Putting together an impressive graphic design portfolio isn’t just reserved for students or newbies — it’s something all design professionals use throughout their careers.
Maintaining a portfolio means you always have something handy to show to potential clients.
A portfolio is your most important marketing tool, as new clients will make a decision on whether to work with you or not based on your previous work.
It’s best to think of a graphic design portfolio as a visual resume, usually online. It can be useful to look at the graphic design portfolios created by your industry peers, before you start building yours. Looking at a diverse range of portfolios can help you decide what you like and see what self-promotion methods others are using to attract new clients.
Here is a selection of seven graphic design portfolio websites to inspire you. We will also provide you with some tips on how to get started, too.
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1. Dekoratio Branding and Design Studio
Our first jaw-dropping graphic designer portfolio website is Dekoratio’s. This funky fresh design studio is based in Budapest, Hungary. Their original designs use modern illustrations to revitalise tired brands, helping them stand out in crowded markets.
The designers at Dekoratio pride themselves on creating compelling visual stories. For example, their client Anjuna ice pops’ message is all about ‘summer is a lifestyle.’ They deliver this vibe in the design through their breezy illustrations. The idea is, whether you're at the beach or taking a break, you can always pull out your Anjuna and enjoy a little taste of summer.
Related: Make online marketing work for you
2. 0hSeven Studio
In this branding studio, K-pop culture meets feminine minimalism. OhSeven designers work with a lot of beauty brands — which is no surprise, given the fact that Korea dominates the world in beauty, skincare and cosmetics. Based in Seoul, South Korea, all ohSeven’s designs are hand-drawn.
3. Made by Alphabet
According to their show reel, this Manchester UK-based creative agency claims to design brands of the future — and indeed they live up to expectations.
Given that, it’s interesting that their work for Play Brew Co has a modern-day nostalgic twist from the influential culture of the '70s and '80s. Made by Alphabet has helped Play Brew stand out in the saturated craft beer market.
4. Blossom Liu
Blossom Liu is a graphic designer based in Los Angeles, USA whose goals are to:
- Create beautiful things
- Have meaningful connections
- Use design for good
She brings a BFA in graphic design and a minor in social innovation to bear on branding movements and non-profit businesses.
Blossom’s breathtaking branding work for the Women’s March won the 2019 Best of Behance Feature for Brand Identity. The highly stylized imagery reflects the powerful, authentic emotions at the march and the language of the sweeping public movement.
This designer seems to attract clients willing to take a stand for the changes they wish to see in our world.
5. Auge Design
When it comes to exquisite design, style and taste, you can trust the Italians to do the job! Auge Design is a branding design agency located in the heart of Florence. The agency’s graphic designer portfolio website reflects the rich culture, art and architecture that surround it. Their work spans strategy, identity and packaging, as well as spatial and digital design.
This creative agency builds brand strategies and creates unique identities that can be best described as clean and minimalist.
One of their clients is Amartus, a telecommunication technology company. While many of us may believe that telecommunications isn’t very ‘sexy,’ what Balsamstudio has created is. The minimalist “A” monogram they’ve designed is a perfect illustration of the concept of connection.
7. Y Wilson
Y Wilson is a brand consultancy based in London, UK. Their portfolio is a rich mix of fashion, fun and function. But don’t be fooled by their clean designs — a lot of brand strategy goes on behind the scenes to create such memorable and clear-cut brand stories. Watch and learn.
How to get started on your graphic design portfolio
Feeling inspired? Here are a few tips that should help you create a graphic design portfolio website that will turn heads.
Choose your best work and show a breadth of skill
Have a look into your previous projects and shortlist those that show a variety of skills. For example:
- Visual identity
- Web design
- Logo creation
It’s critical you show potential clients your versatility to help you win the job.
Choose the right platform to showcase your portfolio work
Creating your own WordPress website with a custom domain name will definitely pay off in the long run. It helps by showing your professionalism to potential clients.
You can also show your graphic design portfolio on Behance, a social media platform owned by Adobe that aims "to showcase and discover creative work."
Include a professional case study or client testimonials
Having a case study, along with images of your work, helps to provide the story and context for potential clients.
To create a strong case study, you’ll want to include the:
- Background of the project
- Problem statement
- Process you went through to solve the problem
- Outcome or final design
When explaining the process, it’s helpful to include work products such as wireframes, sketches, usability testing and iteration. This will further underscore your skill.
Show your personality
As we can see from the portfolios above, each designer or agency has its own unique style. Define what your style is and consistently show it on every page, in every word.
Show fun side projects and non-client work
If you're just starting out, it's perfectly okay to include side projects or non-client work, so potential clients can get a sense for your abilities and style.
Consider including work from university or a logo you designed for a friend.
It is also acceptable to create a mock case study to show your versatility. If your designs are impressive enough, potential clients won’t mind that you have created a made-up company. In fact, your innovation and creativity will be impressive and make you stand out. In due course, real companies will soon take notice.
Your future is in your hands
Whether you’re a recent graduate or have been working for awhile, a digital portfolio is the key to more (and ever better) projects. Take your inspiration from the portfolios featured here, then use our tips to dig into creating a jaw-dropping portfolio of your own.