20 Stunning design portfolios you MUST see before (re)designing yours

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Hey there – how’s your design portfolio looking these days?

Are you behind on updating it, like me? Excellent! I love not being the only one. Or maybe you’re new to the game and haven’t set one up yet. Either way you’re in luck, because I’ve assembled a little collection of inspirational design portfolios that take a range of approaches to doing their job well.

This collection spans the globe and crosses a wide variety of creative segments and aesthetics. Some make me laugh, some hypnotize me with their beauty and they all make me want to meet the people behind them.

That’s what makes a great design portfolio– it sells your work (and you) in a short amount of time. It’s a magic combination of images, language and attitude.

Ask yourself the question – how will YOU portray yourself, showcase your work and display your design aesthetic in your design portfolio?

Let’s see how these sites take on the challenge…

20 Hand-picked design portfolios to inspire you

oddbee design portfolio

oddbee.com

This one is worth visiting just to experience the animated plane that you can fly up and down. Once you’ve had some fun with that, you immediately see the elevator speech. It draws you in with the fun, and then gets right down to business.

eduardo design portfolio

eduardonunes.me

This concise site encapsulates the work of this thoughtful Portuguese designer and speaker very well.

the geek design portfolio

thegeekdesigner.com

First impressions are paramount, and this guy knocks it out of the park!

ben hulse design portfolio

benhulse.com

The feel of the site is ultra-clean and minimal, yet the fun and brainy personalities of these two branding designers steal the show at first glance. (Along with a hint at the Canadian Olympic Team branding work they’ve done, which would be an insanely cool design task…)

melanie daveid design portfolio

melaniedaveid.com

Spooky and fabulous – the rich palette of watermelon red/black/white looks stunning with the photography and just the right amount of motion.

fish friday design portfolio

fishfriday.nl

A super-clean, friendly Dutch site that does a great job of driving you to their project planning form/call to action.

yeedor design portfolio

yeedor.com

Light type and understated design make Doris Yee’s UI/UX site a standout in a cluttered field. Check out her skills breakdown graph in the “About Me” section.

sean halpin design portfolio

seanhalpin.io

This one features ultra-simple, almost childlike imagery backed up by solid and well-presented work samples.

the beast is back design portfolio

thebeastisback.com

You are greeted by a funscape of colorful imagery created by this LA designer and illustrator. There are even a couple of bonus icons below the main tabs that extend your playful journey with Christopher Lee.

studio schurk design portfolio

studioschurk.nl

Extreme fun in the Netherlands, with enough motion to bewitch you, but not nearly enough to cause motion sickness. For me, the latter is a deal breaker!

garden studio design portfolio

gardenstudio.com.br

The magical home page alone makes a stop here worthwhile, but stay and be charmed by the rest of this Brazilian site.

cleverbird design portfolio

cleverbirds.com

Gorgeous and unusual yellow/gray color palette, clear delineations between online and offline work, and a nice mixture of professionalism and approachability.

casting moscow design portfolio

castingmoscow.ru

Black and white severity (with generous sprinklings of red stars) mingles with lush photography and video clips of their casting work.

gravual design portfolio

gravual.com

This crisp Belgian site even offers some lovely line icons that are downloadable for personal use in exchange for a Facebook like!

build films design portfolio

buildfilms.ca

Minimalist industrial cool set the stage for this team of adventurous filmmakers in Winnipeg. Their mind-bending logo earns extra style points.

Looking for some advice on building YOUR super design portfolio? Here’s a great article written by Mell Ravanel, the Chief Designer of Behance.

And speaking of Behance…

What I love about visiting Behance sites is seeing the different ways that designers/artists decide to use descriptions, stories and process to differentiate themselves and their design portfolios. From taciturn to verbose, you can approach it however you like – as long as you get your story across effectively.

I’ve picked out a few effective ones that run the gamut – have a look!

bmd design portfolio

behance.net/bmddesign

Strong and silent – no descriptions accompany these extraordinary painted illustrations. I love how some of the photos show the works in process.

never crew design portfolio

behance.net/nevercrew

In the exciting arena of “Fine Arts, Painting, Street Art,” this group’s project descriptions include a wonderful video under the Hamburg Dublin Cairo Belgrade Berlin Winterthur header.

acre design portfolio

behance.net/acre

Exquisite details abound in this design portfolio by a Singapore design house.

loulou and tummie design portfolio

behance.net/loulouandtummie

Check out their Animation Showreel 2015. Come on now – you can’t look at this and not smile!

tobias hall design portfolio

behance.net/TobiasHall

Do NOT miss the incredible work-in-progress glimpses of hand-lettered/hand-painted typography in this one!

Are you inspired yet? Share your design portfolio with us…

Post a comment to let us know how you get inspiration for the process…and to show off your amazing design portfolio!

PS: This is an updated version of a design portfolio roundup originally posted by April Greer in 2012. We hope you enjoy the new collection.

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About Rebecca Blaesing

Rebecca Blaesing is a freelance designer who lives and works in Maine and New York City. She specializes in branding design and loves logo work.

  • Ricky Schumacher

    I like your “short blurb,” I hate it when I come across a list post like this and there is no description as to the reasoning behind the choice.

    While a lot of these are outside of my ability, I do enjoy looking around for those little sparks of inspiration. In my opinion, I think that a lot of designer portfolios are a bit over the top just to be different, what do you think? I understand that you want to, and especially in this business – need to, stand out from the crowd, but often times I find myself overwhelmed by the design.

    Also, good timing! I’ve been working on my portfolio for the last few days, and this has been a great inspiration. I’ve seen some things that I want to incorporate, and some things that I’d like to avoid for my particular purpose.

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Ricky,

      I completely agree – I hate to go to a list and not have any idea why each item is on the list!

      You’re right, some people go for different, some for fancy, cool, modern, etc. This is why I categorized them into different groups. You may, for example, like the minimalist look, so maybe you focus on those, while others are interested in sliding and moving parts so they check out that group. And you’re also absolutely right in that often we visit sites and find out what we DO NOT want on our own!

      Ideally, you’ll create a portfolio that fits your style, your audience, and your work.

      Good luck, and please do share when you’ve got something to show us!

  • http://www.pepde.com Deepak

    I would really like everyone to have a look at http://www.pepde.com and comment your opinions about it :)

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Deepak,

      First, I really love the sliding yellow bar under the navigation. I also really like how you use yellow so well – the yellow/white combo is very difficult to pull of and you’ve done well.

      I feel like you lose a bit of real estate on the home page by having so much white space around your main “You are here…” I also think it would be great to carry your not-quite-circular shape throughout the website rather than having some circles and some unique shape.

      It would be cool if in your portfolio you could scroll through the projects in the pop-up box rather than having to click in/out and go through the animation. But I do like the horizontal scroll at the top of the website.

      In regards to your logo, the D for me is too abstract. If you hadn’t asked me to go to pepde.com, I would’ve told you your design studio is called Pep E. I don’t dislike the D shape or the bright, bold red, but I don’t get a D out of it, either.

      Also, not sure if this was on purpose, but your spelling of Jhon is (in English) incorrect (should be John). If Jhon makes more sense for your location in India, ignore me.

      Overall, you’ve got a very nice, clean site. Good luck to you!

      • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

        Note: pull off, not pull of. Sorry.

      • http://www.pepde.com Deepak

        April,

        Thanks a lot for such a detailed and true review on my design.

        I will definitely consider these opinions & fixes and include them when Im revamping the design especially the loss of white space in home page.

        Regarding the logo,I do know it is very difficult to figure out pepde from it still I don’t know why I love it so much that Im finding it hard to change but always I do try to come up with some solutions.

        I am sorry,can you point out where I had made the mistake jhon for john(it is the right way of spelling it) so that I can correct it.

        Once again thanks for taking time reviewing my website :)

        All my wishes for your work.

        • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

          Deepak,

          You’re welcome!

          I certainly don’t dislike your logo, but it is hard to read. That’s for you to determine. :) It’s yours!

          Your “John” error is on the contact page in the contact form – http://pepde.com/contact-us/ – super nit-picky, I know.

          Best wishes to you too!

  • http://www.behance.net/johnarneagaid Johnny

    This will be great inspiration, as I am currently working on a new portfolio! I like the description lines, but personally I like these posts to include pictures of the website instead of tabbing every website and then come back here to see why you choose it. But that’s just me, anyways thanks!

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Johnny,

      I don’t disagree with you, but I will say that would have been quite a bit more work!

      Also, I kind of wanted to focus on the name of the designer/business rather than the image of their portfolio. So often I see something neat and can’t remember the name or URL to return, so I thought by putting the focus on the name, perhaps it’ll stick with readers who designed the portfolio.

      Designers will always be the star in the shadows, but hopefully this helps get their names out there a bit more!

      Thanks for your input! Let us know if you find any particular favorites!

  • http://sydrenasmith.com Sydrena

    Nice article! I am actually in the process of revamping my site(again) and this really gave me some insight.

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Sydrena,

      Glad I could help! Do share when you’ve got something to show us!

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  • Rachel

    Great article. I only browsed through a few of the sites listed, but it was very informational. I’m finishing up my website/portfolio and your comment/the section on the Call to Action was the most helpful for me. Thanks for pulling this together!

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Rachel,

      You’re welcome! Thanks for letting me know. We’d love to see your website when you release it to the world – post a link to it here!

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  • http:///www.sheilapatterson.com sheila

    Great inspiration, I am definitely bookmarking this!

    Thanks for adding a minimal category, some of these sites are incredibly beautiful. I personally feel that some designers get *just a little* too “artsy fartsy” sometimes; I’ve even had clients comment on that. But to each their own.

    For the record, I was all about the grey BEFORE it was trendy 😉

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Sheila,

      You’re welcome – I tried to include several categories as each designer has their own vision for their site, and sometimes experimenting out of your comfort zone is a good thing.

      Duly noted – you’re ahead of the trend. Must be that you created the fad! :)

      • http:///www.sheilapatterson.com sheila

        Haha, I wish! 😉

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  • http://www.djnr.net Jenaro Diaz

    Wow! thanks a lot for including me in this list! and also love your comments, thanks again!!

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Jenaro,

      You’re welcome – you certainly deserve the credit!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      PS – Your chair looks pretty comfy. Is it, and where did you get it?

  • http://www.steve-edge.com Edge Design

    Great list of links.

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Thanks – hope you find inspiration!

      April

  • http://www.authenticstyle.co.uk Will

    Thanks for including Authentic Style in the list. Much appreciated!

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Will,

      You’re welcome – you deserve the credit!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment,

      April

  • http://iamrahul.com Rahul

    Thanks mate. This is Rahul here, owner of iamrahul.com. You got some nice collections. All the best everyone.

    • http://www.be.net/agreer April Greer

      Rahul,

      You’re welcome – thanks for stopping by!

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  • http://www.zapiram.es Zapiram

    Hi April,

    Thank you so much for this great compilation, it will be very useful for me as I’m currently re-designing my website http://www.zapiram.es. I’ve always been a fanatical defender of flash technology, but for some incomprehensible reason it seems to be excluded from many new devices and operating systems… So it’s time to undertake the html and css adventure :-)

    http://www.zapiram.es has been online with the same layout for almost five years now… I’m feeling like changing!!

  • http://www.attitudedesign.co.uk/ Gareth Davies

    “I’m new to the Graphics World – so a big thank you for putting these out here … Cheers !!!”

  • http://www.graphicdesigninspiration.net/ Andrew Aidan

    Great Collection . . . Nice site and inspirational.

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  • http://www.jhigginsdesign.com Jane Higgins

    I like a designer’s website that makes the work itself pop, without a lot of distractions, and makes it quick and easy for potential clients to look through. I sometimes wonder if mine is just a little too boring though. What do you think? http://www.jhigginsdesign.com. Thanks for compiling this nice list!

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Jane,

      I think the slideshow goes just a touch too fast. I feel like I don’t get enough time to absorb each image.

      I really like your site, but I think you can work to strengthen the home page. I really like your simplicity overall.

      Thanks for sharing – it can be scary to put yourself out there for review.

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  • http://giantdesign.biz dany

    i just Started my Graphic design site, http://giantdesign.biz , i hope i could learn more Tips and trick from you site…Thanks

  • http://emotionfocused.com.au/ Carlos Schafer

    Great collection- its not often I go through all 50 websites on a “Top 50″ list but this was well worthwhile. Thanks again.

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Carlos,

      Thanks! All 50?! That makes me feel really great.

      April

  • Dan

    Some I liked, but many had cheesy effects and themes that distracted from the purpose of the site.

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Dan,

      The purpose of this post was to highlight some of the great aspects of a variety of different websites and website styles. I hope that whether you liked them or didn’t, you took something positive away from the post.

      April

  • http://theloonie.ca/groups/propecia-1190343787/ Theloonie.Ca

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  • http://www.kloportfolios.com Tarlan

    Awesome list April :-) My fave are Sid Lee (have always loved their work), Kisko Labs, and Ben Hulse although they’re all great.

    I compiled a list of physical custom portfolios I’ve created in collabo with some great creatives http://kloportfolios.com/2013/01/top-21-custom-graphic-design-portfolio-books-pics/. A break from the digital!

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Tarlan,

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing the link.

  • http://www.wernickestudio.net/ Anni Wernicke

    Interesting selections. I am wondering if I have to many samples on my site. It is, however, multipurpose, as i am looking for a position, but also am open to taking on clients.

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Anni,

      Remember, a portfolio is all about quality, not quantity. Pick your best pieces and showcase them!

  • Mark

    This is great. Any new examples of portfolios using responsive design?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.creativegeniusllc.com Faith

    Wow. These are all really beautiful. Some great inspiration here and now I feel like my site is so basic and elementary that I’m glad I had already decided to redesign it. lol. Thanks!

  • http://jsorahdesign.com joseph sorah

    i do not profess to be a web designer, but some of the things that struck me about most of the sites selected are the clutter, confusion, and basic coldness most of them have. they seem to have sacrificed focus. realizing that they are trying to show case as much product as possible, it seems to come at the expense of my being willing to sort through the visual morass of too many unfocused web tricks, hoop jumps, and the indiscriminate use of the over used table function. another thing that i found bothersome is the praised minimalism. we are human beings who require some personal connection to anything in our envirenment we must interact with. minimalism is at root a fallback discription for the unwillingness or inability of the designer to supply the viewer with a context or reason for him or her to have an interest in the subject. minimalism is a very tired design fad that no one in the design profession has the courage to declare dead and a product of a long past error or era. since the end goal of most sites is to inform the viewer of the site’s subject matter and/or sell a product, most selected sites are so unfocused that these basic fuctions fail. lead the customer or viewer in a stepwise fashion through the site and he will make the decision the designer wants him to. provide too many confusing images and unnecessary trendy web tricks and the viewer/customer will do something else with his attention, time, and money. simple human interaction and traditional sales rules are always the paramount guidelines for convincing a viewer to continue doing the thing the designer wants him to.

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Joseph,

      The purpose of this post is to highlight the many, varied types of portfolios one might endeavor to make. Each business has its own audience and goals and therefore tailor their portfolio to that audience.

      As such, I’ve provided a list of 50 portfolios that fit into several categories so as to have relevance for a wide audience and to challenge designers to think outside of their comfort zone when creating or redesigning their portfolios.

      There are certainly portfolios mentioned here that each person will and will not like. That doesn’t mean they’re ineffective or “bad,” it just means that we have different opinions and that’s a-okay.

      Hope you found something positive to take away from the post!

  • http://www.saadullahaleem.com Saadullah Aleem

    Gonna go through all of these portfolios soon. Good stuff!

  • http://www.fatshape.com/ Fatshape

    Really like your list of blogs! It helped me a lot making mine at http://www.fatshape.com. I would be glad hearing any opinion, comment etc. Thanks!

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Davor,

      Really nice site! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.tasha-g.com Tasha

    I am glad that I came across this posting. I’m working my way back into designing again after a 2-year hiatus and a job in a different industry. I just updated my portfolio, but as a designer, I almost feel like crumpling it up again.

    Like a previous reader mentioned, I too love the fact that you actually took the time to describe what it was that you liked about your picks. While researching for my most recent design, I would try to take my own notes while looking for inspiration, only to find myself overwhelmed and borderline brain dead.

    Feel free to take a look at mine as well. I’m always open to suggestions!

  • http://deanlynn.com Dean Lynn

    Very good list of portfolios!
    Has a great range of quality designs, it did help me complie a few things on my new portfolio site take a peak – http://deanlynn.com – let me know your thoughts!

    • http://www.greergenius.com April Greer

      Dean,

      Very nice. If I may, a few suggestions:
      – The scrolling element doesn’t fit in the box.
      – The bottom feels like it needs some more polish. Everything else is very designed, but the text and footer are just text – no textures, no fancy header, etc.
      – In America, we spell tailor-made with an ‘o,’ not an ‘e.’ Is it different in the UK?
      – Your blog page header is off-centered with the rest of the page.

      Really nice layout! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://logopunching.com/ Stacey Devine

    Good designs gives me lot of help for creating my own portfolio nice work . I recommend this to all who wanted to create their own portfolio plz read this article first.

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  • http://www.imaginebrandingstudio.com Sarah Love

    Wow, this was really inspirational! Thank you! I am still just a beginner, but I really love seeing such strong design work for inspiration. I would love to be half as good as these designers.

  • http://www.peekayp.com Patrique Kennedy

    This is really beautiful, I like what I see. Good job

  • http://www.aratidevasher.com Arati

    Your links are very helpful, thanks!

    My website is a work in progress… any comments would be helpful. Trying to code it myself though I am a beginner.

  • http://www.fahadkhalid.com Fahad Khalid

    Very inspirational sites. I wish my website http://www.fahadkhalid.com also should have been there :)

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  • http://www.cre8tivewonders.com Robert Trupp

    I dislike my (our) site and am in school to learn the tools to change. I am at a point of “Portfolio” and really enjoyed the journey of this set of sites and how you provide guidance to inspire a look.
    Maybe when I have completed my course and Portfolio I might end up on your excellent venue.

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  • http://www.jmhcre8ive.com JMH

    LOVE, love this article. I appreciate it!
    LOVED: http://www.nineliondesign.com/

  • http://abrielshipley.com Abriel Shipley

    This is a great collection of websites! Thank you for sharing and explaining what you liked about each site. Especially because I’m in the middle of putting my website together. Hope to share it soon. :-)

  • http://diorama-studio.com Lucas Eugenio

    Amazing examples! Check out this too: http://diorama-studio.com

  • https://twitter.com/IamToddBentley Todd Bentley is a true apostle

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon everyday.
    It’s always interesting to read through content from other writers
    and practice a little something from other websites.

  • http://www.marjantrajkovski.com/ Marjan Trajkovski

    Great collection of portfolios. I enjoy to take a look at them. Thanks.

  • Bobbi

    I found the websites to be too much of a random search to understand the designer. I was not willing to take the journey. I do not find any of these websites to be successful. The navigation was terrible. I did not know where to click. Some clicks worked while others went no were. I also did not like the multiple windows that opened in some of the sites. I feel that more importance was spent of trying to look cutting edge rather than to showcase the designers work.

  • http://responsivecss.net Responsive CSS

    Hey! this is amazing portfolios list. just checkout this one “http://responsivecss.net/”, hope you will like the collection of responsive designs.