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 benefits like 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 of what you wish to design, for whom, and in which context.
Web and graphic designers who wish to freelance still need to think about their prospective business plan. That business plan includes 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 that you’re trying to reach you’ll end up shooting in the dark. Financial understanding comes after all that, at which point you have to budget your work and see if it is viable to leave your full-time job to dedicate yourself to design fully. Countless designers make the mistake of throwing away their current job to focus on freelance work, and 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, or even when you’re designing products for Google or Apple. 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 put in one place 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 of if you want to go for exposure, so 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 didn’t just experience overnight success, 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 to 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, which means that 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, so graphic designers are welcome to share their posters, and other work 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.
Pinterest in many retrospects revolutionized the digital visual bookmarking scene, and 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, a feature that now is 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 the work could be share, this will lead to an increased exposure and admiration for your work, but also sales and opportunities as people fall in love with your passionate approach to design. Very female friendly platform that doesn’t discriminate anyone, and instead focuses on the beauty of organizing your thoughts into visual format.
Instagram grew as the demand for photo sharing services continue to increase, and with mindful execution of a strategic growth plan, Instagram’s founding members were able to quickly boost the network to become the most widely known photo and video sharing platforms for mobile devices. Its users can use the application to create and share photos and videos with their friends, loved ones, and the world. Since the growth took off, many other social networks like Twitter and Facebook started to embed Instagram content directly, allowing 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 makes it so popular is of course the community aspect, and the freedom of sharing with everyone, and everywhere. 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 that require a particular set of skills for the job. 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.
Subfolio won’t compare to those three lovely networks we just covered, because Subfolio is far more technical, 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, and in the situation of needing a way 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 with 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, so that you yourself and your fans can preview your work in a visually appealing way. It’s remarkable the level of potency this system provides, 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.
You better be planning to create a personal online 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 have been 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 wonder, “But what about selling my work?” — you’ve got that covered too, creatives that setup their own digital stores through Portfoliobox and begin selling work right from the launch, and it’s all built with mobile in mind.
Tumblr is yet another acquisition that was made by Yahoo!, but that’s not what made Tumblr 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 for sharing content that’s not overly lengthy. Anyone can make their own personal Tumblr blog, and also follow their friends, favorites, and companies who use Tumblr for service announcements. 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, because with those themes you can style your blog into literally anything, and 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!)
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 awful way of looking at it. Cargo is in fact a professional platform, for very professional designers. Cargo gives you a way of starting up your own developer/designer profile from within which you can share your own creations, and upon sharing — Cargo might consider to feature your work as part of the community aspect of it. Cargo’s main model of sharing is through offering its users (designers & developers) 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.
Dropr bridges the massive gap between not having somewhere nice to host your portfolio, and then the next second — having the absolutely best platform for it. Dropr 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 many man hours of work have gone into producing such a stunning amount of content, and Dropr makes it all yours to access and manage, easy; without cost. It’s only a 2 years 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.
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, their 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, and as a side effect — Behance can connect designers with their new employers as companies and businesses scout through Behance for the best talent. It’s a sort of a mix between a portfolio and freelancing platform that puts one mind together with another, and if the connection jives — there’s potential for something extraordinary. 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, which 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!
Dribbble and Behance are not so strange to each other, but each have their own way 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 the employer hiring him for it. 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 in 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. Even Google designers and executives are frequently seen to be sharing on Dribbble, what makes you think they wouldn’t be interested in snagging you as one of their employees if your work lives up to the task? Apart from all those goodie features, Dribbble enables designers to give away freebies too, which of course helps to build their own network, and attract external attention from websites much like ours. It hasn’t been called as one of the best graphic designer tools for no reason.
Tens of thousands of VFX, animation, special effects, game, and virtual reality experts are waiting for their next job at Zerply — a digital platform providing a bridge service for connecting employers with authentic creative artists who have the required knowledge about technological evolution in those particular markets. Zerply’s job board is a cconvenientplace to find new work across the globe, and if you aren’t convinced of the talent that Zerply has to provide, just peek at one of their demos and you’ll be glad that you did — 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 the potential of you being listed as one of the professionals.
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, since then 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 website that was launched 16 years ago! The site has 40+ million users, and more than 70+ million active visitors every month. The site sees anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 uploads of new digital artwork each day, which includes art like animations, illustrators, paintings, digital art, sculptures, and more. The reason why so many people have stood by Deviantart is because of an exclusive community that hasn’t changed its face over such a long time.
Coroflot because it has been a functional design platform for 2 decades, and to this day connects tens of thousands of designers both with each other, and with potential new 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.
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.