The best graphic design websites to inspire you to create your online portfolio

Are you a graphic designer looking for inspiration to create your own online portfolio? Then check out this curated list of the best graphic design websites that are sure to inspire you to build your own. In this post, we also included a short list of websites where you can find more graphic design portfolio ideas and a few guidelines to help you create your own striking online portfolio.

So here they are – the most acclaimed and awarded graphic design websites and portfolios across the internet, featuring professionals from all over the world and brought to you in alphabetical order.

1. Active Theory

With offices in Los Angeles (California) and Amsterdam (Netherlands), Active Theory is a creative digital production studio who “make bold things for the big guys”. And with a statement like that, their portfolio needs to live up to their reputation!

Animation is the keyword here. The website provides an immersive 3D experience – as you land on their homepage, you quite literally enter a new world, and for a few seconds you just won’t be able to take your eyes off it! Creative Bloq calls the aesthetic “Blade Runner-ish and moody”, and if you head over to the website and take a look, you’ll see why.

Active Theory uses one clear call to action, and that’s an invitation for the user to go and check out their work. Arguably, you don’t even need to though, as they tell you everything you want to know about them on their home page, thanks to the mesmerising animated experience they provide.

But when it comes to displaying their portfolio, Active Theory choose a clean look for their projects. Examples of their work are featured through a full-screen animation, overlaid with information and links about each project. Truly fantastic.

2. Alex Coven

As he puts it on the home page of his website, Chicago-based Alex Coven wears three hats – he’s a Graphic Designer, a Web Developer, and a Letterer. Straight from the word go, Coven tells you exactly what he does. His website is all about clarity and simplicity.

His design is simple yet effective – just scroll down, and you’ll see his work. Coven overlays each project with a different colour, which makes the website both user-friendly and impactful. You may also notice how he uses the full-width of the screen, making the website all about his work, with no distractions around it. And if you want to find out more about each project, a handy arrow on the right-hand side of each section points you into the right direction.

3. Buzzworthy Studio

Based in Brooklyn (New York), design agency Buzzworthy Studio’s website helps them stand out from the crowd. As you land on their website, you’re greeted with the message “We create extraordinary digital solutions that get people thinking” – it’s bold, and it’s out there.

But blink and you’ll miss it. Because the Buzzworthy Studio’s website uses animation and interactive features that make for an attention-grabbing and interesting experience. Their bold message disappears after a couple of seconds to introduce us to their home page.

They also make great use of headers and full-width images that give you plenty of details on each of their amazing projects once you hover over and click through. If you’re looking for inspiration, this is definitely one to check out.

4. Femme Fatale Studio

The clue is in the name here. Paris-based Femme Fatale is a creative studio that specialises in interactive experiences and animation. And as soon as you land on their website, you can tell. On their home page, they display a series of images and animations that give you a clear idea of what their work is all about.

They also make use of bold images and special effects, including parallax scrolling, a technique where background images move past the camera more slowly than foreground images. This creates an illusion of depth and a sense of immersion. Check it out!

5. Heather Shaw

Graphic Designer Heather Shaw specialises in brochures, business cards, presentations, but also websites and applications and much much more! An experienced designer in both the online and offline space, she displays her portfolio with elegance, clarity, and simplicity.

Shaw doesn’t make you work hard to find her portfolio – you can find it on the home page. Each block is a different project – at a glance, all projects are overlaid by a solid colour. But hover over the project, and you’ll see the relevant images displayed. It’s really as simple as that.

6. Locomotive

Canadian (Quebec-based) studio Locomotive also makes use of movement and interactive features on their home page. Their playful and colourful animations are used against an elegant and timeless black backdrop, and they say a lot about their work.

When you click on the Projects page, you’re greeted with the message: “Locomotive develops, designs and delivers websites and creative campaigns that drive results, build awareness and win awards. Our work never brags, but it sure loves to speak for itself.” And they certainly do that very well.

Back on the home page, an intriguing and attractive blue button on the right-hand side featuring a pencil icon will soon get your attention. And you certainly won’t be disappointed once you click on it – you’ll want to check out their humorous copy and use of the voice feature!

7. Pollen

London-based Pollen is an award-winning, full-service branding and digital agency that specialises in the fashion and retail sectors. And you’ll know that the minute you land on their website, where you’re greeted by a series of black and white animated images. Visually, the photos set the tone and scene on the home page area above the fold and also introduce the user to an engaging presentation of their work.

Like other designers, Pollen makes use of the full width of the screen, leaving no room for distraction. Scroll down on the page, where their portfolio is displayed, and you’ll see that parallax scrolling becomes one of the most prominent features on their website.

Not to mention how effective their unique choice of sprinkling their own quotes and mission statements across the page is! Things like, “We understand that design is a business investment and always deliver significant and measurable results for our clients” help you get a real sense of what’s important to them and what they’re all about. Great move.

8. Stefanie Brückler

New York-based Stefanie Brückler is an Austrian graphic designer and illustrator specialising in branding and editorial design. Scroll down on her home page (after admiring her logo for a second or two), and you’ll be presented with a selection of her work, displayed elegantly through a grid-based layout. Her website is elegant and minimalistic.

And it stands out because of Brückler’s choice to use a muted colour palette. Muted colours are definitely not the norm – you’ll have noticed most designers included in this list use impactful, bold colours instead.

But Brückler’s colour palette plays a key role in giving the whole website a cohesive and consistent look. This isn’t always easy to achieve, especially if you consider that most designers face the challenge of displaying work from different brands, each with their own distinctive look and feel. The fact that Brückler manages to achieve this consistency so effortlessly is a great testament to her skills.

9. Tobias van Schneider

Tobias van Schneider, is an award-winning designer born in Germany, raised in Austria and currently living in New York. (Although his home page suggests he previously lived in Stockholm!). He specialises in digital product design and brand identity, and his portfolio includes some of the biggest names out there, including Spotify and Sony, just to name a couple.

What makes his website stand out (aside from the list of brands he’s worked with) is the imagery – and in particular, the photographs he uses. The above-the-fold section of his home page uses a striking black background with huge fonts. Scroll down, and each project is displayed against a different background colour, but the layout and the unique choice of typography ensure the page is consistent and always on-brand.

10. ToyFight

And last but not least, Manchester- (UK) based studio ToyFight will wow you with their 3D animated images of the founders, which are used consistently across their website. On the home page, you can’t miss the distinctive bright yellow background, but the use of solid bright colours as a backdrop is a consistent feature across the whole website.

ToyFight are “an award-winning creative agency specialising in design” who “partner with global brands and emerging businesses to create exciting and meaningful experiences, whether digital or non-digital”. And if their website is anything to go by, you can tell they know how to create something memorable. Just need to head over their Work page and see how they’ve chosen to list their projects.

Where can you find more graphic design portfolio ideas? 

We hope you enjoyed the selection we put together for you, but if you’re looking for more inspiration, there’s plenty where those came from. So if you want to browse more graphic design websites to get ideas for building your own online portfolio, here are some of the websites you’ll want to take a look at.

Awwwards

Awwwards recognise the talent and effort of the best web designers, developers, and agencies in the world. So if you’re looking for inspiration or want to connect and share knowledge and experience with like-minded professionals, Awwwards is the place to go. We found a few of the graphic design websites in this post on Awwwards – you just can’t go wrong.

Behance

Behance is the place to showcase and discover creative work. Follow their Graphic Design curated gallery, and you’ll never be short of ideas again. With categories like typography, branding, packaging, infographic (and many more) to choose from, it really is the place to be to see what’s working in the design space right now. And if you don’t have your own website yet, you can create an online portfolio on Behance.

Creative Bloq

Creative Bloq is another incredible source for art and design inspiration as well as for the latest industry news. Most of the graphic design websites listed in this post were spotted by Creative Bloq and featured in various articles on their blog. Worth checking out.

Dribbble 

Dribbble is another perfect place to discover some of the world’s top designers and creatives. In their own words, they are “the leading destination to find and showcase creative work and home to the world’s best design professionals”. Are you there yet?

The Best Designs

And last but not least, if you’re looking for web design inspiration, head over to The Best Designs. It literally does what it says on the tin. It recognises websites with outstanding design that you can filter by style. Or you can search for designs by colour, industry, or genre.

So what do some of the best graphic design portfolio websites have in common?

If you checked out some of the examples we put together for you, you’ll have noticed that the best graphic design portfolio websites in the world have something in common – they put their work first. The emphasis is, visually, on the type of projects each studio, agency, or designer specialises in.

But a few other things are important when creating your own graphic design portfolio website (some of which will be more obvious than others!). And here they are.

1. Showcase work that appeals to the clients you want to attract 

This may sound obvious, but if you’ve been working in this industry for a while, you’ll have many projects you want to include in your portfolio. Which ones should you pick?

Go for your best work. Choose the projects you’re most proud of and, crucially, that you want to do more of. It’s perfectly acceptable not to include every single piece of work you’ve ever created. And if your prospective clients want to see more, don’t worry – they’ll ask.

2. Your most-striking piece of work goes first  

Don’t fall into the trap of making your website visitors jump through hoops to find your best work. Wherever possible, have it on your home page. Wow your users with an image, a collection of images, or an animation that will stop them in the tracks and make them pay attention. Start with your strongest piece and leave them wanting more.

3. Allow your work to do the talking

Your graphic design portfolio is about your work. So let it do the talking.

Limit the amount of copy where possible. You will have noticed from the list we curated that words are only used to complement the visuals – not the other way around. Where you use words, think about their visual impact – ensure they have a strong presence and prefer bold typography in big fonts if that’s part of your brand.

If you’re only just starting your business and don’t have work yet, you could do some pro-bono work for charities and non-profits in your area.

4. Use graphic elements to make it all about your projects

The aim of your graphic design portfolio is for your user to find (and admire) your work.

So guide them through it.

Make the best use of the following features to put the emphasis, visually, on the projects you want to showcase:

  • Photography and images.
  • Typography.
  • Layout.
  • Graphic elements.
  • Colours.
  • Use of the space.
  • Animations, movement, and special effects.

All these elements should help you make it easy for your website visitors to navigate and access your work.

5. Less is more

Following from the points above, go for a portfolio that’s clear, simple, and minimalistic.

For example:

  • Use bold colours to direct attention to your projects, unless more muted colours better represent your individual brand.
  • Use the full width of the screen – don’t be tempted to include sidebars or widgets to the side. They only act as distractions and take the eye away from your work.
  • Choose larger images that allow your work to stand out. A word of warning though – be careful of huge files as these can slow your website right down! So make sure you either compress or re-size all your images before uploading them onto your website. Your photos need to look great, but if they take too long to load, you may be losing your visitors’ attention and shooting yourself in the foot.

Get your graphic design portfolio website checklist

We hope you enjoyed our selection of the best graphic design websites and that you can make good use of it when creating your own online portfolio.

What we learnt from looking at these award-winning websites is that all the graphic design elements you’re so familiar with need to work together to help you build a clean, simple, and cohesive portfolio that showcases your best projects. 

If you want to get these and more tips straight into your inbox as you start your own website-building project, you can download our FREE handy checklist here that will help you stay on track and create a portfolio website that helps you stand out from the crowd (for all the right reasons!).

YES, I want the checklist!

Content Snare Team

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