The internet is overflowing with awe-inspiring design portfolios. To stand out in this tough market, it's important to make your creative resume as impressive as you can.
It's not just the examples of your work that need to blow away your potential clients, although they do help. It's the way they're presented – part of which means you'll need a decent DSLR or compact camera to shoot your print work.
But when it comes to your portfolio, you don't have to be a superstar creative director or web designer; a touch of creativity and innovative thinking will get you a long way. And there are plenty of free online tools, such as Behance, to help you build a portfolio without any coding knowledge.
So, check out these inspiring examples of online design portfolios, both for individual designers and design agencies – to help you angle your own in just the right way…
01. Studio Thomas
Named after its two creative directors, Thomas Austin and Thomas Coombes, Studio Austin is an East London studio that makes visual communication for physical and digital worlds, and its site perfectly reflects its explorative and experimental attitude. It is a splendid example of Brutalist web design with plenty of swish touches; we particularly love the 3D wireframe model of Pamban Cafe that you can navigate with the mouse.
Buzzworthy describes itself as a badass digital studio in Brooklyn, and its site is one hell of a calling card, showcasing dazzling web techniques from the off. Great typography and animation combine to grab your attention, and a strong eye for aesthetics means that you'll stick around to explore all Buzzworthy's projects.
03. Xavier Cussó
Barcelona-based designer Xavier Cussó was until recently a senior art director at Vasava, but he's now freelancing full-time with a stunning portfolio site – built by Burundanga Studio – to show off his work using bold colours, in-your-face typography and practically every animation and parallax scrolling trick in the book.
04. Merijn Hoss
Illustrator and artist Merijn Hoss creates beautifully detailed psychedelic works of art, but has taken an altogether more pared back and traditional approach to displaying his work online.
Colourful thumbnails pop out of a clean gallery-like white background that once clicked on reveal large project images and a short description. Proof, if it were needed, that when your work is this good, less certainly is more.
RoAndCo is the NYC-based studio founded by creative director Roanne Adams. The team offer beautifully crafted design, branding and creative direction solutions to a roster of clients predominantly in the fashion, beauty, tech and lifestyle sectors.
In line with the studio's work ethos, viewing RoAndCo’s website is an experience in itself. The projects are presented in an almost magazine-like fashion. Allowing the viewer to cycle through split screen images, animated web presentations and full screen video, RoAndCo’s website is a carefully considered portfolio that is a pleasure to view in browser and on mobile devices.
06. Velvet Spectrum
Velvet Spectrum is the online moniker of visual artist and designer Luke Choice. Luke has kept things simple on his homepage with a montage of colourful thumbnails, which lead through to the visually arresting examples of his work displayed super-size for maximum impact.
07. Leslie David
Parsian designer, illustrator and art director Leslie David creates beautiful and intriguing work with that “Je ne sais quoi” that only the French know how to do.
She houses her work in a straightforward manner with a left-hand typographic nav accompanied by a mix of static and animated gif thumbnails of which compliment the quirky nature of her work.
Manchester-based studio ToyFight utilise a number of whizzy effects – from parallax scrolling to animated transitions and even 3D rendered versions of the founders fighting one another. All of this could threaten to overwhelm the actual work on show, but seeing as it's been executed with such visual humour and panache, it's a joy to navigate.
09. Tom Biskup
Art Director Tom Biskup’s online portfolio is a restrained and stylish affair. Using an animated header image to quickly engage the viewer, the site sees the rest of Tom's work displayed behind a mix of large static and animated thumbnails, which lead the viewer through to more detailed case studies. Tom's portfolio acts as a piece of work in its own right, amply demonstrating his art direction talent.
10. Made Thought
Contemporary design powerhouse Made Thought leads where others follow. And the current trend for seizure-inducing quick-frame animated portfolio websites can also arguably be attributed to it.
With just an animated video cycling through samples of the studio's work at an ultra-fast pace, with its contact details on display, Made Thought has opted for a brave solution. It's bold and striking in its execution; a route perhaps best reserved for more established creatives.
11. Wade Jeffrey
The website of designer and art director Wade Jeffrey is, on first inspection, as unconventional as the work itself. The landing page features a video of the designer in this 'current state' – working, snacking, and so on – complete with quirky details, of course – and the projects section features overlapping images clustered together. Once clicked on, these images reveal a more conventional full window carousel of the images.
Wade’s portfolio site is another example whereby the site itself reflects the work contained within and the character of the man who created it. This approach is hard thing to achieve, but when done well it really heightens the work on display, as well as the person who created it.
Mister has opted for a bold approach by choosing not to feature any work on the landing page of its website. Instead, the studio has opted for bold white-out-of-black typography that details the focus and offerings of the studio.
Only once you’ve scrolled further down can you choose to download Mister's portfolio or view a preview sample, which clicks through to a full screen fast-cycling animated GIF presentation. It's a bold and innovative take on the traditional online design portfolio, and projects confidence.
13. Marleigh Culver
The website of designer and artist Marleigh Culver is a simple affair, but one that demonstrates how carefully considered colour and type choices, combined with a simple layout and navigation, are key to any successful online design portfolio.
Although simple in nature, Marleigh’s work is displayed to great effect through the use of large, fast loading images, making it a breeze to quickly navigate through.
14. Malika Favre
Illustrator Malika Favre’s bold and beautiful work is showcased to great effect in her online design portfolio. She makes use of a full screen edge-to-edge tapestry of thumbnails to entice visitors into viewing the work in further detail. Once clicked, the thumbnails reveal a full screen gallery presentation of the work featured on complimentary coloured backgrounds that show off the work to great effect.
The online presence of design luminary Morag Myersough acts as more of an online business card than a website. It consists of one simple landing page with three icons linking to her email, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
This is a truly modern approach from a very established and respected industry veteran, who uses social media to great effect to get her work and the process behind it out there.
Although this is quite an extreme example, many creatives are now using social media as their primary vehicle for not only promoting but also showcasing their work.
16. Panda Yoghurt
Douglas Bowden, aka Panda Yoghurt, is a design director and 3D artist responsible for some truly stunning and award winning motion work. Douglas’s website is an ultra clean and contemporary affair, with large scale previews and slick animated rollovers that work perfectly with his work.
The presentation of the projects themselves is clear and concise, with a brief description and a scrolling nav all featured on a crisp white background leaving nothing to distract the viewer from the stunning motion work on display.
The website of digital branding agency Pollen is a slick and engaging presentation. It utilises a number of contemporary techniques, from full-screen video to parallax scrolling and beautifully presented thumbnails that react when rolled over.
Large quotes from the studio are peppered throughout the landing page, effectively editorialising the presentation of the studio's work and adding an extra level of engagement.
18. Pawel Nolbert
Visual artist and designer Pawel Nolbert lets his work speak for itself in his scroll-and-click portfolio. Pawel showcases not only the final pieces themselves but also mock-ups of applications, work in progress shots, inspiration and behind the scenes details – all of which give a valuable insight into the artist's process.
Next page: 19-35 on our list of brilliant design portfolios