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Smashing Conf Barcelona 2016

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30 Fresh and Inspirational Portfolios With A Twist

It may be the economical slowdown, the climate change, or even a random boost of creativity, but the competition between graphic studios is huge right now. Today, more than ever, you really need to show something special on your website to be noticed. So we made a selection of 30 portfolios that describe a studio or a freelancer with a unique personality. Please notice that you certainly need more than a nice “look” to make the design stand out; in particular, usability and accessibility are issues that need to be carefully considered when creating your next portfolio design.

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Flash Based-Designs Link

Ola Interactive Agency3
A fun and straightforward website, with small videos running in the back to illustrate some of the company values, like creativity, speed and coolness! There’s a speaker on the left to kill the music.

Ola Interactive Agency4

Your Majesty5
Nice and clean website with more than one way to explore the portfolio, excellent branding, and a smooth dark color scheme.


The minimal design and a sleek touch of Flash are the strong points of this one. Browsing trough the works seems so natural.


Valerie Phillips9
This is huge. Literally!

Valerie Phillips10

Ben Thomas11
A simple and effective left aligned website, with a stylish motion effect that works great with the dynamic visuals in the portfolio.


Studio Output13
This one is for the average portfolio what Vimeo is for YouTube: a minimal yet powerful alternative, an almost buttonless experience.


Lyndon Wade15
A classic dark styled background with a thumbnail menu and awesome transition effects are all you need for a killer portfolio. Oh, and some pictures from one of the top 15 photographers in America.


Cardon Design17
A simple and innovative way to show the portfolio, in a dictionary way. Great works also!

Cardon Design18

Kenjiro Harigai19
One of the most complex websites in our selection, it features a visual menu with a lens effect, a text menu with the names of the works, and some amazing motion effects.


I Shot Him21
This one is all about the story: with just a few vintage illustrations and some creative lines they really deliver "a design novelty".

I Shot Him22

Unique browsing system Link

Websites that let you scan the portfolio trough original and fresh techniques.

Orange Label23
This is a one-page journey, a dive in the studio’s achievements, beginning with a strong graphic & profile, then some works and finally a feedback form.

Orange Label24

Counter Fill25
Exploring this portfolio is like falling from the roof of a tall building and stopping by a few times to look on the window. Click to see why.

Counter Fill26

X3 Studios27
The excellent use of AJAX makes browsing this website such a smooth experience that you get the feeling you never left the homepage. Which is true!

X3 Studios28

Lucas Hirata
Very good use of thumbnails and light.


Work at Play29
Maybe the most dynamic non-Flash website of the selection. Great uses of colors, transparency and AJAX.

Work At Play30

Zaum & Brown31
Finally a grid based portfolio with a fluid layout. Don’t know if Brown comes from the color of the background, but that certainly works well also.

Zaum & Brown32

Creative People33
The background is so important here! This amazing photo manipulation steals the show but introduce us properly in the studio atmosphere.

Craetive People34

Design by Slint
This prolific studio from Singapore also has a grid-based fluid portfolio, where they show the works in a blog style way.


Dave Hill35
The best proof that great photography doesn’t really need sophisticated design to stand out. Elegant and smooth.


Any Which Way
Nothing fancy seems to be happening here at the first sight, but this website has a great navigation system: a mirror-like menu that stands as a fantastic alternative for the way over-used "carousel".

Any Which Way

Special elements Link

Portfolios that use at least one remarkable element (widget, color scheme, game) to create an immersive adventure.

Crispin Porter + Boguski
Basically this website aggregates a YouTube video for a given campaign, the live news feed about it, Twitter bits, and blog pieces. It sure is the most social-ready portfolio of the selection.

Crispin Porter

Great Works37
An excellent example of three colors website: sleek, smooth, and effective!

Great Works38

Home de Caramel39
Another fullscreener, Home de Caramel features a double menu, just a few words and huge images. Makes sense.


Trust The KDU
The vintage design and the sepia tone of the photos work extremely well together and make a great portfolio.


Strong colors and striking, simple illustrations make from the new Carsonified website an instant classic.


Very clean and dynamic website with a powerful Twitter integration and a nice simple way to show the creative work.


Clean design + Good navigation + Great works = Winner Portfolio


Elliot Jay Stocks43
Another classic, the portfolio of Elliot teaches us the importance of a huge footer, actually as big as the body. Break the barriers, think big!

Elliot Jay Stocks44

Mojave Interactive45
Social media is very important business for Mojave, so they have compiled a few different channels in the homepage.

Mojave Interactive46

Merix Studio47
Full intreactivity map with clients and resources, amazing idea!

Studio of Merix48

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SmashingConf Barcelona 2016

Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf Barcelona, on October 25–26, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.

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Catalin Zorzini is a design blogger with a content marketing background. He founded Mostash, Ecommerce Platforms and Inspired Magazine. He loves hot soup and hot jazz.

  1. 1

    WOW!! Some great stuff here – inspiring as always – keep up the good work SM!!

  2. 2

    wow, very inspirational selection, thank you guys!! X3 & Ola are amazing!

  3. 3

    im really tired of seeing the carsonified site everywhere… its ugly as hell.

  4. 4

    How can you not list Eric Johanssons portfolio in such a list?

  5. 5

    wow gr8 list thanks

  6. 6

    hello, niece,

  7. 7

    Brilliant! Thanks mate!

  8. 8

    Guillaume Pelletier

    August 5, 2009 5:37 am

    I love the showcase!

    A rather scary observation I had to make was how frequently the Graublau Web typeface is being used in conjunction with the @font-face property. Although it is a very remarkable font (and well-suited for the purpose), I can see it become overused quite rapidly. Not that its usage is bad at all; I’m just sayin’.

  9. 9

    Dave Hill Photography is what image based portfolio design is all about… don’t distract them with a lot of extra stuff… focus on the work…. very well done.

    Hands down, my favorite of the batch for Portfolio design. — R

  10. 10

    The Smashing Magazine logo really needs a redesign…

  11. 11

    Nice stuff. Being very print-minded, it’s great to see good taste and design that works well visually with print that can also be implemented in Web (i.e. good typography and images).

  12. 12

    Smashing magazine logo looks awesome.I do not understand whay they need to redesing logo.This logo is unique and is great.

  13. 13


    August 5, 2009 8:05 am

    wow a lot of these sites flash navigations is breaking for me.. that doesn’t look good on these high end designers… unless it’s just that they don’t work in firefox lol

  14. 14

    some portfolio are really nice. I prefer those how use any flash.

  15. 15

    Sean McCambridge

    August 5, 2009 8:19 am

    Some nice sites. Some very underwhelming sites. How do they get featured here? You guys make me wonder sometimes….

  16. 16

    Wow, I enjoyed this list very much! Thanks for sharing :)

  17. 17

    That Ben Thomas one I’m pretty sure I’ve seen on Flash Den… I don’t know if he just used the idea or bought it, because if that’s the case… Then that’s technically not his work.

  18. 18

    I’ve liked a man with a squirrel

  19. 19

    Great article! I like the collection!

  20. 20

    what a nice list, really inspiring !


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