There's no single right way to do it when it comes to presenting your graphic design portfolio. Every designer has their own priorities for their portfolio; some want to hit visitors straight away with the all-important work, others prefer to introduce themselves and their practice in a more gentle and thoughtful way, and yet more would rather go for their own unique, attention-grabbing approach.
However you do it, a strong portfolio is one of the best ways to drum up work (although don't forget the importance of knowing how to network (opens in new tab)), and if you're stuck for an angle for showcasing your own projects, we've got some helpful inspiration for you. Here are six of this year's best design portfolios (opens in new tab), each with their own different approaches and unique touches; take a look through them, see what appeals to you and use what you think works best when you're crafting a portfolio that reflects your own work.
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It would be remiss of us to talk about 2019's best graphic design portfolios without covering one of this year's biggest pieces of agency news: Jessica Walsh parting company with Stefan Sagmeister and launching her own operation, &Walsh (opens in new tab).
Notable for being part of just 0.1 per cent of creative agencies founded by women – and for its hard-working collection of 50 custom ampersands - &Walsh has a portfolio site that's big and bold, showcasing a selection of colourful client work as well as its own headline-grabbing branding.
While it's essential to provide information about your process in your portfolio, it's the imagery that hooks people in; it's good to lead with that, and then follow up with all the relevant case study information.
That's the approach that Sawdust (opens in new tab) has taken with its minimal portfolio site; the award-winning London studio prides itself on creating work that's both explorative and beautifully crafted, and each page focuses on the images, presenting you with an image-only slideshow with plenty of details on display, until you click through to the last slide where you'll find some project details.
03. Julie Bonnemoy
A freelance designer based in Amsterdam and Paris, Julie Bonnemoy (opens in new tab) creates brand identities, websites, packaging, retail concepts, illustrations and everything in-between. Her portfolio site provides an irresistible window on her work, using assorted scrolling and parallax effects to bring images into view, as well as a stunning ripple transition as you scroll through the headings on her main project page.
What we really love, though, is the opener: a virtual lava lamp, with big gradient-shaded vector blobs floating and morphing around the welcome text, which is guaranteed to get you scrolling down to find out more.
Rand (opens in new tab) is the Nagoya-based studio of art director and graphic designer Naohiro Kamiya, and if you enjoyed the blobbiness of Julie Bonnemoy's portfolio then you're just as likely to get a kick out of his portfolio website.
Full of gentle movement, the main index page invites you to scroll or drag through a selection of projects encased in gently morphing bubbles that ripple as you click on them before expanding into more detailed project pages. While the dedicate portfolio page is a big field of bubbles that you drag your way around, clicking on interesting-looking items for more information. A joy to navigate, Kamiya's portfolio is a fine exercise in providing plenty of visual interest while never losing sight of the work.
05. Jo Mor
A Montreal-based designer specialising in web and identity design, Jo Mor (opens in new tab) has a site that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to in-your-face typography, parallax and split-screen effects, but what we really love about it is Jo's sense of humour that runs all the way through the site.
When he's talking about his identity work for a chiropractor and opens with the opinion that chiropractors are new-age charlatans, you know you're on to someone interesting, and this tone's a great way to keep you clicking through all his projects. Humour's a tricky thing to get right; try too hard or hit the wrong notes and you're likely to put people off, but Mor pretty much nails it. Mostly.
06. David McGillivray
Hiring a designer can be a daunting prospect for many clients, so we're sure that David McGillivray (opens in new tab)'s innovative approach to his design portfolio must be a welcome sight for many visitors. Rather than lead with the imagery – which is always enticing but doesn't actually tell a client much about the process of working with a designer – McGillivray lays everything on the line in a text-based opener that details who he is, what he does, how he works and, crucially, what he's likely to charge.
It's a refreshingly open attitude, and thankfully it doesn't skimp on the imagery either; simply mouse over the entries in the right-hand index column and the text is replaced by project images, and clicking through takes you to more detailed case studies that give you an insight into McGillivray's work.
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