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10 Steps To The Perfect Web Design Portfolio

You may have a personal web design portfolio site for a number of reasons. If you’re a freelancer, then you’d need one to showcase your work and allow people to contact you. If you’re a student (or unemployed), then you’d need one to show prospective employers how good you are and what you can do, so that they might hire you. If you’re part of a studio, then you might use one to blog about your design life, show people what you’re doing and build your online presence.

A personal portfolio website is all about promoting you. You are a brand, and your name is a brand name. No one is going to know about your brand unless you get it out there; and if you’re a Web designer, developer, writer, gamer or any other type of creative, then it’s essential that you have a good portfolio website. [Content Care Dec/02/2016]

You may want to take a look at the following related articles:

What makes for a good personal portfolio website? Link

Your logo is usually the first thing a user sees. In the Western world, we read from left to right, top to bottom, so it makes sense to put your logo in the top left of your website so that users can immediately identify who owns the website.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be your name, but if you’re trying to promote yourself online, then it’s a good idea to go by your name. And always link your logo to your home page. It’s a common convention that users expect online.

web design portfolio
Mohit goes by the alias of CSS Jockey.
web design portfolio
Jason Reed uses a signature-style logo of his name.

2. Tagline Link

Once the user sees who owns the website, they’ll want to know what it is you do. This is where you explain what you do with a tagline. Your tagline should be short and snappy, summarizing what you do.

Things to ask yourself when writing your tagline:

  • What are you? A designer? A writer? A developer?
  • What do you do? Design websites? Develop games?
  • Where are you from? Country? City?
  • Are you a freelancer or do you work for a studio? Are you looking for work?
Sarah Longnecker makes it clear that she puts together videos and is good at it.

3. Portfolio Link

This is a personal portfolio website after all, so your portfolio will determine whether the website is interesting or not. People will want to see your previous work to decide whether you’re good or not and for general interest, to see what you’ve been up to in the past.

Depending on what you do, your portfolio should contain big high-quality images, clearly accessible to the user. Always include a link to the live version of the website you worked on, and link your screenshot to the live version (another common convention that people expect). Include a short description for each project, including the different skills that you needed to complete the project.

It’s never a bad idea to get a testimonial from a client. Your visitors might also be interested in the stages of development for your projects and how you arrived at the final outcome.

Leigh Taylor displays nice clear screenshots of previous work and indicates what softfigureare was used during development.

4. Services Link

Your tagline summed up what you do, but you’ll want to go into a bit more detail here about each service that you offer. You can’t expect potential clients to guess what you do based on your portfolio, and you don’t want to leave them wondering whether you offer a particular service or not.

Make it clear, and break it down: Web design, development, video, copywriting, branding, etc. You may want to be even more specific: corporate branding, church website design, Flash banner ads and so on.

Chris Spooner clearly indicates the services he offers for both print and Web.

5. About me Link

It’s all about you. Let people see the man or woman behind the mask (i.e. website). Share your background, where you came from, how many years you’ve been in the business, etc. The more details you give, the better your users can form a bond and build trust with you.

If you’re not camera-shy, show a picture of yourself. This will give potential clients peace of mind by allowing them to see who they’re dealing with, and it adds an element of trust.

Don’t be afraid to show off your awards and recognition here. You want people to know you’re good at what you do.

Chikezie Ejiasi shows us a photo of himself and even lets us know how to pronounce his figureame.

6. Contact Link

This is one of the most important elements of a portfolio website but is often hidden or even neglected. A potential client has browsed your website, is impressed with your portfolio and can see who you are. Now they want to hire you.

Your contact information should be obvious and easy to access; don’t hide it in the footer. Let people know they can contact you for a quote or a chat. Use a form to make it easier for users to contact you (so that they don’t have to take down your email address and then open up their email manager). A form also allows you to ask for specific information, such as name, email address, website URL, details of inquiry.

Stuart Johnston offers clear contact details throughout his website but also provfiguredes an easy-to-use contact form.

7. Blog Link

A blog is always a good idea. Blog about your area of expertise; show you know what you’re talking about. It will help promote you and prevent your website from lying static.

Let people follow you by subscribing to an RSS feed, and show off your most popular blog posts to new readers.

Be sure to enable comments for feedback. Don’t make users register to add a comment to your blog, and don’t use anti-spam Captcha software, which only turns people off from commenting. There are plenty of anti-spam plug-ins available that don’t require users to do extra work.

Chris Wallace uses his blog about Web design-related topics to help out other people in tfiguree industry and to engage in discussion.

8. Call to action Link

Ask yourself what you want to get out of your personal portfolio website. Do you want to be hired? Attract more blog readers? Maybe you just want people to know who you are.

Each page should have a call to action, a “Next step.” The best way to accomplish this is with a “call to action” button that is clear and stands out from the rest of the page. Link it to your blog, portfolio or contact page, and use appropriate language (e.g. “Hire me,” “Request a quote,” “View my portfolio”).

Matthew Brown’s call to action is a contrasting button that stands out from the restfigureof the website.

9. Use social networking websites Link

Now that people have an interest in you and your work, encourage them to follow you on other websites. Make it clear that they can follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, etc. Make the most of social networks and have a group of friends to call on if needed.

Sam Brown offers clear links to other websites he uses, allowing us to stalk him.

10. Language and communication Link

How you conduct yourself is important. Remember, it’s a personal portfolio website, so be personal. You don’t need to sound like a corporate brand with no emotion. Be friendly and personal, but also clear and precise; don’t ramble. Once you write all the text for your website, read it again and see if you can cut it in half.

Marius Roosendaal uses a relaxed and friendly tone on his website.

Other tips: Link

  • Let people know where you’re from. This is always interesting to know, and some clients prefer to work with people nearby or in the same time zone.
  • Validation is important, especially for Web designers. If you’re going to be building professional websites for clients, then your own website’s code should at least be valid5.
  • Link images, not just text. Most people will click on images, expecting them to point somewhere.
  • If you don’t have any previous clients for your portfolio, create a WordPress theme, design an icon set, develop a Twitter mashup, etc. You have a lot of possibilities, and there’s a big difference between having one project to show in your portfolio and having none.

What do you expect to see on a good personal portfolio website? Link

Anything important we’ve missed? What would make the difference between your deciding to hire someone and deciding against it?

Further reading: Link


Footnotes Link

  1. 1 /2008/03/04/creating-a-successful-online-portfolio/
  2. 2
  3. 3 /2008/03/04/creating-a-successful-online-portfolio/
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
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Lee Munroe is a web developer and creator of based in San Francisco.

  1. 1

    Vasil Stoychev

    February 26, 2009 1:50 pm

    Great article. Thank you! :-)

  2. 2

    Thanks for the tips and list of great websites.

  3. 3

    Thanks SM for the great tips! Speaking of which, I think SM needs a face-lift…current design has been on long enough.

  4. 4

    yes, they are perfect.
    Im totally amazed !

  5. 5

    Another great one for in the book!

  6. 6

    These are awesome tips! I am going to use all of them on my new portfolio design. I never thought about alot of these, and just took them for granted!

    Thanks for this alot!

  7. 7

    Could I asked, from where did you get these portfolios? Any website gallery?

  8. 8

    Great article guys at SM. I’ll pass it along via twitter. @bobbyburdette

  9. 9

    Great article, I am going to incorporate these on my personal site. Thanks!

  10. 10

    Great article SM! already retweeted!

  11. 11

    been working on my portfolio site lately and this def comes in handy, thanks! and big props to all the designers listed.. awesome sites!

  12. 12

    Camilo Oliveira

    February 26, 2009 2:10 pm

    Some links of the showcase are wrong. They are all linking to Robbie Manson´s website.
    Fix it, please ;)


  13. 13

    Very Nice Article Lee…. I like the details.

    DKumar M.

  14. 14

    Wow…really great list. Very inspirational. Glad to see Elliot Jay Stocks made the list. His portfolio has always been one of my favorites.

  15. 15

    Great Portfolios!!

    Just might take some pointers here and there…

    Thanks SM!!

  16. 16

    Great post, am in the process of building my portfolio myself >.<

  17. 17

    been workin on my portfolio lately and this def comes in handy.. thanks SM! and props to all the designers listed! awesome work

  18. 18

    Thanks, have my portfolio up recently and it needs improvements!

  19. 19

    This was a great article. I went through several of the sites and noticed that none of them were flash sites. Any specific reason? Perhaps this article should have been titled 10 steps to the perfect css portfolio website.

  20. 20

    Great article Lee, nice one, some quality ideas and showcase sites.

  21. 21

    great list and advice

  22. 22

    Cant imagine why you would 1st up showcase cssjockey as an example of a good logo representation? maybe not the best logo work going around in this selection.. Alot of similarities between some of these designs. Nice to see some fresh aproaches among them. Overall a nce post though. Thanks for the time to gather the article.

  23. 23

    I disagree that your portfolio necessarily needs to validate. Yah, I see the benefit, but a portfolio is also a great place to test out some cutting edge stuff that may or may not validate.

  24. 24

    Osvaldo Osorio

    February 26, 2009 3:53 pm

    Increíblemente inspirado!… Gracias por el necesario recordatorio. Es que a veces si sabes lo que DEBES hacer pero no encuentras esas preciadas horas para darle un buen avance a tu propio proyecto. :(

  25. 25

    This was a great article, but I disagree about the need to link to a live website. I never link to a live site for the simple fact that my client’s keep their own websites up-to-date, and by week number two, it’s normally not so “pretty” anymore.

  26. 26

    Chikezie Ejiasi

    February 26, 2009 4:05 pm

    Thank you for featuring my portfolio, Nine Lion Design! It’s nice to be included in lists like these. I really like the illustrations of Chirag Solanki’s site.

  27. 27

    Timely and appropriate – thanks against for your efforts, SM! :D

  28. 28

    Great article.

    One thing you might have mentioned is to try to avoid the overused, cliche tagline a million portfolios seem to be using nowadays:

    We (verb) (adjective) (noun)’s

  29. 29

    Lee, thanks for the mad props! Always a pleasure to see my work out and about.

  30. 30

    Great tips and very great list, most of them are my idol

  31. 31

    I’d like to think that my website looks good to prospective clients, but no matter what opinions I hear, it’s hard to say if it’s good or not, especially in this economy.

  32. 32

    Now I have so many ideas I’m creatively paralyzed. Thanks Smashing Magazine?


  33. 33

    Inspiring collection, nice to see my Leigh Taylor and 9lions featured many times. My favorite of the lot is vlouenco

    I do have an issue with portfolio sites that are very busy – i thinkyour own site should leave the center of the stage to the client work you’ve done.

    It can become confusing when the designer’s website and it’s content clash.

    great job Lee

  34. 34

    Great work Lee, you must have spent a long time compiling this article.

    For me, a portfolio must be original and only display your best work – you dont have a long time to create an impression.

    I like things to be clean on a white background, like vlourenco or alessandro cavallero’s

  35. 36

    There’s something to be said for a dark background, especially on sites that are more likely to be surfed at night with the lights off.

    Or maybe that’s just me, from getting my start in adult internet. :)

  36. 37

    Thank you for this. Very informative. Kind of self-help without the drama. :)

  37. 38

    all are good tips and great websites.

  38. 39

    Laxman Koushik

    February 26, 2009 8:19 pm

    Thx… Nice article with cool sites….

  39. 40

    WOW! Awesome article, Lee. I wish something like this was available years ago as I slugged along building my own list of website portfolios…this is an incredible rundown. THANK YOU.

  40. 41

    I would only disagree with #5. You want people to get their entire first impression of you from
    your work alone. You don’t want people judging you on appearances until you meet in person.
    You don’t want a client ditching you because you look too young (or old), too cool or too straight
    or even too black/white/asian/hispanic/etc.

  41. 42

    Leigh Taylor is listed twice.

    Nice article!

    Btw, funny to see that: ” Hi, I am so & so and I create/make this & that” seems to be the trend… or cliché!

  42. 43

    Thanks so much for featuring my site! Looks like I am definitely in good company :) I’m flattered.

  43. 44

    great lists…

  44. 45

    Great work in getting all of these together. I just want to let you know that NineLion is on the list twice. A few of the sites are based on templates too (not sure which came first, the template or the design, which was then released.) Those guys have done a fabulous job in portraying who they are.

    It would be interesting to do a study on how effective a portfolio site is in gaining new business.

  45. 46

    thanks a bunch for featuring my site (Design Moves Me). it’s such an honor to be in such great company. keep the great articles coming!

  46. 47

    Great article – will try and put some of the tips into effect on my own site!

    Some amazing examples – I think Digital Mash and Toby Powell are the two that stand out, but all very good.


  47. 48

    Like this article. Thanks for writing

  48. 49

    Timothy van Sas

    February 26, 2009 11:39 pm

    Great read!
    Thanks for adding my site to the list, great te be on SM!

    Best Regards,
    Timothy van Sas

  49. 50

    I’d like to thank you so much for featuring us on your website, in this list. Its such an honor to be here. I tried to stick to the basics the right way when I was designing CSSJockey. And I see that it’s been quite fruitful. Thanks again.

    Those are some nice tips and portfolios! Nice work done, putting them up together.

  50. 51

    You guys just made my day!!! Thank you so much for featuring my little among all these great people up there :)

  51. 52

    Thanks for this post, Im freelance Webdesigner, I respect the 1,2 and 3 point.
    But I think I must rethink the 4 and 6 point to return it more clearly.

  52. 53

    Thanks for this article and nice list!

  53. 54

    I should change my site after this post
    Stop thinking start doing ))

  54. 55

    Interesting article with some unique and some predictable portfolios… that being said, my site takes the one-on-one approach which is being deemed as cliché, as noted by Musings, but according to my version has been around since mid 2006. I would like to think it takes a unique approach, but perhaps not.

  55. 56

    I’m currently building my portfolio, so this has given me a few idea/reinforced some ideas I alreayd had. Thanks!

  56. 57

    Nice Article…… Thanks 4r the tips

  57. 58

    Line of Design

    February 27, 2009 2:09 am

    Line of Design (danish website):
    1. Logo – Check!
    2. Tagline – Check!
    3. Portfolio – Check!
    4. Services – Check, Check!
    5. About me – Check!
    6. Contact – Needs to be clearer! – But Check..
    7. Blog – Missing!
    8. Call to action – Missing!
    9. Use social networking websites – Missing!
    10. Language and communication – Needs international language – Missing!

    But I’m totally motivated, to get into theese great advises!
    Thanks for always motivating and inspiring me to do better and strieve higher all the time!!

  58. 59

    nice tips, there’s a lot to do now.

  59. 60

    Thanks for this. After years of neglect i’m about to redesign my portfolio site so this article has come at the perfect time. Thank you

  60. 61

    Stuart Johnston

    February 27, 2009 1:05 am

    What a pleasant surprise to find my website included in your article.

    I’ve been reading Smashing Magazine for ages and it is a privilege to be featured.

    Thank you very much.

  61. 62

    Yea there is a whole lot of similarity going on here, accepted that the vast majority of these sites are following all of the conventions of large type, personal tone, obligatory use of museo (which I love, but time to change) and bold subheadings. In short readers of this kind of article.
    Nice list but more diversity would be nice, This is the style of website I always expect to see on smashing, it would be nice to get a suprise once in a while.

  62. 63

    All pretty obvious stuff.

    The gallery of portfolios is interesting though.

  63. 64

    Good tips.
    Thank you.

  64. 65

    Thanks for all the comments, glad to see this post was useful and inspiring.

    @Peter: I’ve been building up this collection for some time now via various CSS Galleries, blogs, Twitter links, general browsing etc.

    @Digiguru: No reason for no Flash sites. Although it tends to be that personal portfolio sites aren’t generally flash as HTML and frameworks are easier to maintain and of course there’s SEO, accessibility and loading issues. Not that I’m against Flash, there are some great Flash portfolios out there.

    @Tim: You’re right, I think as long as you know the reasons it doesn’t validate (e.g. some external JS widget) then it’s fine. Although you shouldn’t have 100s of errors

    @floodmixed: Fair argument, it really comes down to your choice whether you want potential clients to know/see who you are before meeting. Although it’s common in this industry to never meet your client, so a picture can add some reassurance

  65. 66

    wow nice one.

  66. 67

    great article!
    what do you guys think should portfolios be in english or in your mother tongue?

  67. 68

    thx again! have to re-do mine as well.. :)

  68. 69

    wow, nothing new.

  69. 70

    Jonathan MOREL

    February 27, 2009 2:57 am

    Wow very useful !
    Ty SM !

  70. 71

    Or if you’re an IA/Interaction designer with little graphic design skills, the site could
    be very plain, but highly usable. My clients don’t mind this at all.

    It seems the cat is still not out of the bag among GD’s on the single biggest
    way to boost traffic to your website – Its pretty obvious, but heck I aint gonna say
    what it is – then Id lose my advantage! It has to do with keywords and metadata.

  71. 72

    This is a great article Lee and to be honest some of the points i could incorporate into my site when i get round to it.

    Oh yeah i am showcased twice which i obviously wouldn’t complain about lol but wouldn’t want anyone thinking there is preferential treatment.

    Great roundup too and list of fantastic portfolios, bookmarked solely for the quality of the article. Well done.

  72. 73

    Looking good Lee! Really good pointers here to follow

  73. 74

    Great article, I’m currently building my portfolio, this helped me.

  74. 75

    Aartjan van Erkel

    February 27, 2009 4:02 am

    Lee, thanks for this brilliant post.
    I am having my freelance site and blog redesigned and your tips and examples are very inspirational.

  75. 76

    Thanks for you article. Learned something new.
    Reading it was like motivation for me!

  76. 77

    Wow! I haven´t seen all the portfolio websites, but some of them are really cool! Thanks for sharing with us designer such good thing ;)

  77. 78

    This is why I love SM- it always seems to publish articles at the right time. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for the last couple of days!

  78. 79

    Some great examples. My personal website definitely needs a revamp, I threw it together at the very end of my Graphic Design course. Now I’m a full-time web designer I just haven’t had the time. Now I’m feeling alot more inspired!

  79. 80

    great tips and good timing. I’m trying to redesign my portfolio, although I never seem to have the time.

  80. 81

    Why do all those portfolios look alike….

  81. 82

    Nice tips. Very useful. Should come in handy for my next design of

  82. 83

    AWESOME!!! Thank you!

  83. 84

    10 step to have a portfolio like everyone else would be a more apropriate title

  84. 85

    very good!

  85. 86

    These sites aren’t that “good looking” to be honest. I only liked cartonblanc. The rest of these sites have cliched designs… Well that’s just my personal opinion…. The tips though is good

  86. 87

    Great tips ever! I don’t want to say that I don’t have time. (I thought It’s just an excuse) after reading this I felt so inspired and fired up to finish my portfolio site.

  87. 88

    Hi!! Nice post, the theme is surely interesting for us visitors and essencial points were taken.
    I’m really glad to see Mopa listed (they rock!!) although I prefered their old site. And other brilliant brazilian designers! o/

    The point I don’t agree with is about the social networking sites (#9). I don’t really see the advantage on posting so many of them. If the idea is to show other aspects of your life I think this is not the best way to do it.
    Of course I enjoy very much when I see a link to Flickr. It is a great tool show creative process, alternative versions, sketchs (but please, avoiding to repeat the same works already presented!!) and stuff. It will atract the visitor if he is interested enought to see more pieces of your work and able another contact way to other flickr users. In this way it’s highty recommended.
    About the rest of them, isn’t it better to have your site link added to your profiles rather than the contrary?

    What I think it’s missing in the list is a link session, like ‘faves’, ‘friends’, ‘respect’… It’s a nice way to present yourself as part of a networking, to show you are participating and have interesting contacts at your field. Also to be grateful for those who may have helped you and increase friendship with other professionals. Trading spontaneous links helps to promote yourself and is great for visitors who are looking for similar kinds of work.


  88. 89


  89. 90

    Great article. I was wondering if you could possibly elaborate on the Blog portion. Like possibly give us some links to blogging software and anti-spam software we could use to help us get started.


  90. 91

    I’m due for a major re-design, overdue in fact and this goes a long way to giving me some inspiration and a few healthy tips. Nice one Smashers

  91. 92

    Just after ive finished designing my portfolio site for uni…typical!

    This is great and will help me tweek my design.

  92. 93

    I have a question based on this article – I do two things, web design and compose music. I currently have two sites for this. I think it’d be great to have one “Jamie” site with all of my artistic stuff in one place, plus a blog about those things. Is this feasible? Any ideas?

  93. 94

    Trends > creativity.

    All your steps are obvious.

    Nothing new on Smashing.

  94. 95

    Great article – funny thing though. You say you should make sure your web pages are validated, but I got 270 errors when I ran this page through the link you provided… lol! :)

  95. 96

    Fantastic stuff.. Just when I am about to go Freelance.

    Cheers :)

  96. 97

    Thanks a lot. A very useful post. I’m missing a bit some more portfolios of female deasigners. And yes, I’d like to see a “what inspires me” site with favourite links as “role model” ideas as sometimes you cannot work on what your higher goals are. But I guess this could link to your favourite blog posts.

    Tanja burgdorfer alias mayari

  97. 98

    thnks dood, this couldnt have come at a better time i’m right in the middle of making mine now…

  98. 99

    Ummmm… where to begin?

    1. Logo. Sure. Whatever. Why not the middle? Hell, one of my favorite portfolios has it on the upper right. You’re a designer, you should be able to make anything look good.

    2. Tagline. Good idea, but for fuck’s sake don’t start out your introduction with ‘Howdy’ or ‘Hi there!’ You are not there, and your clients are probably not from the southwest.

    3. Portfolio. Yes yes yes yes, clear, high-quality images and active links only.

    4. Services. Tacky, but probably good for SEO – don’t use fucking checkmarks for christ sake though.

    5. About me. Location is always useful to know, but unless you are very attractive keep your terrible, trendy haircut off your potential client’s screen.

    6. Contact. Your e-mail address and number should be right there on your home page. Anything else is pretty superflous. Contact form pages are not only a hallmark of a bygone era where webmail barely existed but they are unreliable. Let people compose and autosave their shit in gmail.

    7. Blog. No. No. No, unless your blog is your portfolio/recent work. Your clients don’t care how you make rounded corners as long as they work.

    8. Call to actions are for banner ads, not your fucking book.

    9. Social Network Profiles. Same thing as your haircut. Probably not very interesting, and really doesn’t do much visually for the page.

    10. Copywriting is an extremely overlooked part of web design, as shown by this article and this example. Under no circumstance, should you ever say ‘What’s up?’ in your portfolio, and “web standards” is two words.

    • 100

      Robert Jakobson

      January 4, 2010 9:40 am

      Ah, Gordon – I agree with everything you say but the contact form, I still think it is a nice element to have, might make it easier for people to add comments quickly.

      Showing off the portfolio as a blog is probably the best use for the blog. I you can add broad vision creative ideas once in a while, that might get plus points as well..

      I also agree with the note on Copywriting – David Ogilvy’s books, as well as others like him are highly recommended by me, I read them daily…

    • 101

      Brad Greenwald

      August 23, 2010 7:59 pm

      Glad someone said it. Most of this is trendy garbage. Developers are wasting their time filling these areas when they could be putting out mind-blowing work. I’m probably still in that group.

      Contact forms are still gold for my clients, although my own forms aren’t too meaningful.

  99. 102

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  100. 103

    Holy crap. This is all wrong.

    I’m not visiting any one of those websites, and I’d never work with any of those people. Why? Because they’re trying to wow me with their website – not their work/thinking, they’re all the same website essentially (same formula), and every single one of those websites are the result of trends and not thinking. Differentiation and great work is key. Let’s please understand this now.

  101. 104

    Well done… these articles continue to inspire my design work. great work!

  102. 105

    Please use “Go to Top” link just above the contact form, it’ll be convenient to your visitors.

  103. 106

    @Gordon – I agree.

  104. 107

    Fantastic article!

  105. 108

    @Gordon fair comments and I just don’t coincide with you at #7 and #8.

    I think it’s very important to have references, and in the case you target being contracted by a client or a creative agency, it’s nice to show, in some way, you have them. Here that ‘friends links’ I was talking about (93) also suits.
    Of course it depends on the content you put at your blog. If I wanted to contact a designer for a comissioned work or as a partner in some project, I’d love to see more of his creative process, and maybe know further about his experience dealing with clients, getting into visual communication events, posting interesting news and discussions concerning his field and so on… it would surely show me he enjoys what he does and keeps increasing his references. And, as Lee Munroe says, “prevent your website from lying static”.

    A portfolio I ended up visiting on daily basis was Fabien Barral’s Graphic Exchange. I might have visited his portfolio once or twice but what made me put a link at my bookmark bar was the great quality of the references he posts and how often he updates it. Once in a while he posts personal work, besides the fixed link, and I’m sure he has many many loyal users like me taking a look at it when he does.

    I also like the way Bosque, for example, puts some personal pictures at their site. They write literaly ‘Life’ at the menu, even already having a blog linked, and present random pictures of people, personal work and everyday images and fun. The client looking at that may like it or not, but if he does like and hire them I’m sure the workflow will suit their personality much better than if the client haven’t seen it before.

    And the ‘Call to actions’, working as a ‘next step’ was the most relevant topic this post bought to me! I definetely put it in consideration now on.

  106. 109

    AWSOME! really cool article!

  107. 110

    Great post very inspiring

  108. 111

    Amazing portfolios, im building my own.

    I love design, but what about when you have to include some dynamic content to your page, enough to be important but no so bigger to be used like a blog?

    Whats your favourite CMS or news script to add dynamic content to your pages?

    Lets work together designers of the world! :)

  109. 112

    This is why I don’t suggest people hire “designers” because the best work they will ever do is their own portfolio. Case and point, all the examples were of web designers. Ever think that more than web designers use the Internet or care about design? Get out of your bubble once in awhile.

  110. 113

    Incredible article!

  111. 114

    very useful, thanks. and so clearly chunked down. very good work!

  112. 115

    Toby Powell

    March 2, 2009 4:52 am

    Thanks very much for showcasing my site. I feel very proud to be featured.

  113. 116


    March 2, 2009 5:41 am

    just don’t forget that the main idea is to show your work to others

  114. 117

    Evan Skuthorpe

    March 2, 2009 1:05 pm

    some great examples.

  115. 118

    Thanks! I have to complete a portfolio website by next week in class, you guys always seem to release the best articles!

  116. 119

    115: Blair
    This is why I don’t suggest people hire “designers” because the best work they will ever do is their own portfolio. Case and point, all the examples were of web designers. Ever think that more than web designers use the Internet or care about design? Get out of your bubble once in awhile.

    Interesting. Who then, would you suggest a professional, image conscious company should hire to design a website if not a graphic/web designer?

  117. 120


    March 3, 2009 12:06 pm

    Great Stuff.
    Really gives Inspiration. Thanks!

  118. 121

    @Gordon, haha, i can see why your such an angry man, thats a lot of big talk and advice from a man who’s own website is so poor, and desperately trying to be different and trendy.
    Get a life

  119. 122


    “and if you’re a Web designer, developer, writer, gamer or any other type of creative, then it’s essential that you have a good portfolio website.”

    Confused, not sure what type of portfolio site a gamer would have. But, I confuse easily. Nice writeup ;)

  120. 123

    Benjamin Falk

    March 4, 2009 11:42 am

    I’m a bit surprised by some of the negative comments… I will agree that people don’t always agree what is a good design, and personal tastes will vary. Some of the points seem to follow current trends, but often these are trends because they work and are good ideas.

    “115: Blair
    This is why I don’t suggest people hire “designers” because the best work they will ever do is their own portfolio. Case and point, all the examples were of web designers. Ever think that more than web designers use the Internet or care about design? Get out of your bubble once in awhile.”

    I would hope that a designer’s portfolio would be some of the best work they do — it’s one of their most vital selling points. Who is going to hire a web designer whose personal site doesn’t leave a good impression?

    Thanks for the links Smashing Mag, I used a couple of these when I redesigned my portfolio earlier this year.

  121. 124

    Brian Parks

    March 5, 2009 2:23 pm

    I’m I already followed most of this advice but it sure would have been easier had this blog been here 2 years ago!

  122. 125

    Angie Omran

    March 6, 2009 7:57 am

    I don’t care what Gordon says, these are great tips for those that are still learning and need a bit of help understanding what to add on their website. Great article!

  123. 126

    Absolutely agree with Benjamin, I don’t understand the negative comments, design is so subjective. A portfolio should reflect the deisgner creating it, most of the designs in his/her portfolio often are directly influenced by the client, so the portfolio is a good vehicle to stamp your own mark/style, all the design decisions made are made yourself without any influence or direction from the client, hopefully resulting in a piece of work that is truly your own.

  124. 127

    Elektra vosburgh

    March 6, 2009 3:40 pm

    I am so glad you have this posting. My portfolio website needs a major face lift. This article sparked some inspiration to start changing my website and is a great aid in doing so. Thanks!

  125. 128

    What if you have multiple talents? I mean, you want to show what you’re best, the trade you’ve learned but you still want to show that you have learned on your own other styles, mediums, or types whether it’s in the arts or not.

  126. 129

    I tried clicking on designmovesme site and was warned of a virus within the website. Just wondering if anyone had the same issue?

  127. 130

    Lawrence Baxter

    April 16, 2009 12:26 pm

    We would like to get your website on first page of Google. All of our processes use the most ethical “white hat” Search Engine Optimization techniques that will not get your website banned or penalized. Please reply and I would be happy to send you a proposal.

  128. 131

    Sean Keslak

    May 4, 2009 4:47 am

    super awsome ideas deffffffffffffffff liked the one ps. email me some more cause my computer broke down

  129. 132

    Mali Dharam

    May 6, 2009 3:56 am

    Very Very good Site yaar, Just Amazing portfolios

  130. 133

    Jessica Jones

    May 20, 2009 12:03 pm

    Great Inspiration for my own portfolio site, Thank You

  131. 134

    Very useful tips. I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you.

  132. 135

    Thanks a lot, I’m redesigning my website right now and this is pure gold. (:

  133. 136


  134. 137

    EXTREMLY useful! I love this post, thank you very much!
    I can now start thinking of making a portfolio on a good base. :)

  135. 138

    very nice thread. great examples of some beautiful work.

    for those designers who are less saavy with programming and design, deviantart offers its own free portfolio tool now. it offers enough customization for the sophisticated user, but adheres to the simplicity that art buyers look for when reviewing thousands of sites in a day.

    love to get everyone’s feedback on the set-up wizard and the design:

  136. 139

    The FREAKIN BEST thing I’ve ran into so far!!!

    So simple, very informational, perfectly composed!!!

    Thumbs UP!!!!


  137. 140

    David Holloway

    July 31, 2009 1:14 pm

    Thank you very much for such a useful post. I’ve been looking all over trying to gather research for my new portfolio site and this article has proved very helpful.

  138. 141

    “In the Western world, we read from left to right”…So Israel is part of what? China?

  139. 142

    really very nice design……………..superb!

  140. 143

    Thanks guys. This article played a big role in how I redesigned my site.

  141. 144

    Reply to I Hasson,

    “I think SM needs a face-lift…current design has been on long enough.”

    No need to fix something that isn’t broken. Their website is very well made.

    Also thanks for the tips/showcase SM.

  142. 145

    These are some great tips. I think people overlook the fact that they need an “about me” page on their site. Commonly, I see portfolio pages that fail to give the user a little information about them. I also, think is very important to include social networking site. Let’s face it everyone either has a facebook, myspce, linkedIn, twitter, youtube, ect. It gets people talking, too. You are really limiting yourself if you fail to put these on your web site. I have been freelancing for about a year now and have implemented all these tips into my website.

    On another subject I failed in getting a lot of jobs early on in my career when I would got to GetAFreelancer and bid on different design projects. I could spend 24 hours and only get 1 project if I was lucky, and waste a handful of days. I hate sites like that! Luckily, I have found site where you can actually get in direct contact with clients for projects via email or telephone.

  143. 146

    I must admit…
    BEST tips I have ever read on the topic..period

  144. 147

    I love how Chikezie Ejiasi’s Nine Lion website is featured in every single web design and portfolio round-up and yet the only page that validates in his whole site is his index page.
    Adding a “valid html’ link at the bottom of every page is so misleading when the link only validates the main page….

    FYI here’s the link you need to use for validation of a specific page:

    But he probably knows that.

    Anyway great site regardless…. just saying.

  145. 148

    best article so far:)

    funny though that i needed more time to read all those comments than i needed for article:D
    and i didnt jet check the webpages! xD

    but yes, i too need a portfolio, and so far i discovered i dont really want to bring it up because of the clients, but because of the picture or brand (named it as you like) that i present, things i am experimented with. like a somekind of report what i have done/ am doing and what i should do in future and where i really wanna go with my aims/goals.
    thats why is good to “know your potential client”

    my case is that i wanna do graphic design like prints, type, logos, ilustration, etc. but so far i ve been extra experimental with photos.. so yes. its nice to discover at least this that i ll push myself in right ways:)

    and i do agree some of this 40 sites are almost the same:)))
    and i hate this “hi i am xxx designer xx and i am soooo goood and u gonna hire me no matter what”. it looks like you wanna sell ur mother just to get this job. we are not so depressed, are we? designer should have his own pride.

    right designer shouldnt accept every chance to work. maybe in the beggining of carrer, while you search for practice, but then they learn to not accept everything. designer should enjoy in their work. and you cant enjoy in all of them:) try to find inspiration at

    and just to remind: there are artistic frelancess too. and i dont think that they should have basic site with logo on upper left corner;)

    hum what else..
    dont be fake. be yourself. be you:)) and find what you want from your client;)


    gordon rocks!!

  146. 149

    Great article, I’m going to keep these in mind when I re-design my portfolio.

  147. 150

    just wondering if anyone knows of any good “anti-spam plug-ins” to use instead of a Captcha? Or maybe good code to block the spam searches? I did not have my site live for more than 24 hours and all I get is spam.

  148. 151


    January 16, 2010 3:19 am


    This is inspiring; I am very pleased by this post. Nice info at this post thanks!!! I really like it

  149. 152

    Abhishek Prasad

    January 28, 2010 10:03 pm

    I like the Portfolio’s and It would really very helpful for me and others to get the taste of current trend and style.

  150. 153

    Having been a freelance web designer for 2.5 years now, and having a current site that ticks a lot of the boxes mentioned in the article, I’m going to stick my neck out and say most of what’s discussed here is wrong.

    I’ve learned that the most important thing you need on your site isn’t anything about you. The most important message is what you do for your clients; how you will make their business successful. You need to stop thinking in design terms, and start thinking in business terms.

    Get your business message, your best portfolio items and an easy way to contact you on your homepage. Leave all the “me, me, me” to your secondary pages — most clients will never read it anyway.

    My current site fails on these counts so my redesign will be addressing this. I suggest other designers follow suit — stop with the ego masturbation and start selling proper business solutions. You’ll get much better clients when you do.

  151. 154

    I was searching 4 making my online portfolio and this is great article to go through.

  152. 155

    I m really impressed and i think i should make something outstanding…… as these designs let me think something really good and i think its going to work……..

  153. 156

    Kishore Krishnan

    March 15, 2010 6:02 am

    Really impressive and inspirational designs… a lot to learn in designing….for me… thanks a lot to whoever has shared..

    kishore krishnan

  154. 157

    @ Вячеслав

    i totally agree with you!

  155. 158

    Great Article Nice Work!! Can you please also review out website Technetto

  156. 159

    Katie Mercado

    March 31, 2010 2:24 pm

    Good instructions-simple to follow.Thanks for finding the time to make great selection.

  157. 160

    Great and very useful article. Nice portfolios..
    Thanks for sharing. Got lot of great ideas for my portfolio.

    Thanks Lee!!!!

  158. 161

    Angesom Tesfasellassie

    May 14, 2010 2:58 pm

    Very good article.Thanks for sharing.

  159. 162

    It’s good …. It’s ok ..

  160. 163
  161. 164
  162. 165

    very nice article
    helped me alot with my research
    thank you

  163. 166

    Dilshan උදාර

    July 7, 2010 11:33 pm

    really excellent !
    Good work
    Thanx !

  164. 167

    Best, best, best!!! Jayson

  165. 168

    Rahul Bangar

    August 1, 2010 5:29 am

    Great roundup guys! but I like its better.

  166. 169

    Angel Ceballos

    September 2, 2010 9:13 am

    Great post and tips for creating a great portfolio site.
    – Angel

  167. 170

    Thanks for the feature!

  168. 171


  169. 172
  170. 173

    This is so handy!

  171. 174

    Very nice and clean… I`ve seen something like this here

  172. 175

    Incredible! I have already been hunting yahoo for hours with this and i also last but not least found it in this article!

  173. 176

    Jessica Dimino

    November 11, 2010 1:07 pm

    I’m a graphic design student and just started using this new portfolio service called It’s sort of a cross between Carbonmade and Behance, but I think it’s just for students. It has most of the features of carbonmade and some social elements that they don’t have. So far it’s been awesome, and since it’s entirely free, I’d say its worth a look.

  174. 177

    Good! thank you!

  175. 178

    Amazing Tips + Amazing List Thanks you Lee =)) Hope be in soon ;))

  176. 179

    Julien schermann

    January 15, 2011 2:12 pm

    Thank you for this article !

  177. 180

    Love the instructions, and portfolios too.

  178. 181

    This list was inspiring, thank you.

  179. 182

    Thanks for the inspiration

  180. 183

    Thanks, some of the best tips I found with effective examples. It gives motivation and ideas to start to redesign my portfolio which really need it !!

  181. 184

    Thanks a lot. There are so many ideas and sources in here that inspire me to start building a portfolio.

  182. 185

    Great article. I really need to start thinking about redesigning my own portfolio/company website soon, so this will come in handy!

  183. 186

    Nice work! It helps me a lot. Your ideas are great.

  184. 187

    great collections , thanks for sharing your article.

  185. 188

    Amazing article, thanks!

  186. 189

    Irene Giles

    May 31, 2011 7:44 pm

    Keep working, nice post! This was the data I needed to know.

  187. 190 provides a free career website you can post your resume and portfolio online.

  188. 191

    Arifur Rahman

    June 22, 2011 7:33 am

    Awesome portfolio web designs. I’ll keep it in my mind & will try to do something like that.

  189. 192

    gaurav aditya

    June 27, 2011 4:19 am

    lovely article

  190. 193

    i’like this
    nice works
    and nice portfolio

  191. 194

    imran aslam

    July 7, 2011 2:58 am

    first, I really appreciate your work.
    second, I am also a php developer,
    and I want to communicate with you,
    please mail me your ID’s that we communicate.

  192. 195

    nice one!

  193. 196

    that was cool!

  194. 197

    o yeah” very nice comment…

  195. 198

    very impressive and very precise article


  196. 199

    Nice work

  197. 200

    This is another Best minimal portfolio design .

  198. 201

    Great work and ideas for other people to see , and thanks , God bless !

  199. 202

    elizabeth atieno

    November 25, 2011 4:21 am

    I love this Website! it only gives me a reason to stay on it every time.thank you for this article.

  200. 203

    i have not looked at other pages within this website – but – i have to comment here. how is it that a publication like this one – who has an absolute horrid page from layout to graphics thinks they are an authority on how to make a successful portfolio website?? practice what you preach guys! i didn’t give anything on this page a second glance or chance because of this – i know these other comments are from 2009 but it’s still posted and appears in a netsearch…

  201. 204

    Some great tips and some even better portfolio designs. I think it’s important to remember that there are no rules when designing your portfolio website. You need to be different or you won’t stand out.

  202. 205

    This was extremely helpful in realizing what it takes to have a good website. Even if mine is for game design it’s still wonderful, thank you!

  203. 206

    …nice article. Keep it up! :)

  204. 207

    James Holden

    June 26, 2012 11:48 pm

    There’s an amazing selection of portfolio websites there and lots of variety. Usually you see quick and easy wordpress templates which are okay to get something up and running but as designers, making them unique should be something we all pore over.. i’m no excuse BTW :)

  205. 208

    Rohit Sharma

    May 22, 2013 9:09 am

    This is a real treasure indeed!

  206. 209

    Kameron Mertz

    August 15, 2013 7:22 pm

    mmm I would never say “What’s up?” on my site. Nope nope.

  207. 210

    hy wow it’s cool man !!!

  208. 211

    Mildred Crawford

    January 5, 2014 7:36 pm

    So here we are nearly 4 years later at the beginning of 2013, and the one thing that strikes me about the sample portfolio sites is how very dated almost every one of them look. I know there is no such things as “timeless design”, but I guess I sometimes forget how quickly web design trends change.

  209. 212

    Thank you so much buddy!
    It ‘s very great for students that begin webdevelopment(course!) like me!


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