25 Effective Design Portfolio Websites

The portfolio websites of designers and digital marketing agencies are often excellent sources of inspiration. Portfolio sites frequently demonstrate exceptional creativity and attention to detail, and they often showcase creativity and take some risks that may not be possible with other types of websites.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a portfolio site successful and we’ll feature 25 outstanding portfolio sites that are worth a look. You’ll find designs from a variety of styles here, including minimal, illustrated, brightly colored, and more. Whether you’re looking for inspiration to put to use in the design of your own portfolio site, or just want to browse some excellent websites, you’ll find something to like in this collection.

If you’re looking to create your own design portfolio, we highly recommend the Divi WordPress theme from Elegant Themes.

Characteristics of Effective Portfolio Websites:

Here is a look at some of the things that can be said of effective portfolio websites.

Excellent Visual Design

Since a design portfolio website exists to show off the work of a designer or agency and to attract new clients, it only makes sense that the portfolio site itself should also be well designed. Visitors who are looking to find the right designer will be judging the quality of the portfolio site in addition to the items that are showcased within the portfolio.

Just because a portfolio site needs to be well designed doesn’t mean that it must be extravagant. In fact, many effective portfolio sites take more of a minimalist approach to the design of the portfolio site itself, which can allow the images from items being showcased to take center stage. For some good examples, see this collection of minimal WordPress themes, which includes many portfolio themes.

Creative

Some of the best portfolio sites, but not all, will showcase the creativity of the designer. Portfolio sites provide an opportunity for designers to take more creative risks and push the boundaries more than some other types of websites, like corporate websites for example.

Potential clients may appreciate some creativity in the design of the portfolio site, so this can be an excellent approach to make a site stand out.

Showcase the Best Work of the Designer

The portfolio site should not showcase every single project the designer or agency has ever completed. Instead, it should showcase only the best work. Don’t let your best work get drowned out by a lot of other projects that don’t demonstrate your potential and ability.

As a designer, you are working for the client, and there will be times when you may not agree with the decisions and choices made by clients. The result could be something that you’re not particularly proud of, but it is what the client wants. Make sure that the items you showcase in your portfolio only include the work that you are truly proud of.

Information on Services Offered

Your portfolio site should also provide some details about the types of services that you offer. There are all kinds of different designers/developers out there, and some potential clients may want to know more about what you offer before contacting you.

Most portfolio sites include a “Services” page or something similar where the descriptions of different services are provided. However you decide to do it, be sure that potential clients are able to get an accurate idea of what you have to offer by quickly browsing your site.

Easy Contact Information

The main purpose of the portfolio website is to get inquiries from potential clients, so, of course, it should be easy for website visitors to contact you. Typically this is done with a contact form that can be completed right on the page. Some designers and agencies choose to also list a phone number and mailing address, but at the very least you should have a contact form or email address. This information and/or form can often be found on a “Contact” page, but sometimes it is just included as part of the “About” page.

Able to Be Found

In order for a portfolio site to be effective, it will need to get the necessary exposure. If it is not seen by the right audience it cannot be effective at generating new business. There are a number of different ways that you can get exposure for a portfolio site, including being showcased in web design galleries, social media sharing, blogging, and paid advertising.  Maintaining a blog at the portfolio site will require some extra work, but it can be a great way to get traffic and to reach potential clients.

Beautiful Portfolio Websites

Now that we have taken a look at some of the specifics of what makes a portfolio site successful, let’s look at some examples.

Shape

Shape

Why it works:

  • This clean design features attention-grabbing illustrations on the homepage.
  • The simple black and white color scheme helps to keep the focus on images and illustrations throughout the site.
  • An intuitive navigation menu makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.

TiltedSquare

TiltedSquare

Why it works:

  • This clean and somewhat minimal design looks great and keeps the portfolio items as the focus.
  • All of the necessary information can be easily found through the main navigational items like “Portfolio”, “About”, and “Services”. The “Get in Touch” link also stands out.
  • Details are provided for each project within the portfolio.

Tone

Tone

Why it works:

  • The focus and message of the site is clear. Above the fold, a minimal amount of text is used, which makes it impossible to miss the primary message.
  • The blue “view our work” button stands out on the black background.
  • The navigation menu is simple with only two options. Visitors can view the work or contact Tone. There is nothing else to serve as a distraction.

Code

Code

Why it works:

  • The minimalist design and layout looks great and the site is also very user-friendly.
  • Links in the navigation menu are clear and it’s easy to navigate through the site.
  • The projects within the portfolio include full case studies that provide plenty of detail related to the work and how it impacts the client.

Box Clever

Box Clever

Why it works:

  • The blue and white color scheme is somewhat simple but very pleasing.
  • The icons add a nice visual touch and also help to show the types of services that they offer.
  • Bio, portfolio items, and contact information are easy to find through the navigation menu.

2nd Floor

2nd Floor

Why it works:

  • The top of the homepage tells visitors exactly what services 2nd Floor offers.
  • A sticky navigation menu keeps the most important links easy to access as you scroll down the page.
  • The portfolio is displayed in an attractive manner and visitors can click on the items to see more details of the project.

Rafal Tomal

Rafal Tomal

Why it works:

  • This beautiful minimalist design includes everything necessary without the extras that aren’t needed.
  • Logos of Forbes, TNW, Smashing Magazine, and Copyblogger help to provide credibility and social proof.
  • The “Work With Me” link in the navigation menu subtly stands out with a slightly darker background.

BARREL

BARREL

Why it works:

  • Whitespace dominates the homepage above the fold, but as you scroll down, you’ll see beautiful previews of projects from the portfolio.
  • The “About” page features professional photos of each person on the team.
  • A lot of detail is provided for each project in the portfolio. In addition to the text, a number of images display the work visually.

Focus Lab

Focus Lab

Why it works:

  • Large, bold text on the homepage immediately communicates to visitors by briefly explaining what Focus Lab does.
  • The clean design keeps the visitor’s attention on what’s important without unnecessary distractions.
  • The navigation is intuitive and the site is easy to use.
  • Detailed case studies with plenty of visuals help to showcase the awesome work in the portfolio.

STRV

STRV

Why it works:

  • The bright “Let’s Get Started” button stands out against the dark background, drawing the visitor’s attention.
  • The video background on the homepage adds an interesting element without being too distracting.
  • The message on the homepage is very clear and to the point.

Humaan

Humaan

Why it works:

  • Motion and parallax scrolling effects add some intrigue to the homepage.
  • Projects in the portfolio are presented in a beautiful way. Click on any of the projects and you’ll see a page with a full-width header image and plenty of details related to the project.
  • The “Team” page shows some personality while providing information about the individuals on the team.

Obladee

Obladee

Why it works:

  • The simple and clear message on the homepage communicates exactly what Obladee does.
  • Obladee takes an uncommon approach of providing pricing information publicly on the site with a “Pricing” link in the navigation menu.
  • All of the necessary content and details are easy to find, thanks to a simple and clear navigation menu.

Work & Co.

Work & Co.

Why it works:

  • The simple layout keeps the message front and center.
  • There is nothing extra in terms of design or content. The site is clean and easy to use.
  • The portfolio includes case studies of work for major companies like Apple, Google, and IKEA.

Littlelines

Littlelines

Why it works:

  • The site is easy to use and navigate.
  • The design looks great without going too far that it takes away from the message or content.
  • Case studies from past projects are presented in a beautiful way that provides plenty of details for anyone who might be considering hiring Littlelines.

Octopus

Octopus

Why it works:

  • The black vertical line at the bottom of the screen subtly encourages visitors to scroll down, which allows them to see work samples from the portfolio.
  • Case studies are provided to give detailed information about some client projects.
  • The site is simple and intuitive.

Sean Halpin

Sean Halpin

Why it works:

  • The color scheme is pleasing but not overpowering.
  • Below the fold, portfolio items are displayed in an attractive manner.
  • Each portfolio item has a dedicated page with plenty of details and visuals from the project.

Metropolis Creative

Metropolis Creative

Why it works:

  • The homepage slider presents the primary message of the company in an attractive way.
  • Navigation is simple, making it easy to move through the site and find what you’re looking for.
  • The portfolio items are displayed in an attractive gird (the “Work” page) and additional details are available by clicking on any of the items.

Olivier Guilleux

Olivier Guilleux

Why it works:

  • The design and illustration on the homepage make this site very memorable.
  • This site is creative and unique without sacrificing usability.
  • Each portfolio item has a beautifully-designed page that provides details of the project and several images.

Femme Fatale

Femme Fatale

Why it works:

  • This is a unique and different site that doesn’t look or feel like every other portfolio website.
  • Each product in the portfolio has a unique page with a large featured image and lots of other details about the project.
  • The navigation menu is simple with just three links: About, Projects, and Contact.

The1stMovement

The1stMovement

Why it works:

  • Lots of motion makes this homepage memorable and interesting.
  • Porfolio items have dedicated pages with huge images to showcase the work very effectively.
  • Colors and images are used throughout the site to make it very visually appealing.

Mint Twist

Mint Twist

Why it works:

  • The portfolio items are showcased in a colorful and very beautiful way.
  • The “What We Do” link in the navigation opens up a mega menu that shows the complete picture of services that are offered.
  • This site includes far more content than many portfolio sites (mostly because Mint Twist offers so many different services) but it manages to remain easy to navigate.

Toy Fight

Toy Fight

Why it works:

  • Unique effects make this site stand out from other portfolio sites.
  • Toy Fight takes a bold approach from colors, to effects, to the images and visuals that are included throughout the site.
  • Each page uses different colors and attention-grabbing visuals.

AKQA

AKQA

Why it works:

  • The homepage focus on showcasing successful projects from the portfolio.
  • Big, bold images are used throughout the site.
  • Despite a heavy reliance on images, the layout remains clean.

Lounge Lizard

Lounge Lizard

Why it works:

  • The homepage features interesting animated effects.
  • The sticky “Request a Proposal” link makes it easy for visitors to get in touch.
  • The “Clients” page lists a number of past or present clients organized by industry, so it’s easy to see the broad reach that Lounge Lizard has had.

Duall

Duall

Why it works:

  • Interesting scrolling effects, along with some sound effects, make the site unique.
  • When you arrive at the homepage, you’ll see a brief statement about what Duall does and you’ll be able to easily navigate to any of the primary pages on the site. Straight and to the point.
  • Clicking on “Showreel” will play a video that showcases the work in an interesting way.

Create Your Own Portfolio Website

We hope you’ve been inspired by the portfolio sites showcased above. If you’re looking to create your own portfolio website, our top recommendation is the Divi WordPress theme. Divi gives you complete creative freedom to create an amazing website that will effectively communicate with potential clients. Learn more about Divi here.

Looking for hosting? WPEngine offers secure managed WordPress hosting. You’ll get expert WordPress support, automatic backups, and caching for fast page loads.

Divi WordPress Theme