The Internet opens many doors for people, but the greatest impact is felt by those who need to showcase their work and gain recognition. Before the Net, even the most talented graphic designers risked falling into obscurity for lack of exposure.
In this article created by our team at Visual Composer, we’re going to talk about graphic design portfolios, one of the types of websites that require the most work in order to be effective.
There are thousands of inspiring graphic design websites out there, which means you’ll need to be exceptionally creative to stand out from the rest. And not only that, but you will also have to ensure that your portfolio is polished, professional, and resides on a reliable website.
Your website can make or break your whole career, so there’s no question about it: you’ll need to put in the legwork into creating an outstanding online showcase.
Luckily, you can take inspiration from the most exquisite graphic design portfolios we’ve found and put your own together based on some of the best ideas out there. After all, good artists copy; great artists steal, right?
A Few Tips on How to Create Good Graphic Design Portfolios
Before jumping into the list of graphic design portfolios, let’s cover some of the best practices that people follow when building their portfolios.
Whether you’re a professional graphic designer, or you simply want to showcase your illustrations, you should always put yourself in the shoes of your visitors or potential clients.
With this in mind, creating a graphic design portfolio that is pleasing to a wide audience isn’t a walk in the park —you’ll have to respect the basic rules in graphic design while also individualizing your work from others.
Beyond heeding the basics of beautiful presentation, clients will look for individuality as well as versatility for the designer’s capacity to adapt to the style that they need.
Thus, a design portfolio that’s packed with a complete range of projects — showcasing multiple styles, industries, or formats — will always attract the most attention. This is the first aspect you need to take into account when putting your portfolio together.
Choosing the right platform
Most graphic design portfolios are built with a platform that gives creators the chance to use templates and themes. Even with a pre-made theme, you’ll need to invest some resources into making your portfolio look nice, but the effort will pay off down the line.
The more professional-looking your design portfolio is the higher your chances to get hired. Always opt for a custom-domain website —the cost is not high, and the URL does make the difference.
To craft your ideal design portfolio, you’ll need a powerful platform that is versatile and expandable. The highest level of user-friendliness goes to WordPress, one of the most popular CMS platforms on the market (if not the most popular).
WordPress gives you the chance to personalize your website from every angle. You should look into Visual Composer, a drag-and-drop page builder that lets you put together a website that fits your needs and makes the process hundreds of times easier.
Telling a story
All graphic design portfolios must tell a story in one way or another. Visuals should take up to 80% of the portfolio, but you can support your work with a narrative arc.
Accompanying your designs and illustrations (usually on a separate page), it’s best to list your strongest work qualifications and talk about your past experience, as well as what you are striving for when collaborating with your client.
Including written content in design portfolio is tricky, yet it can change a person’s first impression for the better. Take your time to come up with some sincere, confident copy to include on the website, thus increasing your chance to attract new clients.
Graphic Design Portfolios: A List of Brilliant Examples
Xavier is based in Barcelona and he decided to follow a freelancing career after being a senior art director at a renowned company in the industry.
His portfolio was created by Burundanga Studio and it uses a lively color scheme, bold typography, and heavy animation. The portfolio is visual-oriented and it stands out through color and contrast.
Lotta Nieminen is a graphic designer based in Helsinki. Her graphic design portfolio emphasizes Lotta’s experience in the field, including her past studies at the University of Art and Design and Rhode Island School of Design.
In the present, Lotta founded her own studio based in New York. Since then, she had to promote her work herself, putting together this portfolio. She received nominations for several awards and was mentioned in famous magazines like Forbes, so it’s pretty clear that her work is high-quality.
Robby Leonardi has one of those very transparent graphic design portfolios, where clients can see absolutely everything about his past work. The portfolio has a bright theme, with lots of illustrations and a dynamic color palette.
Robby didn’t have to include any written story here because his expertise results from the work he’s been showcasing on the site. Robby also used gamification as a strategy for his website, including an interactive resumé that people can enjoy while finding out more about him.
Timothy Goodman came up with a very simple idea for his design portfolio. He adopted a minimalist approach, only including a few visual details like the dark-colored band that greets visitors when they first access the portfolio, and a hand-written typeface to contrast with it.
The layout used for this website is a modular grid system, thus presenting his prints in a very aesthetically pleasing manner.
Spatzek managed to create one of the most creative graphic design portfolios in the industry. Once you visit this site, you’ll be instantly mesmerized by the simple approach Daniel adopted and how effective it is in showcasing his work.
The portfolio features motion graphics and a plain color scheme, along with scrolling effects and modern typefaces.
The portfolios presented up until now fall into the “flashy” category, meaning that they tend to stir the interest of the user very quickly through one-of-a-kind elements and emphasizing the quality of the showcased work.
Merijin Hoss’ portfolio adopted a traditional design approach to showcase his far-from-traditional work —psychedelic art. Pairing the two styles couldn’t lead to anything other than a stunning result that sticks with people long after they’ve visited the site.
Julie is a freelance designer meaning that her portfolio makes a difference day after day in terms of how many clients she gets and —ultimately —how much money she makes at the end of the month.
She opted for an unusual design style that is strikingly impressive compared to other design portfolio approaches. She used a water ripple effect on mouse hover for interesting user experience.
Ben Mingo is a Californian designer that uses his online portfolio to showcase his work in a nonconformist manner, which involves replacing the classic mouse wheel scrolling action with something that requires the visitors’ interactivity.
People need to use their mouses to drag across the website in order to reach other parts of it. It’s a unique approach that encourages visitors to explore the entire website and spend more time on it.
The portfolio features quite a lot of animations and transitions, and it can load slowly at times but the wait is certainly worth it.
RoAndCo was founded by Roanne Adams who is based in New York City. The team behind this project strives to offer high-quality designs to a wide range of clients, but especially for those working in the beauty, fashion, tech, and lifestyle industries.
The portfolio adheres to the company’s principles, presenting the past work in a magazine-like manner. Visitors can enjoy their work by leafing through split-screen images, watching an animated presentation or a full-screen video.
Rob Draper’s site is not much different from other minimalist graphic design portfolios. The one aspect that’s worth mentioning and which is often appreciated by visitors would be the vertical menu that contains all the project titles.
The rest of the layout is airy and simple to navigate through, and visitors can enjoy an animated GIF that showcases selections of work.
Yasly is Danny Jones’ design portfolio, a specialist in 3D interaction and visual design. His portfolio looks effortless, in a good way.
Everything is nicely organized, all the uploaded work is of the topmost quality, and the overall design suits the high-profile of all the collaborators that Jones had through the years.
The portfolio has a luxury feel to it, even though it’s not packed with animations and loud colors.
Amber Xu is a very good motion graphic designer based in China and her website is definitely worth listing in the top graphic design portfolios for inspiration.
Why? She’s brilliant at what she does and there’s no need to add fancy details in the portfolio because her work sparks it up in an instant. Check out how she has blended her work in the simplest website template possible.
Belen Roldan Franco is a designer based in Berlin. He was born in Spain and became passionate about visual communications early in life. He has an eye for structure, color, and impressive typography and you can tell that from his design portfolio.
Belen’s site stresses his preference for structure, maintaining a clean design and neatly categorized past projects.
To get a sense of Jennet Liaw’s style of work, you simply need to access her digital portfolio. Everything is there in all its glory, and she made sure that visitors will quickly get a grip on how she works.
Peter is specialized in brand identity creation. He is also an illustrator and deals with interface design. His work experience is impressive and some of his most important clients include YouTube and The Huffington Post.
This portfolio website only contains a few logo designs, but they are enough to impress visitors. The great amount of negative space helps put these logos in the best light possible.
Veerle Pieters initially started her career in the printing industry but slowly became attracted to website design, which became her passion and main occupation.
Veerle is now showcasing pieces of work in multimedia development, most of her collaborations being company-oriented. At the moment Veerle collaborates with Duoh in Belgium.
The Oddone portfolio was created by Roger Oddone, a designer based in San Francisco who specializes in brand identities.
Because Oddone knows his way around creating and maintaining an online image, there’s no wonder why his site stands out from the rest of the graphic design portfolios listed in this article.
His work is stunning, and his experience with brands like Google, Uber, Wired, and Mashable explains it all.
Fake Honey Pictures
Fake Honey Pictures is a popular film and photography production team that works with fine art and commercial projects. Their portfolio focuses on video projects, thus the website is filled with multimedia elements.
The website follows a grid layout and interacting with the portfolio is very easy, as all elements can be viewed within the site, without leaving it.
Denys is a world traveler that decided to tell this story through photos. This is why he chose to use an interactive timeline that makes up his entire online portfolio.
Timelines are often used in graphic design portfolios to showcase pieces of work because they are easy to navigate and convey a sense of progress and achievement.
Denise Chandler owns a portfolio that should teach you a thing or two about colors. She made use of bold colors to design the whole website, as well as muted colors to complement the rest of the scheme.
The homepage is the main component that sets this portfolio apart from the others.
Alex Coven, 26-year-old graphic designer, and web developer creates innovative solutions that inspire, and foster memorable relationships between brands and their clients. With a focus on branding and UI / Web, he strives to create usable and polished products through passionate and deliberate design.
Rafael Kfouri is a graphic designer based in Brazil. There is great variety in his beautifully presented portfolio and has clearly enjoyed working with some brilliant clients.
For almost twenty years, he has been helping clients of all shapes and sizes create beautiful and usable things. Having started his career in print design, he learned how to design for the web and to code websites early on through professional experience and freelance work. He had the opportunity to learn and collaborate with the best, at top design firms like Happy Cog, Mule Design Studio, and Tangible UX, where usability and accessibility are the top priority.
Stefanie holds a Senior Designer position at NR2154 in New York City. Formerly she was a Designer at High Tide. Prior to moving to the States, she worked with various agencies as well as freelance and graduated from FH Joanneum in Graz, Austria, where she studied Communication and Information Design.
She specializes in both print and interactive design with a particular interest in branding, editorial design, typography, and packaging.
Tobias Van Schneider
Tobias van Schneider is a German multi-disciplinary maker of useful, curious and beautiful things (he just doesn't like the word entrepreneur). Born in Germany and raised in Austria, he now happily lives and works in New York City.
Tobias’ journey is a little different than most. He started his career by dropping out of high school at 15 with grand plans of becoming a software engineer. After realizing he, quite frankly, sucked at it, Tobias began teaching himself design at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years and through a whole lot of ass-busting, Tobias is now a designer, founder, speaker, mentor, and maker.
Grant combines his creative flair with a strategic approach to create purposeful and unique brand identities. He has over seven years of experience solving complex branding problems and incorporates his second passion of illustration into projects whenever it makes sense. In his spare time, Grant can be found goofing around with his son, wife, and terror (sorry, terrier), Cooper.
Alessandro Scarpellini is a designer and art director with a reductive and modernist visual language, specialized in strategy, branding and visual communication. He works for a wide range of clients around the world, helping build timeless and meaningful design solutions with real purpose, value, and simplicity. He is also the curator of the branding and graphic design blog Visual Journal.
Nicolas Paries is an interactive art director who’s been working since 2008 with premium brands such as Chanel, Lancôme, Dior, and Nespresso. He does Brand Identities & Digital Experiences and committed with One Army & Precious Plastic to tackle global issues.
Jennifer Heintz is a multidisciplinary designer & illustrator, as well as a founding partner at Self Aware. She is focused on bringing brands to life in print & online and loves telling stories through colorful illustration and immersive interactive experiences. Currently residing in Philly, Jennifer is saving up for a cute lil’ Yorkie.
MDZ Design aims to help people with product ideas all bring them to market, profitably with quality. It was founded by Stacey Mendez, who has been bringing product ideas to market for the last decade with world-class companies and brands such as Logitech, Terraillon, UGG, Helly Hansen, Vodafone, Vtech as well as ambitious start-ups.
These projects have included humanizing physical products, digital experiences and packaging, bringing a high return on investment, and strategically advising clients. Her experience of aesthetics, human behaviors, and business give her a holistic understanding of how to create and bring easy to use product ideas to the market for commercial growth.
Mingfei Yang always keens on photography, architecture, and games when he was a teenager. He enjoys the feeling to get himself immerse in the game world. And he believes that fun layout plays a really significant role in world creation. His insight of level design allows him to create fun GAMEPLAY feature and well-balanced levels, which can accord with the game design perfectly and maximize the user experience. Achieving the balance will be very difficult, but meanwhile, it's also pretty satisfying and rewarding.
Chip Kidd is a contemporary American graphic designer, author, and editor. He is best recognized as a graphic designer for book covers. Chip has designed more book covers than we have time to list, but some memorable authors he’s designed for include Cormac McCarthy, Michael Crichton, Dean Koontz, James Ellroy, and Haruki Murakami.
Kate Moross is an art director, illustrator and graphic designer. Kate’s work spans across the artistic direction, moving imagery, typography, and illustration. In 2012, Kate founded Studio Moross, a London-based multidisciplinary design company as an expansion upon their own work and a way to collaborate with other creatives.
Very talented senior graphic designer with proven experience in developing catalogs, advertisements, branding, packaging, and website content for B2B and B2C.
A curious product designer who lives off of meaningful user-centric design and is constantly creating to grow further.
Steve Wolf Designs
As principal at Steve Wolf Designs, Steve uses his design experience to support brands of all sizes in telling their stories through timeless visuals and strategic thinking. Steve’s philosophy of continuity, resilience, and simplicity result in elegant and sophisticated works aimed to stand the test of time. As a true artisan, when not in front of his computer, Steve can be found a painting in his garage, seeking inspiration in antique shops, or traveling the globe.
The portfolio of Josh Miller, a Perth based product, web & brand designer with over 10 years of experience working with small businesses & national brands. On page transition, Josh created a colorful wave-like graphic that keeps up the lively theme of his work.
Mike is a UK based designer, specializing in Branding, Graphic/Web Design, Illustration & Photography. He has a worldwide client roster and his work is often featured in design-related publications. Mike is also a regular speaker at design/tech conferences.
She is a designer and illustrator based in San Diego, specializing in print and digital design, branding strategy, and illustration. She earned degrees in art history and psychology from UCSD and have more than 6 years of experience in graphic and web design.
Dangerdom Studios is the work of Dominic Flask, a designer and illustrator who works hard to make the world a beautiful and more interesting place to live in...one small piece at a time.
He works with brands to build emotional connections through digital products by crafting unique illustration identity systems.
Tim Householter is a versatile designer who loves to build identities, websites, & visual experiences. He is the lead designer at Transom Design in Seattle. He believes that good design can change people’s perceptions of your brand.
Jamie Bartlett is a graphic designer and left-handed letterer working out of Denver, CO. She graduated from John Brown University with a degree in Graphic Design. Currently, Jamie teaches on Skillshare and designs art prints and handcrafted fonts for her shop. Her work reflects everything she loves in life: a good cup of coffee, nerdy design terms, tandem bikes, road trips, and so much more.
Ilana Griffo is a designer and illustrator in Upstate New York. Lettering, illustration, design work, eating pizza, cheering on bike racers, and taste-testing chocolate. She loves working on playful, visually tasteful and purposeful design projects.
Kelly Romanaldi, freelance illustrator and graphic designer. His clients are companies, publishing houses, businesses, associations or private individuals who want to take care of their image and present their business in a clear and dynamic way. He produces illustrations, logos, coordinated images, brandisations, packaging, covers and editorial inserts, catalogs, web design, social content.
Ismael Barry, is a product designer passionate about serving people by solving for their needs and understanding the gravity of those decisions as they impact our world.
Adam Sandoval, a graphic designer living in Phoenix Arizona. He is primarily focused on branding, logos, and illustration but loves taking on any good design challenge. He loves getting in to collaborate with clients to find a strategic and creative solution for any and all of their design needs.
Ending thoughts on these Graphic Design Portfolios
We’ve listed here a few graphic design portfolios that we consider inspirational and well-built. They respect the current trends in web design and are intended to attract as many viewers as possible, maintain their attention, and convert them into fans, followers, and clients.
If you take a look at each one of them, you will be able to use the best parts for your own portfolio. Don’t forget to add your personal creative touch, instead of simply duplicating an existing one.
Graphic design portfolios are difficult to build in order to stand out from the rest, but it’s worth all the effort and you will be rewarded tenfold for the time you spend on making yours unique.
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