8 brilliant portfolios from young designers

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Thanks to the internet, age or location doesn't mean much for a graphic designer anymore. In fact, most creatives don't mention their age in their design portfolio, and work with clients far from their hometown. So it's always a delight when you're blown away by someone's work and realise they're fresh out of school.

As the co-founder of Semplice, a portfolio system for designers, I see creative portfolios and fresh design talent every day. Below are just a few of my favourite portfolios from exciting new designers – some are self-taught, some still working toward their degree, others a few years into their design careers. 

01. Ana Realmuto

Realmuto's About page hits all the right notes

Realmuto's About page hits all the right notes

Ana Realmuto's portfolio features branding, web design and social media content for clients like Jameson Whiskey and Wristology Watches. But my favourite part is her About page with its hilarious baby photos – a unique and memorable personal touch. (To be clear, Ana graduated from college in 2015 and is older than these baby photos portray.) About pages can make or break a portfolio, and Realmuto's page hits all the right points. 

02. Jakub Had

Had has packed a lot of great work into a few short years

Had has packed a lot of great work into a few short years

At 20 years old, Jakub Had has more experience than a lot of designers that are many years his senior. His portfolio features print, product and UI design projects for clients like Budweiser, Charles IV app and Swissionare. 

I only wish it included case studies detailing his project stories, as case studies are crucial to understanding who a designer is and how they think. But it is clear from Had's portfolio that he believes simplicity is key. 

03. Lucas Berghoef

An unsolicited redesign for FKA Twigs shows off Berghoef's skills

An unsolicited redesign for FKA Twigs shows off Berghoef's skills

Lucas Berghoef's portfolio features a carefully selected range of projects, each designed like a magazine spread with artistic layouts and full-screen images. As a 2018 college graduate, it's fitting for Berghoef to share a class project or two, like his unsolicited visual identity for artist FKA Twigs. This project is polished and detailed enough to feel like client work, showing what Berghoef can do given full creative freedom. 

Unsolicited designs are a great way to showcase your skill as a young designer, however I recommend against including more than one or two. Berghoef's portfolio strikes the perfect balance. For more tips for brand new designers, take a look at our article on how to start building up your design portfolio.

04. Liz Wells

Wells' case studies are exemplary

Wells' case studies are exemplary

Liz Wells graduated with a design degree in 2015. Between then and now, her work's been recognized by The Webbys, Awwwards, FWA, Communication Arts, Cannes Lions, The One Show's Young Gun awards and D&AD, to name a few. 

Wells' portfolio case studies are exemplary, especially given the added challenge of showcasing her conceptual user experience work. Each case study uses video, photos, notes and sketches to bring projects for clients like Google, Spotify and VICELAND to life. Read more about writing great case studies here.

05. Jason Yuan

Yuan's custom grid helps his work shine

Yuan's custom grid helps his work shine

Jason Yuan is a graphic and UX designer pursuing a BFA at RISD. He received attention across the internet for his unsolicited Apple Music redesign after the company rejected him for an internship. Interestingly enough, his portfolio now boasts a 2018 internship at Apple. A lovely custom grid showcases his personal and professional work, including a poster design page I've browsed more than once. 

06. Petra Sitaru

Sitaru uses her portfolio as a landing page, showing a light overview of her work

Sitaru uses her portfolio as a landing page, showing a light overview of her work

Petra Sitaru uses her portfolio as a landing page of sorts, with offshoots to her Behance projects and social accounts. It's a light overview of her whimsical design and illustration work, an approach that could work well for designers on the job hunt wanting to quickly curate their work for each application.

07. Daniel Barkle

Barkle's strong visuals and animations keep the visitor engaged

Barkle's strong visuals and animations keep the visitor engaged

Daniel Barkle's portfolio dazzles with so many engaging visuals and animations you don't realise how far you've scrolled down his project pages. An emoji cursor, full-screen navigation and snappy page transitions (plus an entire section entitled 'Play') do as much to reveal his personality as his personable case studies do. Barkle graduated from college in 2015 and given the work he's done so far, I can't wait to see more.

08. Katja Alissa Mueller

Mueller's folio is clean and streamlined

Mueller's folio is clean and streamlined

Katja Mueller's portfolio leads with a simple project grid showcasing her range of skills, from graphic design to art direction to project management. Her case study pages are equally streamlined with clean layouts and large visuals of her work. Since receiving her design degree in 2015, Katja's created work for clients like adidas, Saatchi & Saatchi and Victoria Beckham.

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