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13 Portfolio Websites For Web & Graphic Designers

13 Portfolio Websites for Web & Graphic Designers

Who would’ve thought that web design could become an industry where earnings of $100,000 per year and upwards is possible, especially when you consider that web design is a digital job, possible to learn without any prior investment or knowledge about technology in general? Not only that, but if you choose the freelance path, you can enjoy the benefits of working on your own hours, being your own boss, have the ability to choose your own rates and the kind of clients you work with, and even work on your own projects to further develop your portfolio.

There certainly are misconceptions about web design being an easy career path, but it’s not always roses all the way. To truly master the most complex design techniques, one needs to spend a lot of time practicing and actually working with clients to make it work. Finding work without a good prior experience is of course harder. But, those early-game experiences you’ll have will help you to find your own style, voice, and perspective.

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Web and graphic designers who wish to freelance still need to think about their prospective business plan. It should include things like the full curriculum of how your business is going to function and what is the purpose of it. Then, you have to come up with goals that you are planning to meet, a company biography that would define your vision for your clients and more. Marketing is another thing that freelancers need to learn about, because without understanding your market, you’ll end up shooting in the dark. Financial understanding comes after all that. There, you have to see if it is viable to leave your full-time job to fully dedicate yourself to design. Countless designers make the mistake of throwing away their current job to focus on freelance work. Often, it doesn’t work out because of no prior planning.

And perhaps it doesn’t even matter, because having a design portfolio is helpful in all situations, including freelance. Having a portfolio has many meaningful purposes, and those include ability to convey your vision to the world, to connect with new designers, and to create a space of opportunity for yourself. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to gather the kind of portfolio websites that combine the effects of portfolio design, and social media interaction to maximize your exposure to the global audience. Remember that the network on which you’re sharing your designs matters a lot. That’s why you’ll see some unconventional (at first) mentions of portfolio sites. But in the end, you’ll get their purpose and benefit for your own work.

Flickr

Flickr

Flickr didn’t just gain its success overnight. For many, this is a social photo sharing platform where the roots go back to 2004, when there weren’t that many original platforms where photographers could share their work freely, accessibly, and in community environment. And while it’s true that Flickr underwent some management changes, and was even acquired by Yahoo! at one point, those roots are still closely tied into the networks ecosystem today.

Flickr community is so welcoming that you don’t need to be experienced with photography before you join. In fact, many of the site users are keen to help newcomers learn new techniques, and to share their insights about the best gear out there. Another big aspect of Flickr is free social photo sharing through CC0 licenses. That means anyone can browse Flickr’s freely accessibly library of photos, and use it in their projects if the license permits. But, how does all this tie together with Flickr being good for web and graphic designers? Truth is, Flickr doesn’t restrict the type of content you can share. That way, graphic designers are welcome to share their works with the Flickr members. And since there’s such a vast pool of users, finding new opportunities and minds to connect with is going to be relatively easy.

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Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest in many retrospects revolutionized the digital visual bookmarking scene. It has since positioned itself as a visual social network with a strong community behind, with people who believe in organized digital life that adds the flavor of visual interactivity. Pinterest’s popularity continues to rise as the network incorporates direct buying options (great for sellers, and even designers who wish to sell their work directly) for the shared products, adds features that help to organize one’s digital life through a visual environment, and opens up the space for communities to share their creative ideas together.

Pinterest has also been quoted to be one of the pioneers of a refine cards element usage in modern design. It is a feature that is now being integrated natively in upcoming frameworks like Bootstrap 4. Since Pinterest presents no known limitations for anyone to share their work, web and graphic designers can start their Pinterest accounts and create interesting Boards where they could share their work. This will lead to an increased exposure and admiration for your work, as well as sales and opportunities as people fall in love with your passionate approach to design. Very female friendly platform that focuses on the beauty of organizing your thoughts into visual format.

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Instagram

Instagram

Instagram grew as the demand for photo sharing services continue to increase. And with a mindful execution of a strategic growth plan, its founding members were able to quickly boost the network to become the most widely known photo and video sharing platform for mobile devices. Its users can use the application to create and share photos and videos with the world. Since the growth took off, many other social networks like Twitter and Facebook started to embed Instagram content directly. This allowed the photo sharing giant to rapidly become one of the top 25 websites in the world. Facebook knew that this was a golden opportunity to bring a more strategic approach to photo sharing on both Facebook, and Instagram, when in 2012 a sale was finalized for 1 billion dollars to purchase Instagram.

The network hasn’t stopped growing since then, and is in fact rising in popularity. But, what made it so popular is of course the community aspect, and the freedom of sharing. Just like simple lay-people, designers can share their work on Instagram and gain recognition for it. Countless artists have in this way landed themselves life-changing deals with digital companies and clients. And because it really is free to use, you’ve got nothing to lose; the process of uploading a picture takes only a few seconds of your time.

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Subfolio

Subfolio

Subfolio won’t compare to those three lovely networks we just covered. That is because Subfolio is far more technical and geeky than that. It’s for developers, and of course designers, who want to create a work portfolio out of their existing file system. This would include a set of folders where you’ve archived your work over the years. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to transport it all digitally, you can use Subfolio’s trustworthy features to provide that work accessible to everyone. You’re in control of the system as it is hosted on your own server; upside, it doesn’t require a database. Once you’re done setting it up, upload and organize your digital work folders into the Subfolio directory, and everything else will magically fall into place.

What’s even more intriguing is that Subfolio can generate thumbnails on the fly for all your digital pictures. Thus, you and your fans can preview your work in a visually appealing way. The level of potency this system provides is truly remarkable; the developer has taught about things like search engine optimization, and responsive design optimization for mobile devices. It all just works together so beautifully. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

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Portfoliobox

Portfoliobox

You better be planning to create a personal on-line portfolio if you’re a digital designer, it’s crazy not to. All excellent, creative, and aspiring designers have their own portfolio websites where they showcase their latest work, their sources of inspiration, and any relevant content that could help with attracting new clients. Portfoliobox was sort of born out of that same concept, to give creatives a platform where they can free create their own space of sharing.

Nowadays Portfoliobox hosts sites for photographers, designers, artists, stylists, models, and architects. They’ve all found something that sticks, and are more than pleased to continue using the service that provides a state of the art toolbox for expressing your own on a digital landscape. You aren’t required to have any particular skills to launch your portfolio; the intelligent platform does it all for you, including designing the homepage, individual pages, and layout patterns. You might be wondering, “But what about selling my work?” You’ve got that covered, too. Creatives that setup their own digital stores through Portfoliobox can begin selling their work right from the launch, and it’s all built with mobile in mind.

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Tumblr

Tumblr

Tumblr is yet another acquisition from Yahoo!. However, that’s not what made it so appealing to a generation of geeky creatives that have found Tumblr to be the best place for expressing themselves, for building communities, and for sharing unique content all around. As one of the top 50 websites across the globe, Tumblr is best known as a microblogging service/social network. Anyone can make their own personal Tumblr blog and also follow other blogs on the platform.

You can take any of your existing work and turn into a trending Tumblr phenomenon; the community is very supportive towards artists who aren’t afraid to express their deepest longings. Through the Tumblr dashboard, you can share text content, photographs, quotes from your favorite people, website links, create chat widgets, share audio and video if necessary. Tumblr themes are what makes this a suitable solution for designers. With those themes, you can style your blog into literally anything. Furthermore, as a designer, you might already know how to do some HTML and CSS manipulation, and if that’s the case — Tumblr is friendly towards custom modifications of layouts through those two scripting languages. (WordPress users, we’ve also shared a similar post about Tumblr themes for WordPress!)

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Cargo

Cargo

Cargo falls under the category of you’re either going to love it, or you will completely hate it. The simple design might trick you into thinking that this isn’t a professional platform, or it lacks basic user interface patterns. But that’s just an awful way of looking at it. Cargo is in fact a professional platform for very professional designers. It gives you a way of starting your own developer/designer profile from within which you can share your own creations. Upon sharing, Cargo might consider featuring your work as part of its community aspect.

Cargo’s main model of sharing is through offering its users standalone websites with custom design choices. Then, with the help of tools, you can publish and arrange your content in any way preferable. It’s a very robust community of active designers who love to share their visionary ideas with the world. Websites and artists themselves can get featured on the Cargo platform, which has been known to provide new opportunities for the right designer.

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Dropr

Dropr

Dropr bridges the massive gap between not having a place to host your portfolio, and having the absolutely best platform for it. It hosts more than 140,000 portfolios for digital artists across the world, and these artists have shared an accumulated total of more than 160,000 projects. Just imagine how much man hours of work have gone into producing such a stunning amount of content. Dropr makes it all yours to access and manage, easy, without cost. It’s only a 2-year old platform, but results show that there’s demand for platforms that don’t patronize users with unnecessary charges, and instead gives creatives the tools they seek to put their work on the web.

We do use the word graphic and web designers a lot in these contexts. But just so you know, Dropr caters to everyone, with their extensive file management platform, literally anyone can host their digital work on Dropr and still enjoy the process of presenting it. User Interface is smooth as silk, which of course makes user experience sturdy, and reliable.

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Behance

Behance

Are you on Behance yet? Because you should be. The Adobe-run portfolio site has gained a steady increase in popularity as designers from all over the world flock to the network to share their inspiration, ideas, and beautiful work that they’ve accomplished. It’s unprecedented how much free digital artwork has been made available to the digital consumer thanks to Behance. As a side effect, Behance can connect designers with their new employers. It’s sort of a mix between a portfolio and freelancing platform that connects minds; if both parties jive, there’s potential for something extraordinary.

Moreover, a sophisticated search function helps anyone narrow their searches down to colors, tools, and even the schools from which Behance users have graduated. That’s sort of the next-level way of finding talent that you feel would be suitable for your project. Projects can be organized by their creative fields like: branding, fashion, illustrations, web design, cartooning, auto design, advertising, typography, journalism and truly, countless others. Community members make the effort to contribute feedback and likes to their fellow networks. This ingrains a sense of trust, and fellowship within each individual user. There are social business thinkers out there who go to bed dreaming about this kind of success. Adobe knows how to pull it off!

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Dribbble

Dribbble

Dribbble and Behance are not so strange to each other. Although, each have their own ways of approaching how users share their latest design work. Both sites have a similar interest: to act as bridges between the user promoting his work, and his potential employer. Dribbble’s main motto is for users to share their work that they’re still working on. Sure, often, it is a finalized version of their work. But, majority of people share their concepts and ideas that they wish to put into fruition, either for personal use, or for someone else.

Half a million designers frequent Dribbble’s platform to indulge in graphic design that many didn’t even know was possible to build. Dribbble heavily favors its own job hunting platform, where anyone can participate to be hired for a top company. You can even see Google designers and executives frequently sharing on Dribbble. What makes you think they wouldn’t be interested in snagging you as one of their employees? Apart from all those goodie features, Dribbble enables designers to give away freebies, too. It helps build their own network, and attract external attention from websites much like ours. It hasn’t been called one of the best graphic designer tools for no reason.

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Zerply

Zerply

Thousands of VFX, animation, special effects, game, and VR experts are waiting for their next job at Zerply. It is a digital platform providing a bridge between employers and authentic creative artists. Zerply’s job board is a cconvenientplace to find new work across the globe. If you aren’t convinced of the talent that Zerply has to provide, just peek at one of their demos; the quality is unmatched compared to platforms of similar nature. Somehow, Zerply has managed to snag leading world talent that is waiting for your call to jump on the opportunity to begin working. If you’re amongst those who work in such industries, get in touch with Zerply’s team to discuss your potential of being listed as one of their professionals.

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DeviantArt

DeviantArt

DeviantArt is likely the oldest of all the platforms we’ve covered so far. Launched in 2000, DeviantArt quickly became a trending community for geeky designers who wanted a way to express their creativity, and do it within an environment of a trusting community. First growing as a directory of original art, DeviantArt has managed to expand its horizons to things like poetry, and custom file support for game modifications and similar digital work. It’s still amongst the top 250 websites on Earth, which says a lot about a 16-year old website!

The site has 40+ million users, and 70+ million active visitors every month. DeviantArt sees anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 uploads of new digital artwork each day. It includes art like animations, illustrators, paintings, digital art, sculptures, and more. Many people have stood by Deviantart is because of an exclusive community that hasn’t changed its face over such a long time.

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Coroflot

Coroflot

Coroflot has been a functional design platform for 2 decades. To this day, it connects of designers both with each other and with potential job opportunities. The kind of work Coroflot works with is sleek, clean, modern, and artistic in every shape and form. Coroflot’s job board is where you’ll find leading engineering, technology, and design companies seek out talent much like yours. Coroflot’s commitment to maintaining a professional designer service is what has kept everyone coming back for so many years.

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Where to host a portfolio as a web or graphic designer

All these platforms and designer services has their own unique aspects that make them appealing for different creative groups. But combining them all together, it’s a vast network of other designers, including employers, who’re looking to connect with talent that can meet their requirements. It’s up to you to decide which network best suits your needs. And then, in order to cultivate the most benefit of that platform, you need to become an active participant to blend in with all the other great designers who are sharing their portfolio work.

Alex Ivanovs

Alex is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience in design, development, and small business. His work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, TheNextWeb, and others. You can find his personal writing at The Divine Indigo.

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