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Express yourself: 25+ amazing portfolio sites

By Kendra Gaines | Branding, Inspiration, Web Design | Dec 19, 2012

For some web designers, the process of creating a website for someone comes easy. You get a chance to really visualize how you feel about a company or client. However, one of the hardest things for almost every designer is creating a site for themselves. Designers want to show their creativity, skills, and express themselves all in one spot.

It’s a difficult task — one many designers often outsource to someone else. It’s hard to determine how you want to portray your work, what work you think is best to show, and what approach you want to take to the business side of things. On top of that, many average designers don’t have a lot of differentiation in portfolio sites; you get the same layouts and elements most times.

The purpose with portfolios is not just to show off your work, but to give a sense of you and your brand. We’ve found a few designers that have done that creatively and consistently throughout their sites. We hope you find inspiration in them.

 

Sawyer

Sawyer comes to prove that it’s not about all the things you could say to a client. This clearly focuses on the work that’s done and its purpose. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

 

Domani

This agency takes an extremely creative and unique approach to presenting themselves.  You can tell they’re brand is bold and they meet problems with new solutions. This is an all-around fun website with movement and great attention to detail as well.

 

Calm Digital

It’s no secret that we really certain colors to certain emotions. Calm Digital has used that to their advantage in their brand. Not only are they calm in their color scheme, but it transfers into the belief that they are 100% sure of themselves and confident in their work.

 

Wildlife.la

This is an agency that has no problem revealing all their cards. They want you to know they are strong with design as well as development. This website is fun, wild, and extremely unique.

 

Crystalnix

Sometimes you’ve created a niche for yourself that requires some explanation. Most likely, you are introducing something new, so you must be thorough in your approach. This website spotlights great ways to have a niche, explain it, and to visualize it.

 

TeamGeek

Here, this agency has borrowed some elements from landing pages. They have put a call to action above the fold. This is great and can end up being effective for a portfolio. Otherwise, you will probably enjoy the consistent design of this site.

 

Hooraylabs

I feel like this web design is the product of designers who didn’t have much time to create their own space. This happens a lot, but I think they have met the challenge well by designing a single page with contact information. Far too often designers will put a lot on their website and never make time to update. So, why not avoid it altogether and leave what’s most important?

 

WebKnit

This is a very clean and concise approach that is notable mainly for it’s interface.

 

L.A.N.Z.A.R.T

Have you ever seen an animated portfolio? This is another simple and neat approach to portfolios. 

 

Simple.Honest.Work.

I can’t say I’m excited to read a bunch of content, but it may make sense if your focus is not just on the work, but what you have to say. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. But you must admit, this is a very creative approach for a creative agency.

 

Stephen Caver

Stephen is an ambitious guy who doesn’t just want to show off his work, but also his thoughts and other things. See, before we said this can be taxing and hard to keep up with, but Stephen is up to the challenge.

 

Woodwork

Woodwork focuses in videography. Instead of presenting the work like most portfolios, this is a fluid attempt at getting the audience interested in all the work.

 

Purple Orange

In some cases, it’s okay to describe your brand and who you are and what you do. In other cases, you may need to let people know why they need you and how you can help. Purple Orange does a great job of selling the need for their service without being too pushy. 

 

iamalwayshungry

IAAH is a creative agency that focuses more from the perspective of culture and art. You can tell in their work that they value huge meaning behind their work. They also explain their visions within their portfolio.

 

Aaron Shapiro

Keeping it simple is one of the most effective ways to do will present what ever it is you have. Portfolios are created for one purpose, and Aaron seems to have a hold on what that purpose is.

 

Buffalo

Movement is always good for web design. It gets people interested in what’s going on and it creates a little bit of excitement. At no point do you want to overdo the movement but you want to make it tasteful. Buffalo has created lots of movement for their website.

 

Brian Hoff Design

Sometimes you just want your potential clients to know what you do and see your work. If that works for you, then of course you need to make it interesting. Here is a great website that shows you how to keep it simple yet effective.

 

Flourish Web Design

This is one of the rare times you have an agency that has a content heavy website. The reason being, they go above and beyond in trying to explain their brand and their process. With content heavy sites it’s often hard not to make things cluttered, but Flourish has done a good job making everything work together.

 

Rui Mollar

I find particularly interesting about this web site is not just the boldness, but also the programming of the portfolio. In it’s not always about creating a brand-new way of doing something, it could just be about creating a new way to interact with.

 

Segno Studio Creativo

As you can tell so far, many creators like to show their work in some sort of grid or table type element. The people over at Segno decided they wanted to go for more of the presentation of their work. 

 

Grain & Mortar

Many times when you enter an agency’s website, they tell you who they are. However, rarely do they go into great detail about what they do. Grain and Mortar do a great job of explaining their one sentence description with icons and infographics.

 

Vito Salvatore

Vito Salvatore makes a great introduction by the way he opens his page. A again, this is a portfolio that brings a different approach, while also keeping some common elements such as a grid-based portfolio. 

 

Noble Design

While this website doesn’t use a lot of tricks, you do get a feel for who and what this designer is. You can tell this is a guy who is likes to make a statement without bragging. This is a humble yet bold portfolio.

  

 

Nick Jones

Nick Jones is setting new bars for web design. It this website is something that I didn’t expect to see in 2012. It’s extremely unique, absolutely stands out, and it’s obvious he knows exactly what he’s doing.

 

Mostly Serious

Mostly Serious is obviously an agency that thrives on being different. You you can tell that by the way they’ve developed their website, with the different pages and the trendy programming.

 

Benjamin Chirlin

Benjamin has decided to take a completely different approach to introducing his brand. It can seem to be a bit kitschy, but you cannot hate the way he has put together this website. It’s completely different and we must celebrate that.

 

My Dirty Desk

My Dirty Desk is a wonderful website based mainly on vector designs. While many portfolios utilize the funds scrolling effects they make it exciting with their use of design. It’s not something you would see everywhere.

 

Conclusion

The idea when creating a portfolio is not to try to outdo anyone, it’s about finding a way to present your brand to an audience. It’s not about over designing and complicating things, but it’s about creating an innovative way to live on the Internet. Again, it can be tough and it is almost always hard to do it for yourself. But, you must know your brand or identity, and you must know how to present that. Think outside the box but don’t re-create the wheel and don’t be afraid to be different.

Did we miss any of your favourites? Do you have your own portfolio? Let us know in the comments.

 

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  • http://www.neogrey.com/ Ivan Filipov

    So, the salmon (or coral) is the new black? Paired with teal and gray… I’m seeing this too often on portfolios. Also, I like sites like wildlife, but I think there aren’t too many computers that can display it flawlessly, for example my iPad 2 jumps a bit while scrolling the page and that spoils the experience. Loving Lanzart tho ;)

  • http://www.yoursavingangels.com/ Jamie Dickinson

    Some great variety in these examples, thanks. Looks like headlines and photography is going to get even bigger next year. Lots using really thick, chunky san serifs.

  • http://twitter.com/cbillowes Clarice Billowes

    Some very inspiring sites!

  • stacey

    Thanks for the Great inspiration Especially liked hooray lab

    Stacey from http://gotostudio7.com

  • Sarah Bauer

    I get excited to see designers and agencies using photography in layout presentation to show some core aspect of their service, or show their product in action. I think we’ll be seeing much more of this in the coming year.

    Cheers
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • http://twitter.com/Tommaso_Villa Tommaso Villa

    Vito Salvatore portolio is my favorite one in the list, i love sober colors

  • http://about.me/evanjacobs Evan Jacobs

    I love Buffalo and Woodwork. Beautiful designs!

  • http://twitter.com/RyanBrussow Ryan Brussow

    Thanks for the mention!

    Ryan from teamgeek.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.canega Eugene Canega

    teamgeek site is nice, how did they do that topbar trick? Anyone knows how?