18 of the best design portfolio examples for inspiration

The best design portfolios can provide vital inspiration for both new designers who are just starting out in the business and those with more experience who are looking to give their portfolio a revamp. As a creative of any kind, your online design portfolio is one of your most important promotional tools you have at your disposal and it can be one of the biggest factors influencing a prospective client’s decision to work with you. That means its worth looking all over to see how other designers are doing it.

While we wouldn’t recommend copying another designer’s portfolio presentation, the best design portfolio can provide inspiration if you’re wondering where to start and how you can make your design portfolio stand out and appeal to potential customers. Design portfolios come in all shapes and sizes, but it can be difficult to find a balance between showing your creative versatility while also creating a recognisable brand identity of your own. 

To help, we’ve rounded up 18 standout examples of design portfolios to provide some inspiration. We’ve included online design portfolio examples from a range of different creatives, from freelance designers and illustrators to studios. Each has its own strengths: in some cases that’s the creation of clear, memorable branding or beautiful aesthetics, while others stand out for their eye-catching animation or engaging user experience. The variety of approaches shows how much fun you can have experimenting with how to present your own work – and how a little ingenuity and creative flair can really make an impact on prospective clients.

If you need software to create your design portfolio, then get Creative Cloud from Adobe now, or if you don’t want to create your design portfolio from scratch, check out our pick of the best portfolio templates and WordPress portfolio themes. 

If you aren’t sure where to start, you might also want to see our guides to the best website builders and the best alternative portfolio sites. And when you’re ready to go live, check our guide to the best web hosting services. And if you’re just setting up your design business, make sure you also see our tips on how to start a design business and how to design a business card. In the meantime, see what inspiration you can take from our favourite design portfolio examples.

18 design portfolio examples for inspiration

01. Mauro Lorenzo

Design portfolio: Mauro Lorenzo

Graphic designer Mauro Lorenzo uses a recognisable personal branding in his design portfolio (Image credit: Mauro Lorenzo)

If you work in branding design, it makes sense to incorporate clear branding in your own design portfolio to make it clear from the outset that you know how to create a brand identity. The Argentine graphic designer Mauro Lorenzo has clearly considered this with his design portfolio, which features a clear, memorable colour system and a lot of personality. ‘Need a designer who’s out of this world? You’ve found them!,’ the headline reads in Spanish, with a nice bit of parallax scrolling on the background. Scroll down and you get a large range of examples of Lorenzo’s work, which, while not organised into themes, give an immediate glimpse of the breadth of his experience and the clients he’s worked for.

02. Studio Feixen

Design portfolio: Studio Feixen

More is more in Studio Feixen’s portfolio (Image credit: Studio Feixen)

Studio Feixen, a design studio based in Switzerland, has deliberately abstained from the prevalent ‘less is more’ approach to design portfolios, and its decision pays off. While we’d normally recommend strict curation of select projects, we love the explosion of colour and huge range of projects showcased on this site. It’s all kept in order by a neat, rather unique division of projects into Space, Surface and Time. We also like the ‘talk’ section, which allows you to ask Studio Feixen a question. It’s fun, interactive and it makes us want to know more about the studio.

03. RoAndCo

Design portfolio: RoAndCo

What this portfolio lacks in information it makes up for in stunning presentation (Image credit: Ro and Co)

Founded by creative director Roanne Adams, NYC-based RoAndCo offers beautifully crafted design, branding and creative direction to clients in fashion, beauty, tech and lifestyle. Viewing RoAndCo’s portfolio is an experience in itself, in keeping with the studio’s work ethos. Projects are presented in an editorial-like fashion, allowing the viewer to flick through split-screen images, animated web presentations and full-screen video. 

It’s is a carefully considered design portfolio and a pleasure to view, whether you’re browsing on a computer or a mobile device. The lack of information on the projects is perhaps something we wouldn’t recommend to most designers, since potential clients will often want to know a bit more about what exactly they’re looking at, but there’s no denying that this is an impressively crafted portfolio that makes a memorable impression.

04. Robin Mastromarino

Design portfolios: Robin Mastromarino

This portfolio keeps thing fresh (Image credit: Robin Mastromarino)

Paris-based interface designer Robin Mastromarino employs some neat UI animation touches to keeps things fresh on his design portfolio site. His projects appear as though they’re on a wheel, juddering into view, which is an engaging effect. The images in each case study respond to scrolling by warping slightly. It’s an effect that we wouldn’t recommend for every creative, but for a UI design specialist, this strikes the right note and gives a taster of what the designer can do. 

05. Active Theory

Design portfolios: Active Theory

This design portfolio is like entering a whole new world (Image credit: Active Theory)

Entering Active Theory’s portfolio website is like visiting a whole other world. It employs a moody, almost cyberpunk aesthetic throughout, and to great effect. From the atmospheric homepage animation with mouse-activated glitch effects to the trippy About page, the setting all gels together to form a cohesive package. The studio keeps things cleaner for its project pages. Each example features a full-screen animation overlaid with a short blurb and relevant links to further information, including detailed case studies hosted on Medium.

06. Velvet Spectrum

Design portfolio

Uber-colourful thumbnails make this design portfolio a visual treat (Image credit: Velvet Spectrum)

Velvet Spectrum is the online moniker of visual artist and designer Luke Choice. He shows that simplicity can also make an impact on his homepage, which shows a montage of uber-colourful thumbnails that lead through to visually arresting super-size examples of his work for maximum impact. The black background keeps things clean and helps the work stand out. It makes for a simple but highly effective design portfolio.

07. Locomotive

Design portfolios: Locomotive

Locomotive’s portfolio offers surprises throughout (Image credit: Locomotive)

Locomotive, a studio based in Quebec, Canada, specialises in crafting digital experiences, so it’s taken care to make its design portfolio site an all-round delightful and engaging experience. Playful, entertaining animations bring the site to life, and not just on the homepage. It seems like thought and effort has been put into every detail, from the quirky treatment of the hamburger menu to the unexpected animations on the About page. Little surprises keep the viewer’s interest while they browse through the site, making this a perfect example of how animated flourishes can be used effectively without them becoming gimmicky or distracting.

Design portfolio

(Image credit: Studio Thomas)

08. Studio Thomas

Named after its two creative directors, Thomas Austin and Thomas Coombes, Studio Thomas in East London creates visual communication for both physical and digital worlds. Its portfolio is a superb example of Brutalist web design with plenty of neat touches. Projects are presented in an orderly but eye-catching way with clear visuals and wireframe models. The site perfectly reflects the studio’s explorative and experimental attitude, and it backs up the studio’s claim to offer “design for bold brands.”

09. Buzzworthy Studio

Describing itself as a “badass digital studio in Brooklyn”, Buzzworthy Studio really needed to come up with the goods to back up that claim, and happily, its portfolio does the job. It features dazzling web techniques from the off. Bold typography and animation combine to grab your attention, and a strong eye for aesthetics ensures that viewers stick around to explore all of Buzzworthy’s projects. It’s one hell of a calling card.

10. Xavier Cussó

this stunning portfolio site for Barcelona-based designer Xavier Cussó was built by Burundanga Studio. It shows off Cussó’s work with bold colours, in-your-face typography and practically every animation and parallax scrolling trick in the book. But that doesn’t make it feel overloaded. The animation makes and impact and maintains the viewer’s attention throughout.

11. Merijn Hoss

Design portfolios: Merijn Hoss

Hoss takes a pared-back approach (Image credit: Merijn Hos)

Illustrator and artist Merijn Hoss takes a more pared-back approach, but his design portfolio is still very effective. Hoss creates beautifully detailed psychedelic works of art, but his profile presents his work in quite a simple, clean format. It’s one of the most traditional approaches we’ve included on this list of design portfolios and isn’t nearly as flashy as some of the previous examples, but it works well because the colourful thumbnails really pop out of the gallery’s white background, putting the focus on the artist’s work. Click the thumbnails, and large project images and a short description are revealed. Hoss’s design portfolio is proof that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to make an impact.

12. ToyFight

Design portfolio: ToyFight

This design portfolio is executed with humour and panache

Manchester-based studio ToyFight uses a number of whizzy effects – from parallax scrolling to animated transitions and even 3D rendered versions of the studio’s founders fighting each other. All of this could threaten to overwhelm the work on show, but seeing as it’s been executed with such visual humour and panache, the site is a joy to explore. This is a good lesson in how personality can also sell creatives’  work.

13. Made Thought

Design portfolios: Made Thought

The site cycles through images with taglines (Image credit: Made Thought)

The London and New York-based contemporary branding and design studio Made Thought shows that bigger can definitely be better with a portfolio that’s impossible to ignore. With big type, big pictures, big parallax scrolling and a big philosophy to go with it, its portfolio makes a bold statement and follows it up with stunning examples of work to demonstrate its claim to “make brands feel like part of the future today”. It certainly feels modern, aided by the fact the studio regularly updates its portfolio site to keep it looking fresh.

14. Marleigh Culver

Design portfolio: Marleigh Culver

Culver’s website is simple but well-crafted (Image credit: Marleigh Culver)

The website of designer and artist Marleigh Culver is a much more simple affair, but one that demonstrates how carefully chosen colour and type combined with a simple layout and navigation are key to any successful online design portfolio. Marleigh’s work is displayed very effectively through the use of large, fast loading images, which make it a breeze to navigate the portfolio and take in her work. The use of the artist’s signature on the menu at the top of the site is also a nice touch.

15. Malika Favre

Design portfolios: Malika Favre

Bold and beautiful (Image credit: Malika Favre)

Illustrator Malika Favre uses a full-screen edge-to-edge tapestry of thumbnails to entice visitors into viewing her vibrant artwork in more detail. The colours and layout already draw attention, while the arrangement of animated pieces within still artworks serves even more to keep eyes on the screen. Once clicked, the thumbnails reveal a full-screen gallery presentation of the work featured. It’s displayed on complimentary coloured backgrounds that show off her work to great effect. It makes a bold, colourful presentation that grabs the viewer’s attention.

16. Lusion

Design portfolio: Lusion

Lusion’s portfolio is an immersive experience (Image credit: Lusion)

For a completely immersive experience, Lusion’s design portfolio provides great inspiration. The site is full of delightful design touches, including a glowing dot that follows your cursor around. The About page overlays a running figure that responds to mouse events, which is entertaining. It might be a little disorienting at times, but it seems a well-considered approach to showcase this tech-focused creative studio’s work.

17. Yul Moreau

Design portfolio: Yul Moreau

Born in Seoul, based in Paris and “raised by the ’80s”, Yul Moreau has a portfolio site that grabs your attention from the off with its splendidly garish background montage of retro video. This single-pager does a brilliant job of showcasing the art director’s work, combining video, images, clever scroll effects and detailed text explanations to give a complete overview of his work.

18. Tim Smith

Design portfolio: Tim Smith

This site uses CSS3 for a clean look

Boasting ‘brain-powered graphics fun’, Tim Smith’s portfolio site uses CSS3 to throw in some clever HTML5 tricks on a spotlessly clean look. For each piece, there are cut-out titles that disappear as you mouse over them. The sidebar is also very nifty, switching from displaying social links on the front page and then navigation buttons for the portfolio pages. It makes for a snappy, swish and highly professional-looking presentation.

(Image credit: Future)

Creative Bloq created this content as part of a paid partnership with MPB. The contents of this article are entirely independent and solely reflect the editorial opinion of Creative Bloq. Keep your eyes peeled for more articles in this Creative Business Month series, which we’ll be posting throughout February.

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Abdul J. Gaspar