Tips for Creating Your Web Design Portfolio

by
Monica Galvan
Tips for Creating Your Web Design Portfolio
Your web design portfolio is the key to getting hired as a freelance designer. Without it, clients can’t find you. In this article, you’ll learn from other portfolio examples, what you should include in yours, and how to make it stand out from the rest.

Why you need a web design portfolio

You might already be sold on the idea and know you need to have a portfolio if you want to pursue web design as a career. But if you’re not and you need a little more convincing or a reminder, here are a few key reasons why you should make this a priority.

Check out this video where Ran walks you through the difference between a good and bad portfolio.

You own your portfolio website

Some people may use social media or other third-party sites like Instagram, Dribbble, or Behance to share their work. While it’s a good idea to also share your work on all these platforms and others in order for new potential clients to find you, you still want to lead them to your own website. 

The benefit of having your own website is you own it 100%. Assuming you purchased a domain and pay for some form of hosting, you have control over what you show on your website and how others can interact with it. But platforms like Instagram, Dribble, and Behance, you don’t own, which means they can change the rules at any time. Instead, use social media as a funnel to attract potential clients but bring them back to your website where you control the user journey.

It builds trust and shows professionalism

Think about all the big businesses in the world, they all have their own websites. If you wanted to purchase an Apple computer, you probably feel comfortable doing so by sending them a DM on Instagram and handing over your payment information. Instead, Apple has a massive website that addresses all subsections of their business and products from Mac computers to the iPhone and beyond. Every step of the way, you get a custom experience. 

An Apple-inspired web design portfolio website (source)

Speaking of Apple, check out its video where Ran walks you through an Apple-inspired portfolio website design.

Apply the same principles to your website, design it with care. Think about the homepage, what are the individual pages you will include, and how will you guide someone to contacting you for work? Consider the end-to-end experience of your portfolio site

You can dive deeper into details

A drawback to only using other platforms to present your portfolio is they don’t allow you to expand on the details of your work. Take a look at this grid of stunning UI design work from Tubik on Dribble. While it’s an amazing showcase of work, it’s only surface level. You can’t get a feel for how the designer thinks and solves real problems. If the designer created a case study on their website including these visual examples, a client would have a better idea of who they are hiring.

Example of a UI design portfolio on Dribbble (source)
Example of a UI design portfolio on Dribbble (source)

You can customize it

A big perk of owning your website is you can customize the design and experience to be exactly as you want it to be. We recommend using Webflow to truly create the best website experience. If you’re new to Webflow, check out these 15+ best webflow templates. Here’s a sneak peak into of the stunning templates.

A modern Webflow template (source)

Check out this video where Ran walks you through one of the best portfolios he has ever seen.

What should you include in your web design portfolio?

Whether you are redesigning your web design portfolio website or creating it for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming when considering what you should include. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused.

Start with 3–5 projects

It’s tempting to include every single thing you ever designed on your portfolio site but this is a huge mistake made by new designers. Instead, carefully curate the projects you include, only show your absolute best work. After all, you’re only as good as your weakest portfolio project. Focus on showcasing 3–5 projects for this first portfolio launch. Really take the time to craft the story behind the project, show how it evolved, and how you pivoted design decisions around key learnings.

Design the homepage first

After you’ve chosen the core pieces of work you want to share, design the homepage. This is the equivalent to an album or book cover, it’s what someone sees before they read the book or listen to the album. If you want them to pick it up, you need to make sure your cover, or in this case your homepage, catches their attention from the start. 

Most portfolio homepages follow a similar template. You have a navigation system with key links to Work, About Me, and Contact. Then the first half is usually filled with some sort of bold headline that explains who you are and what you do. But how you design this section is entirely up to you. Think about the typography and colors that will become your brand. 

A tip here is to take time to compile a moodboard of inspiring graphic and UI design examples. Once you have a moodboard of things you love, you’ll have a better idea of how to translate this into your portfolio website.

Make it interactive

Whether it’s adding video in the context of your portfolio projects or adding animation and interactive elements to the design of your site, consider how you can make your website stand out by adding motion. 

One of the best and easiest ways to do this is to design your website with Webflow. We teach our students how to design with Webflow to create truly unique and interactive websites. Check out this article on 12 stunning Webflow examples that show just how versatile the platform is. Here’s a peak into one of the examples featured.

Example of a website designed with Webflow (source)
Example of a website designed with Webflow (source)

Web design portfolio examples

Need more tips and inspiration for designing your web design portfolio? Check out these examples, observe and learn from what works best.

Danbee Shin

Web design portfolio example (source)
Web design portfolio example (source)

The number one reason why this is a successful portfolio design is how focused and niched down even the homepage is. Right away you understand who Danbee is, the type of clients she works with, and how she helps them. Most designers are afraid to niche down to one type of client or design work, for example, working with only e-commerce or maybe within the health and wellness space. 

You might think that by doing so you are saying no to so many clients. However, it has the opposite effect. Instead, when a client comes along who fits that exact mold, they have no hesitation to reach out to you because they know you can solve their exact problem. Think about how you can narrow your freelance design business and design your website to reflect this new direction.

Lenonguyen

A stunning portfolio redesign (source)
A stunning portfolio redesign (source)

Immediately, you notice how stunning this portfolio website is from the interactions and bold typography. When you hover over elements on the homepage, you’ll notice some 3D elements happening such as how his profile photo comes to the foreground over the headline text. There’s a good mix of serif and san serif typography throughout. As you scroll down, the work is displayed beautifully and simply on large solid backgrounds, allowing the design work to shine through.

Ilya Kulbachny

Web design portfolio example (source)
Web design portfolio example (source)

As you enter this portfolio, you’re met with so much interaction that really brings the experience of this website to life. Be sure to take time to over around this site and scroll down to experience all the interactions firsthand. Another good note to take from this web design portfolio example is how each of the projects links to the final live website. If you have designed websites that are live on the Internet right now, always include direct links. Showing the final website will always be more impactful than solely sharing carefully designed mockups.

Abhishek Jha

Web design portfolio example (source)
Web design portfolio example (source)

Another super interactive web design portfolio example, be sure to scroll through to see how the typography and photos layer on top of each other to create a unique experience for the user. Notice how when you refresh the page, a new project is featured at the top. This is a good idea to help a potential client see more of your work each time they visit your site, simply because a new project is featured at the top upon a new visit or refresh.

Davide Baratta

A web design portfolio example (source)
A web design portfolio example (source)

You may be noticing a theme here: Interactivity paired with bold typography. More and more you’ll see how important it is to consider interaction when making your portfolio website stand out. It’s still uncommon, most websites are static and don’t include many interactive elements. So the easiest way to stand out is simply to include more animation. Davide’s portfolio also features quite a bit of video, if it’s possible, think about how you can include video on your portfolio site.

Robin Mastromarino

Web design portfolio example (source)
Web design portfolio example (source)

I’ll admit, at first this website made me a little dizzy. But as you scroll through, you know you’re experiencing something unlike anything else. What I love about this portfolio is that while the homepage includes some crazy animations and interactions, when you click on a project you still get to the meat of the project with the more functional side of the website. 

It’s important to note while adding interactions and fancy animations can make your portfolio stand out, be sure to use it selectively or in this case, mostly on the homepage. Interactivity should add to the website experience, not distract or take away from someone learning more about you, your design work, and how they can work with you.

Want to learn more about design?

Check out other articles from the Flux blog where you can learn more on web design, Webflow, and freelancing. If you’re looking for in-depth video tutorials on design, check out our YouTube channel where we publish new videos weekly.‍

Flux YouTube design channel
Flux YouTube design channel

Want to learn more about how to create a stunning and interactive portfolio with Webflow? Check out our Webflow style guide so you can design faster.

‍If you want to learn more about the web design process from start to finish, consider checking out our program The $10k Website Process. You’ll discover a step-by-step process to design beautiful, high-value websites that achieve strategic goals for your clients. Master the art and strategy of website design, and increase the value of your services, as well as your rates.

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