As a web design agency, it’s always top of mind to consider what’s trending throughout the industry. That’s not only for our projects, but also our personal brand. One very important aspect of that brand? Our work portfolio!
With that in mind, we have put together a list of some of the best web design agency websites and portfolios we’ve found in the wild. While some of our best work comes from within, it doesn’t hurt to take a sneak peek at how other design agencies are highlighting their best work.
What is a Portfolio Website?
A portfolio is a set of work examples of an individual, team, or agency. For designers and design agencies, it’s a chance to wow potential clients with skills and capabilities that are difficult to explain but simple to show.
Let’s take a look at some of the best web design portfolio examples. You never know, you may find inspiration for the layout of your own portfolio webpage.
1. Yummy Gum
Highlighting their best projects at the top, Yummy Gum focuses on the projects that effortlessly combine functionality with style. The use of subtitles on featured projects further highlights the capabilities of the design agency.
With an infinite scroll style similar to the one used by Yummy Gum, it is important to keep your portfolio pieces limited. If you have more than 20 or so pieces, you’ll want to choose your best work or provide a link at the bottom of the page to a more bare bones project list. This will enable potential clients to get to your footer or contact information with ease.
2. Brass Hands
For designers with smaller creative agency portfolio (less than 20 or so projects), consider a mosaic layout similar to Brass Hands. The alternating design helps to create a more impressive look without being overly busy.
If you have a large portfolio that spans numerous industries, then be sure to take a peek at Pentagram’s work.
Pentagram organizes in two ways, by type of client (industry) and by type of work (design niche). That’s just one way to group your portfolio to make it easy to browse.
It can be difficult to cut back on the number of projects to share with potential clients. After all, you never know what will pique their interest. So instead of removing projects from your portfolio, consider a different way of organizing.
Upstatement utilizes a unique portfolio design. While the large thumbnails allow their work to speak for them, they add a list of previous clients to break up their work and further drive their value home.
The expansive use of whitespace (or blackspace, in this case) creates a cohesive but easily digestible experience. With easy-to-access menu tabs, visitors can easily peruse projects across different industries to gain a whole-view perspective of the company’s skills.
If you like simple but effective design, then consider the portfolio website example by Instrument.
Instrument uses a classic two-wide thumbnail design to showcase their greatest campaigns. This includes easy-to-read titles and subtitles for each project which further explains the brands’ visions and how Instrument helped them to achieve it.
The streamlined layout on Instrument is perfect for small-to-medium businesses. You can use the space to show each project on its own, or grouped by industry or project type. The descriptions below each entry provide context that expands upon Instrument’s skills and capabilities. This is a great touch for designers with a focus on brand story.
6. Area 17
With over 300 projects under their belt, you would think Area 17’s portfolio would be overwhelming. However, their use of featured projects and a portfolio index keeps their main portfolio small enough to digest but impressive nonetheless.
Shine a light on your best work with a classic mosaic grid design similar to Luminary’s. The blocks of various sizes makes the portfolio interesting to scroll but also cohesive.
It’s a common misconception that a design portfolio should be imagery and nothing else. But using an image with text concept, like Luminary does, brings context to the forefront.
Another portfolio website example to use text to highlight context is Vertic. This can be a great way to grip potential clients and lead them to want to learn more.
Their use of two-deep thumbnails makes it easy for visitors to focus on just a few projects at once. This cuts down on overwhelm while also serving a clean and sleek design.
9. Push Collective
With white space and minimal text, Push Collective’s portfolio keeps the focus on the projects. And the overlay that appears upon hover — a transparent pink — makes it fun to peruse while also linking each tile back to the design company’s overall brand story.
10. Stink Studios
When your specialty is video and automation, how can you create a portfolio that shows off your work without being too busy? Stink Studios is a perfect example of how to embrace the business of your work in an effective manner.
The key here is the use of neutral campaigns sprinkled throughout the alternating blocks. This helps to keep the eyes focused on one campaign at a time. Use similar techniques in your own portfolio, like neutral design elements or white space, to break up loud colors and bold movements.
We explored design portfolios with industry and project-based breakdowns. LippinCott offers a different way to organize projects, and that’s with a filter.
The main portfolio offers a two-deep horizontal design. This enables a good look at each project individually without clutter or bulk. If you don’t have time to peruse their entire catalog, simply expand the Filter to the top left of the grid. This quickly narrows your search to the project base you are looking for.
As any designer will tell you, no two projects are alike. That’s why Ustwo created a dynamic portfolio that allows them to easily feature their latest and greatest work. With the first five rows alternating between two-deep and three-deep, visitors stay engaged as each new row loads.
And while Ustwo commits to the three-deep display after the fifth row, it’s not a must! If this portfolio style speaks to you, play around with the grid dimensions to get a unique layout all your own.
13. Moving Brands
Just like Ustwo above, Moving Brands is another design portfolio to put the focus on some of its bigger projects. It does so by leveraging two-deep thumbnails to really enhance the design experience for visitors.
Not only that, but their limited use of GIFs prevents visitors from becoming too overwhelmed by motion. This, combined with the intentional white spacing, is a perfect user-friendly combination to keep in mind when creating your own portfolio website.
Are you of the mindset that bigger is better? Then be sure to take a look at the larger-than-life portfolio that Underbelly has to offer.
Underbelly uses a combination of full-length single grids, narrower single grids, and two-deep rows to share the projects in the way they were meant to be seen. If you feel like the more classic portfolio layouts don’t allow your projects to take up the space they were intended to, then this style was meant for you.
Handsome isn’t afraid of whitespace, and neither should you be! It’s common to see websites take advantage of the entire width of their layout, but Handsome does it differently by leaving intentional blank spaces.
The filter at the very top of their portfolio makes it easy for visitors to sort by project type which makes it a great example of user-first experience.
There’s nothing wrong with letting your projects do the talking. But consider that a portfolio doesn’t just have to be a grid of projects.
Take Thoughtbot, for example. They use a combination of project grids, customer testimonials, and brand lists by industry to tell a fuller story. This offers a unique way to break up content that may otherwise be too overwhelming.
Whether you have a small portfolio, or you just want to show off your favorite projects, consider the clean and simple layout design that Gravitate uses.
When it comes to displaying your design work, it’s important to strike a balance between aesthetic and functionality. Gravitate does just that with bright featured images, white space, and transparent overlays upon hover.
If you want a clean and functional portfolio, then take a page from Gravitate’s book.
18. Focus Lab
When you’ve worked with dozens of businesses, your portfolio can easily become chaotic. Put the focus on your best work with various sized grids interspersed with client success statistics and calls to action.
The result is Focus Lab’s full-width experience that offers potential clients a deeper look into the design agency’s skills and capabilities.
Which of the above portfolio websites sparked your creativity?