Whoever your graphic design portfolio site is aimed at, you have to remember that people’s time and attention is limited. Employers, to take one example, may look at dozens of portfolios in the space of 10 minutes. So you only have a few seconds to really grab their attention and enthuse them.
You don’t want to go too crazy, though. Fill your portfolio with too many tricks and visual flourishes and you’ll end up taking attention away from the work itself, which as a graphic designer is the thing you want people to focus on the most.
These eight great portfolios, all launched or updated in the last 12 months, strike a nice balance between being interesting and distinctive without overwhelming the work. Check them out and hopefully you'll pick up some ideas that work for your own portfolio.
01. Rafael Kfouri
The one-page portfolio site is a tricky thing to pull off, but Kfouri succeeds well in giving his colourful and impactful visuals – including single images and collages – room to breathe. Giving them almost the entire width of the screen, with just a couple of slim sidebars for context, allows visitors to enjoy and appreciate the wide scope of his work at a leisurely pace.
There’s only the barest of information about each project, and to be honest, we’d like to have seen more. But as a way of showcasing graphic eye-candy smartly and with minimal (if any) clicks needed to get to the goodies, this portfolio offers a lot of inspiration.
02. Jennifer Heintz
Jennifer Heintz is a designer and illustrator living in Boston, USA. A recent graduate who majored in graphic and information design, she’s also creative director of the Northeastern University Political Review.
When you’re a recent graduate, you typically don’t have a huge amount of work to draw on, so careful curation and imaginative presentation become paramount. Heintz’s site scores highly on both, with a great use of colour, delightfully smooth scrolling and a snazzy eye motif.
These work together to make each individual project much more enticing than it might have seemed on a more cookie-cutter site.
03. Pavel Kedzich
Pavel Kedzich is a graphic designer based in Riga, Latvia. He focuses on digital projects with typographic sensibility and an editorial slant.
Most portfolio sites take a minimalist, 'get out of the way' approach to interface design, preferring to let the work speak for itself, and that’s fine. But Kedzich has decided to add some of his own personal graphic style to the typography and layout here, and this certainly adds an extra little something.
Presenting images as preview windows interspersed with pullquotes and typographical elements stands out, and we particularly love that he gives full credits to everyone else who worked on the project.
04. Mat Weller
Mat Weller is a freelance graphic designer from the UK who’s currently living and working in Los Angeles. He’s worked with brands including Manchester United, Arsenal FC, BBC Radio 1, J Brand Jeans, BSkyB, G4S and Vodafone.
His portfolio site takes quite a different approach from the norm, presenting visuals from a number of colourful projects in a full-screen carousel (although not, sadly, project details beyond the website or type of project in a word or two).
More interestingly, there’s also an ‘Experimental’ section, where he’s played around with “themes of luridness, garishness, the psychedelic experience and reality distortion” in intriguing and effective ways.
05. Ade Mills
Ade Mills is a graphic designer, illustrator and podcaster based in Bexhill, East Sussex, UK. There’s a lo-fi graphic sensibility to his monotone portfolio site that’s reminiscent of old-school fanzines and photocopier art.
It’s an inspired and effective way to convey the fact that Mills works happily across both digital and analogue formats. Although it does take a couple of clicks to get to his work, the bold typography and glitch effect you're greeted with on the homepage convey a sense of his style and capabilities before you get there.
06. Ben David Sandhu
Ben David Sandhu is an award-winning art and design director based in London, UK, who’s collaborated with clients including Honda, Speedo, Bottega Veneta and Shangri-La.
His portfolio site is super-clean, showcasing just one image at a time in a manual slideshow with the absolute minimum of cruft. Click through, though, and you get a useful amount of text and images; the former well crafted, the latter intense and attention-grabbing throughout.
Jean-Loïc Antunes is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Lyon, France. His portfolio site’s homepage is based around a slightly crazy animated treatment of his name; scroll down and similar typographical trickery awaits.
It’s an inventive way to convey the breadth of his multiple design skills, and helps put a smile on your face while you find the section you’re looking for. And once you’ve arrived there, the work itself – from graphic design to illustration, web design and beyond – is consistently top-class.
The little photos that pop up when you hover over the main project links are a nice touch, and project descriptions are brief but clear.
08. Alex Coven
Alex Coven, in his own words, “wears three hats”, as a freelance graphic designer, letterer and frontend developer based in Chicago, USA. He illustrates those hats literally on the homepage, which is a brilliantly simple way to convey the depth of his skills and experience.
Scroll down on his site to see his work, and across on each one for more information about that project. Clever use of colour overlays again acts as a simple device to keep things distinctive and interesting.