is the perfect execution of their work and style. It gets even better once you click the 'Games' or 'Mobile Apps' icons, with the examples portrayed on an iPad you have to turn on yourself and another you have to feed money to. A truely impressive, highly interactive portfolio.
New York based graphic designer and artist Tim Lahan presents his portfolio in a simple yet stunning way. The important logo and information stays firmly at the top of your screen as you scroll through his colourful examples of work. The drawings and designs are also perfectly laid out to really show them off; with no framing or barriers to distract the visitor or alter the work's effect. Sometimes, simplicity really is the key.
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Have you seen any awesome design portfolios? Or maybe you'd like to share yours? Let us know in the comments box below!