6 of the best freelance portfolios of 2016

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Let’s start by making one thing clear. As a freelancer, you don’t have to have a super-impressive portfolio site, replete with bells, whistles and parallax scrolling effects. At the end of the day, it’s all about the work you post there. After all, if even some of the most famous designers can use a cookie cutter service like Behance to present their portfolio, there’s no reason the rest of us can’t. 

That said if you do have the time, energy and budget to create a bespoke portfolio site that itself showcases your unique approach to design and understanding of UX, then it’s not exactly going to harm your chances of finding work.  

If that’s something you’re considering doing, it’s useful to check out what other freelancers have done with their portfolio sites. Here are six examples, all launched this year, that all serve as a source of creative inspiration... 

01. Lionel Durimel

Lionel Durimel’s nav is unusual, but immediately intuitive

Lionel Durimel is a freelance art director and designer from Paris who works across print and digital design, brand identity and interactive experiences. Working with agencies such as Immersive Garden, Bonhomme and Antro, he’s also part of the Awwwards Jury. 

His portfolio site, launched last month, was designed by freelance interactive developer Kevin Boudot and its navigation system is at once highly original and very intuitive. Hover over the project titles on the opening page and the hero images pop up; click on one then continue to scroll through his entire portfolio of work.

02. Sean J Klassen

There’s a magazine-style approach to the presentation of Sean Klassen’s work

A designer currently living in Denver, Colorado, Sean Klassen combines his passion for design and technology to create interactive experiences, applications, and marketing for some of the biggest brands in the world. Previously the co-founder of Legwork, he’s recently set off on his own to focus on new opportunities in UX, UI, and product design.

Another site with an original take on navigation, Klassen’s homepage lists three recent projects in the left hand pane, in a similar style to a magazine contents page. Clicking on each brings up on the right a nicely art-directed series of project assets, typography and explanations of how the brief was fulfilled. 

Below the three sections are two more, one covering Klassen’s work with Legwork, another showcasing miscellaneous design projects.

03. Theis Bothmann

Theis Bothmann’s love of colour comes shining through his one-page portfolio site

Theis Bothmann is a Danish photographer based in Copenhagen who loves colour, nature and straight lines. And it’s his love of colour that’s conveyed most strongly by this beautifully minimalist, one-page portfolio site. Presenting six of his pieces in an unusual way (inside rectangles stylishly truncated at an angle) is simple but supremely effective, and the selection of work is spot-on in portraying what Bothmann is all about.

04. Nic Stauber

Nic Stauber’s portfolio site may not be showy, but its underlying aesthetic is hugely pleasing to the eye

Nic Stauber is an interactive designer who’s passionate about creating digital experiences. Based in California, he left New Deal Design in 2014 to go freelance, and hasn’t looked back since.

The opening page of his portfolio site is restrained, with just a small text introduction and a pleasing background animation. Scroll down and you’re greeted by 10 fairly large project images; click through and you’ll get a full breakdown of what was done and why. 

Nothing about this site is revolutionary, but there’s an underlying aesthetic that pulls it all together nicely, and offers a simple but satisfying visual experience for the visitor.

05. Melanie Daveid

Small but significant details raise Melanie Daveid’s portfolio site above the norm

Melanie Daveid is a UX designer and art director from Austria, currently living in Berlin. Artworks and illustrations were her gateway to the creative industry, and that’s evident on her gorgeous portfolio. 

Small but beautifully formed details - the handwritten-style titles, the subtle scrolling effects, the exquisite hero illustration, the elegant red/black colour palette – come together to make this formally simple site far more than just the sum of its parts. 

06. Claudio Doms

Yes, this really is what Claudio Doms’ portfolio homepage looks like!

Claudia Doms is a graphic designer and artist whose practice includes design commissions, autonomous work and teaching appointments, and whose varied clients include everyone from Helvetica to ZEIT magazine to TopShop.

She has two websites, one focusing on her artwork, but it’s her portfolio of graphic design work we’re most interested in. Developed by Artur Turkuli, this unique website takes the unusual form of an Excel spreadsheet. 

Click on any of the entries and the spreadsheet expands to present photography from each project along with a brief explanation. It’s a straightforward idea, but brilliantly executed and makes you want to read more about her work, just to play with the spreadsheet.