You’ve made it through some of the best portfolio schools in the U.S. and you’re ready to put all of your great work online for recruiters & creative directors (and your parents, too) to see all the good stuff you’ve done. Or, you’re already earning a decent salary and are ready for your next career move, when you realize you have a shit ton of work to do to showcase all the work you’ve done in the past two years. Either way, you’re looking for some inspiration, I sense it. Here are 5 graphic design portfolio examples that simply work.
Platform used: Squarespace
Emilie is an awesome Art Director / Designer hybrid living in Colorado. She’s a personal friend of mine that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. First of all, she showcases both her Art Direction and Graphic Design portfolios on separate pages, which is great. What I also like is how short she keeps the description of the projects. She knows that people looking at books are usually busy and have no time reading long copy descriptions. Last but not least, it’s super easy to navigate to another project once you reach the bottom of a project page. This template is found on Squarespace and is perfect for design portfolios in my opinion. If you are looking for Squarespace-specific portfolio examples, check out my post on Squarespace Graphic Design Portfolio Examples.
- Do try to categorize your work if it spans across multiple disciplines (I know there are a lot of you Art Director/Graphic Designer/Web Developer out there).
- Write a short description of the project that quickly says something about the client and your role in the project. And by “short” I mean “short”, because the people that will review your work have no time to look at it.
- Above all, make it easy for people to navigate from one project to the other without having to go back to the homepage.
- Make good use of your project thumbnails, so that if your viewer doesn’t open the projects, they can takeaway something by only seeing your homepage.
- Don’t be afraid to use pre-made templates on site like Squarespace. They save you tons of time. As a result, you can spend more time crafting the images that you display in your portfolio.
- Write something about yourself. Emilie keeps it short and sweet in her About page
- Finally, Make sure to include your Résumé somewhere on the site.
Platform used: Squarespace
Here’s another portfolio example that uses the same Squarespace template as the previous one. However, the project pages are presented in a very different way.
Forrest is a super talented and passionate graphic designer I met at a career fair at SCAD. He’s done some really awesome work while working at R/GA for the likes of Nike and Converse. Because He mostly does Interactive Design (web & app design), he choses to present his work in a similar fashion. Long vertical storytelling blocks help showcase web & app design while keeping its integrity.
- If you have a long and difficult name, it’s probably not a good idea to have it as your url. Forrest Von Hoene uses fhv.design instead of forrestvonhoene.com (easy to mess up).
- If you are showcasing landing pages and apps, take advantage of you vertical space. People don’t have to see the whole site or app all at once. Scrolling down is now second nature, hence a great opportunity for you to use long vertical layouts. Forrest does a great job at doing just that.
- Make sure your site looks great on both desktop and mobile devices.
Platform used: Web Flow
Riley Mann is a friend and intern I mentored while I worked at Victors and Spoils. He later landed a job at Grip, a prestigious advertising and design firm in Chicago.
What I really like about Riley’s portfolio is that he guides you on how he wants you to see his work. It’s as if he is holding your hand and taking you on a journey through his book. What he fails to do however is talk a bit about himself and showcase his résumé (which I know is really great!).
- If you want to people to look at your book in a specific order, one long vertical scroll is the way to do it, however, make sure those images use Lazy Loading so that your webpage doesn’t take too much time to load. The last thing you want is a slow portfolio page.
Platform used: Squarespace
Lindsey is an old friend from Minnesota and one of the most talented graphic designer / illustrator / art director I have ever met. I had the pleasure to work alongside her while at Colle+McVoy, an ad agency based in Minneapolis, MN.
Lindsay’s portfolio is showcased in a continuous feed that’s reminiscent of pinterest or designspiration (if you didn’t know that site, you’re welcome!). This layout is perfect for her, and I’ll explain why. If you are a designer or illustrator that has netted on a specific style, you might want to use that format. By doing so, Lindsey is turning herself into a brand almost. While all the work on her feed are for different clients, personal projects and all, it’s all cohesive and sells her style as an illustrator and designer. Now, people who seek to hire her seek her personal style. If there’s anything that gets you rich and famous in this industry, it’s that type of work. Other designers that embrace this approach are Kate Moross, Timothy Goodman, and Jonathan Calugi.
While this portfolio layout might not be for everyone, it certainly works for Lindsey.
- If you have a specific style that is consistent across your work, you may want to use a feed layout for your portfolio
Platform used: Behance
Jessica Walsh is not a friend of mine, but I wish she was. She is a partner and designer at one of my favorite design studios: Sagmeister & Walsh. Jessica’s book is one of many great graphic design portfolio examples that use Behance. If you’re not familiar with Behance, it’s a creative community that is now owned by Adobe. It’s a great way to gain exposure and a super easy way to build a portfolio. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to build your portfolio, Behance is the way to go. However, it is a bit more limited as to what you can do with it, in contrast to say Squarespace or WordPress.
- Use Behance if you want a simple way to build a portfolio and want other creatives to comment on and appreciate your work
Graphic Design Portfolio Examples Types
As you can see there are several formats used in the real world to showcase your work. Use what you think fits you the best:
- Categorized portfolio with thumbnails: Great for people that work on multiple disciplines (art Direction / Design / Web Development / Animation for instance)
- Long Vertical Scrolls: Great for storytelling and to be able to guide the viewer in a specific order.
- Pinterest-like Feeds: Great for illustrators and designers that have a specific style they want to showcase / sell.
I hope that this post will inspire you to put your best work out there in a timely manner. Remember that you don’t have to over do it. People who will see your book only cares about the work