If no one has told you yet today, you’re amazing. Also? Your portfolio matters a whole stinkin’ lot. It matters so much that we reached out to the designers behind our favorite portfolios.
But do you really need a portfolio site? What’s the big deal? My colleague John answered that question in another post we published. Have a look. I’ll wait.
Now that you’ve read John’s post and he’s convinced you that yes — spoiler alert — you do need a portfolio site, get inspired by some of our favorite portfolios built in Webflow.
PS: If you’re a design student, please stick around until the end. There’s maybe possibly for sure a special surprise there for you.
Adam Ho, a brand designer at Zendesk, delivers an unforgettable first impression through his portfolio. His use of custom interactions and animations make his portfolio pop — literally.
We asked Adam about the inspiration behind adding interactions to his site:
I wanted motion to be part of the story of my portfolio, so I incorporated a bunch of subtle transitions throughout the site. This was a great way to balance out the “hugeness” of the site, which was to have content appear as you scroll, rather than have everything jump out at you at once.
-Adam Ho, @omgadamho
Check out Adam’s site for more eye-poppin’ inspiration.
Jason Marder, a product designer at Gusto, infuses his clean portfolio with charming details. We asked Jason how he managed to strike this beautiful balance between the personal and professional:
I wanted people to feel like they could understand my personality and my process after spending even a few minutes with my portfolio. I wanted to incorporate storytelling in a big way and I feel most comfortable communicating my thoughts and ideas through writing. This is why my portfolio has more text than most. [Your portfolio] is the only place on the internet where you have full control over the medium AND the message, which makes embarking on a portfolio equal parts exciting and intimidating! I really saw it as a huge opportunity to not only tell my story, but push myself out of my comfort zone, learn a lot, and have some (obsessive) fun in the process.
-Jason Marder, @JasonMarder
To be honest, I have a friend crush on Jason. I’ll venture to say you’ll feel the same way after a scroll through his fun and personality-infused portfolio.
Wilián Iralzabal is a product designer and Webflow Expert whose clean, robust, and highly functional portfolio site caught our eye.
We asked Wilián about the inspiration behind his site:
Before Webflow, my portfolio was template-based because I was not able to bring my ideas into life in the way that I wanted to due to my lack of engineering knowledge. I began by asking myself, “Wil (parental figure voice), you do know your portfolio is outdated right? It’s been two years fam. Skeuomorphic design is not hip anymore”. As a designer, I’ve spent so much time working with others to help them stand out in the marketplace, whether that be a fancy new logo, landing page, blog, web app, or a native app, etc. I realized I’d never really spent the time to figure out my own message/voice. Notice, I did not say visual design, interactions, and responsive breakpoints. As a product designer, being able to tell a cohesive narrative is the primary focus of a portfolio. The how and the why is 10x more important than a beautiful color palette and font choice. I was going to code my portfolio from scratch using Twitter Bootstrap front-end framework, but then I learned about Webflow :)
-Wilián Iralzabal, @wilianiralzabal
Take a look at Wilián's site and see this strategy in action.
Laurent Desserrey, an LA-based designer, has built one of the most unique portfolios we’ve seen on Webflow so far. The “brutalist and glitchy vibes,” as Laurent calls them, are inspired not by the current product design industry, but by YouTube videos.
We asked Laurent about the biggest challenge he faced, and lesson he learned, in the process of building his site:
Don’t make a template … I don’t believe you can surprise anyone with a template. That’s why I try to experiment around new patterns.
-Laurent Desserrey, @laurentdelrey
Take a scroll through Laurent’s site and see these glitchy, brutalist vibes in action.
Learn everything you need to know about making the leap to freelancing, from how to find clients to how to price your services.
Rodolpho Henrique, a designer at McKinsey, built a portfolio site that shows off both his work and his creative processes.
Rodolpho explains the importance of his “show don’t tell” approach:
The strategy behind my portfolio was to focus on design processes showing and validating how I ended up with the final solutions. It took me a long time to understand this, but I simply stopped only showing the final results and polished pixels on my portfolio. Each piece of my work has a story, from the colours I’ve been using to the size of that heading typeface. Each decision I made has a reason and a rationale behind it. So I show it. I’ve been lucky enough to work on big projects and long digital transformations from startups to leaders. These kinds of digital products require reasons and rationales behind each design decision because of the instant impact on thousand of customers.
-Rodolpho Henrique, @rodhzz
Now that he’s told you, let him show you: check out Rodolpho’s site.
Jonathan Patterson, a freelance visual designer, colorfully displays his design talent in his portfolio. His impressive use of animations mimics the design process itself, giving us insight into his creative genius.
We asked Jonathan what inspired him to build his portfolio site in the first place:
Having control over the nuances of a site that tells your story as a designer is crucial. I’ve hired developers in the past to build out my portfolio website, and while I had varying degrees of success with that approach, there was always a need to change things to keep it current — which was cost-prohibitive and tedious. I’ve even tried a custom developed site running on WordPress, but that has its limitations too. As a designer, I like having full control over how my site looks and works.
-Jonathan Patterson, @jon_patterson
Check out Jonathan’s portfolio for yourself.
Aileen Shin, a product designer studying communication design in Berlin, tells a story with her portfolio in her brilliant combination of thoughtful copy and minimal design elements.
What inspired Aileen to build this portfolio site in the first place? She tells us:
I wanted to communicate the process of my work through visual storytelling. Each project I've worked on has its own stories and learnings, and I wanted to capture that essence. Webflow provides all the tools I need to be as creative as I want, fast.
-Aileen Shin, @aileensohn
Wondering how to display your case studies in your portfolio? Aileen’s site may be your guiding light.
If Nick Vandermolen’s site looks familiar, it’s because it was one of 2017’s top 10 most popular sites built in Webflow this year — and it’s clear why. His layout is aesthetically beautiful, functional, and as he describes it, “sophisticated.”
What was the strategy behind Nick’s build? He gives us the scoop:
My strategy was to build a beautifully engaging website which does not get in the way of the work that is being featured. Some portfolios don’t actually let the case studies shine. A portfolio is meant to complement your work, not overpower it. My main objective was to create a timeless design and avoid using too many current trends, as trends definitely change quickly in the industry.
In the mood for a more sophisticated site? Before you build, take a look at Nick’s site for inspiration.
Femke van Schoonhove
Hey! You’re still with us, and lucky for your scrollin’ self, your reward is a peek into the brilliance that is Femke van Schoonhove.
Femke, a product designer at Uber and cohost of a weekly podcast on design and side projects, designed a portfolio that stands out from the crowd. Femke shared her advice for designers who are building a portfolio of their own:
My advice for other designers creating their portfolio is to think about the key message you want to convey. Ask yourself what you want others who visit your portfolio to walk away with and consider how you can use your portfolio to effectively convey this message. Remember that every touch point is an opportunity to send this message — the copy, work you choose to feature, photography, and of course overall presentation and aesthetic — they all play a role in providing the visitor with a key message.
-Femke van Schoonhove, @femkesvs
Check out Femke’s portfolio site to see more of her incredible work and writing.
Cool. Now what?
Now, you have the inspiration, talent, and tools to make your own powerful portfolio.
Who knows? Maybe next year, I’ll be fangirling over your site. Anything is possible with a unique, custom portfolio.
Are you a student? Don’t move. As promised, we’ve got something for you.
Webflow is running a special offer for students who create their portfolio on our platform.
Sign up with your school email address and watch for an email with instructions and a coupon code for your discount.