It's a tough time for freelancers at the moment. In this uncertain global climate budgets are being cut and projects cancelled, and work that you may have been counting on might suddenly disappear. And while it's almost certainly a temporary state of affairs, if you want to ride it out then it would help to give your portfolio an update to paint yourself in the best possible light.
We've found some of the best recent freelance portfolios from around the web to inspire you; all of them do a great job of showing off their owners' abilities and recent work, but they also go the extra mile to delight and intrigue visitors. Read on for some essential portfolio inspiration (also see our other portfolio examples if you just can't get enough).
Ilithya is a creative developer, designer and digital artist based in Hamburg, with a strong line in 3D and generative art that you can't miss if you visit her portfolio site.
It opens with an eye-catching scene that features a block of 3D text floating within a constellation of cubes and toruses, all rendered in pearlescent tones and with the camera in constant motion – you can also use the mouse to zoom in and out of the scene to increase the dizzying effect. If that doesn't entice you to explore further and check out her code art and installations, we don't know what will.
02. Stef Ivanov
Freelance UX and UI designer Stef Ivanov has worked for more than 100 companies over the course of a 13-year career, and there's a great selection of his work on show in his portfolio.
What caught our attention, though, is the splash page, featuring a simple block of introductory text and a beautifully cross-hatched pen-and-ink portrait of Stef with, for reasons that aren't entirely clear, an animated halo of bees buzzing around his head. While it's important to show off your work in your portfolio, little extra touches like this are a fantastic way to show off your personality and pique visitors' interest.
03. Angela Milosevic
We love a strong typographic layout, and Angela Milosevic's new portfolio site presses all the right buttons for us. It mostly uses Ogg, a calligraphy-inspired serif typeface whose italic form slants at an extreme angle; Milosevic makes the most of it by using the Roman form in all-caps for much of her body copy, and the Slant form in lower case, mostly for links.
It's not all Ogg; she also uses Attila Sans Sharp – again in all-caps – for body copy across her portfolio pages. And there are some fabulous extra touches across her site, such as the popup images that follow the pointer (and leave a smear trail) as you mouse over work links, and the floating eye that appears if you leave the site idle for too long.
04. Yoichi Kobayashi
Japanese developer Yoichi Kobayashi has been working on the web since 2006, and for the latest version of his portfolio site he didn't want it to be just a portfolio; instead he says that he explored is own identity and tried to express it as much as possible using web technology.
The result is a stunning site that opens with an animated flaming 3D skull, with floating petals wafting up the screen and a gently undulating smoky background. That may sound like horrible overkill, but it works really well thanks to a restrained palette of blacks and golden tones. Kobayashi employs the flame effect again as you scroll down through his portfolio, using it as a wipe to bring in and fade out rippling thumbnails of each of his featured works. He says that he's proud to have been able to reflect his personality and physicality on this site; colour us impressed.
05. Erika Senft Miller
Erika Senft Miller is a multi-sensory artist specialising in site-specific performance projects, and her portfolio site is one that encourages exploration. It's presented as a lined page that you can scroll around by dragging with the mouse; you'll notice that as you move the pointer, the lines that make up the page deform around it, and when you come to a portfolio item – represented as a slowly morphing coloured blob that expands as you mouse over it – that too causes the lines to deform.
Each portfolio page follows the same principle; you drag your way around to discover the story of the project, but rather than simply scroll down or across, you follow a more meandering path. It's a delightful way to engage visitors and encourage them to explore Miller's work.
06. Nathan Taylor
Another portfolio site that encourages exploration is Nathan Taylor's. A freelance interactive designer and developer based in Tokyo, he loves to make things that are a bit different and he's built a site that's a veritable toybox of cool web technologies, animation and microinteractions; each panel of the packed single-pager has something exciting going on.
Naturally there are a good few projects to click through to, but it's the fun extras that really make this site worth a visit. Our favourite bit is a working synthesiser and sequencer that you can play around with to make your own tunes; give those knobs a twiddle and see what sounds you can get out of it!