How to Create the Best Web Design Portfolio in 2021 - Guide with Examples

Whatever scale of your company is, in 2021, you simply can't do without a good web design portfolio. Where to start? Follow our guide to get some hints.

The World does not stay still. Even though the Covid pandemic has made a good attempt at slowing it down, everything is still evolving. The user's preferences are changing; visitors are craving for more sophisticated solutions; competition is getting tougher. The World did not stop still. So nice try, pandemic. Like it or not, but the show must go on.

Though there are still some consequences to face, sadly, it should be noted that competition next year will be stronger than ever. Therefore, everyone - international web companies, local web design agencies, eager startups, and just standalone artists - need a good web design portfolio.

Still, doubt that? Consider these good reasons why it is vital to invest in a web design portfolio and take it to the next level.

  • It establishes you as a brand. Therefore, it is here where you need to put on the best front possible.
  • It is a platform to introduce yourself to the World and show everyone who you are. It is here where you should expose your personality, character, and charisma.
  • It is a platform to demonstrate your expertise. What skills do you have? What alma mater can you boast? Draw a picture of your web design agency and impress your visitors with your capabilities.
  • It is a platform to promote your services. Show everyone what you can do for them. How can you help him or her in achieving dreams?
  • It is a platform to brag about your clients to build trust and credibility.
  • It is your chance to make an impression and turn regular visitors into clients.
  • It is your way of communicating. You can establish good relationships with the clients and turn them into the brand's ambassadors.
  • It is your chance to accelerate the career and rake in cash. Whether you are an unknown one-person startup or one of the famous San Francisco agencies, you rely on search engines to get noticed. With a well-optimized and SEO-improved web design portfolio, you will have better chances to land a gig. You can even get in the top 10 in search with the keyword "web design New York" which is incredibly tough. On top of that, when you are easily reachable on the web, potential clients can quickly locate you, saving their precious time that, as we all know, is money. Indeed, a good web design portfolio can do magic. It can achieve all these and even more. It just needs certain things to be done. It should be well-thought-out, meet current trends, and resonate with the audience. Where to start? Well, first and foremost, make sure your web design portfolio has all the crucial elements and follows the best practices of 2021.
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Crucial Elements of The Best Web Design Portfolio in 2021

Although every traditional web design RFP may give you hints on what you should include in your web design portfolio so that potential customers tick off all the boxes in finding the best development experts, it is still not enough. Therefore, here we will identify the key features that every web design portfolio in 2021 should have.

So, there are four crucial elements of web design portfolios:

  • Homepage,
  • About Us Page,
  • Portfolio,
  • Contact Us Page.

Although you can add services, blog, and even a shop, this quartet is still the most important. Let's consider each one closely.

Homepage

There is no need to tell you that the homepage is the most important page in your web design portfolio.

First of all, it makes the first impression that we never have a second chance to make.

Second, it creates a long-lasting impression that reminds users about your brand time after time.

Finally, it is a brief introduction to your company.

Therefore, it requires your undivided attention. You need to focus not only on design and functionality but also on usability, SEO, user experience, accessibility, and of course, the wow factor.

Creating a good homepage is challenging. There are so many important decisions to make. For instance, on the one hand, the homepage should include all the vital information; on the other hand, it should not overload nor overwhelm visitors. On the one hand, it should work great across various browsers that imply safe time-tested solutions. On the other hand, it should make a statement; therefore, some tricky extravagant solutions still should be involved. There is always a dilemma. On top of that, each homepage should have such vital components as a hero area, navigation, footer with contacts, brand identity, and some content that may vary depending on your marketing goal. It can be a small range of hand-picked portfolio works, impressive statistics, block with services, pricing table, or even testimonials.

The best way out is to adjust your front page according to your target market's requirements.

About Us Page

About Us page or Team page is a page to show the World who you are. It is a place to lift the curtain and familiarize the online crowd with the company's ideology and history. It is here where you should reveal your personality and charisma. Of course, you should show all your loyal team members.

Note, in the cold digital environment, people want to see faces that radiate warmth and energy. Therefore, be ready to delight your visitors with some good photoshoots. Also, each member should have brief information.

To nail this page, you need to put your soul and heart into it. Do not be afraid to let your imagination run riot. Bold creative approaches always go a long way.

Other key takeaways:

  • get personal;
  • be creative;
  • show your face;
  • show the atmosphere inside your company;
  • tell your unique story;
  • show everyone that you are confident and passionate about your work;
  • shine among your competition.

Portfolio

Obviously, a web design portfolio is all about the portfolio, no question asked. Therefore, the presentation of your works is one of the crucial and challenging tasks. To nail it, bear in mind the ground rule of every successful web design portfolio, works should speak for themselves. If they are impressive, then they are impressive. If they are stale, then nothing can save the day, even praises or attractive pricing.

First and foremost, ask yourself what works represent your skills and experience the best? Do they advocate your brand? Can they win over clients? Always hand-pick works. Choose no more than 7-10 projects. Sometimes, less is more.

Second, add to each work a brief description. Specify such details as:

  • The name of the project.
  • Goals that you met.
  • Challenges that you fought off.
  • Styles and solutions that you used.
  • Tools that you used.
  • Workflow.
  • Positive feedback from the real customer.
  • A link to the live website itself.

Third, add several detailed case studies. Long-read approaches are in favor these days. Therefore, provide your clients with some good material to bury themselves in.

Fourth, wrap everything into an eye-catching packaging. Some brands prefer to create showreels, while others exploit the limits of modern technologies.

Finally, make sure everything is responsive, accessible, and handy.

Contact Us Page

Much like the homepage, the contact page is of top priority for every marketing website out there. Although it is customary to add your contact information to the footer featured on every page and a small contact form to the front page; nevertheless, this vital information still requires an entire page.

The deal is, the contact page is your platform for communication with potential clients. It is here where you can build credibility and instill trust.

Therefore, every successful contact page should have such elements:

  • Contact information (telephone number, physical address, email address).
  • Google map with your precise location.
  • Social icons. Do not add links to social media channels that are rarely visited. Add only those that you monitor each day.
  • Contact form. While some brands turn their contact forms into "get a quote" forms, in fact, according to SEO best practices, the simpler the contact form, the better, at least for the first encounter. More so, one contact form is not enough to hire a web designer. There still will be a web design interview. Therefore, do not overcomplicate things at the outset. Use only required fields such as name, email, and message. Supply each one with labels and information for AT. Also, do not use two-column structures. Stick to simple, neat, and elegant design solutions
  • Direct chat with the team. Personal assistants are getting popular each day. While brands all over the World fall for AI-based assistants, it is not a good option for a web design agency. As practice shows, you have to answer a range of specific questions that only team members can handle efficiently. Therefore, stick to the human approach.

As for design, contact pages are pretty compact and deprived of the wow factor; however, they still should be made with the general theme in mind. If you use a creative approach for other inner pages, you can freely do the same thing here.

However, do bear in mind that in contact page usability and accessibility are crucial things that should not be compromised.

Trends for Web Design Portfolios for 2021

Although there are some differences between Los Angeles web design instance and Tokyo web design (after all, culture leaves an undeniable imprint on online presentations), still all successful web design portfolios have a few common ingredients. One of such things is capitalization on modern tendencies.

Looking up-to-date is increasingly vital. The market is demanding and picky. Nobody falls for old and stale; everyone wants fresh and trendy. Therefore, when your web design portfolio is made with the latest tendencies in mind, it attracts more quality clients, enhances your reputation, and improves your brand presence on the web expanses.

On top of that, it is imperative to show your customers that you stay up-to-date. People want to address their issues to those who can bring the best result. The best results imply the utilization of the latest tools and trends by default.

So, what is going to excite the minds of the crowd next year? Well, 2021 is rich in trends for web design. Though we won't dive into details since every mainstream deserves a whole story to be told. What we are going to do is to give you some hints. We have compiled a list of the most impressive and promising trends for web design portfolios in 2021 to provide you with a head start.

  • WebGL-powered playgrounds.
  • Interactive details like animated mouse cursors.
  • Vertical rhythm.
  • Scroll triggered animations.
  • Offbeat, abstract, and surrealist approaches that give food for thoughts.
  • Sliders with unique transition effects.
  • Dark mode.

Last but not least, note you can't blindly follow all the tendencies. Play your cards right. Do not overwhelm visitors with too much action or sophisticated solutions. Stick to the golden mean.

On top of that, do bear in mind two important things. First, avoid information and visual overload. Second, make sure your clients can enjoy the action since browsers do not support all pioneering techniques that bring about the most powerful impression. Sometimes it is better to use oldie but goodie solutions that still provide a strong effect.

The Best Practices for Web Design Portfolios in 2021

Taking into account all crucial elements and following trends is not enough to emerge victorious. To prove to your potential clients that you are a good fit for what they're looking for, your web design portfolio should follow all the best practices as well. Let's consider the most important ones:

  • Make the first impression count. It means that not only your hero area should be impressive, but also the loader should be effective. It should brighten up moments of waiting and sets the right expectations. Use custom loaders or splash screens for that.
  • Use social proof such as client testimonials or names of famous brands you worked with to qualify your brand.
  • Use impressive statistics of how much you have managed to achieve in order to quantify your brand.
  • Add a powerful intro message. Even a bold statement like "We are awesome" can easily do the trick.
  • Cater to people needs. Focus on your clients. Explain to them what you can do for them.
  • Focus on visual communication. Employ interactive features to enrich the user experience.
  • Adjust your website design to modern trends.
  • Capitalize on marketing tricks. Set clear goals. Include CTA with action words. Use pop-up when necessary. Create a guided experience.
  • Do not overcomplicate things. Even though your hero area can be sophisticated to make the first impression count, the rest of the website should be easy to use and navigate.
  • Cut to the chase where possible.
  • Use authentic imagery.
  • Optimize everything.
  • Enhance performance.
  • Improve website according to SEO principles.
  • Make everything responsive and mobile-friendly.
  • Make everything accessible.

Examples of the Best Web Design Portfolios

Let's be honest. Each digital portfolio pursues its own marketing goals. Therefore, our collection of the best web design portfolios can be a great source of marketing website design inspiration and startup website design inspiration. So, indulge yourself in great examples to find takeaways and working ideas for various projects.

1. Personal portfolio of Chungi Yoo

First comes a brilliant web design portfolio of a Germany-based art director, graphic designer & illustrator. Although you won't find in here a mind-blowing WebGL-powered centerpiece; nevertheless, it has lots to show off.

First and foremost, it has a playground. While it is hidden from the naked eye, it is still there, and it is pretty much alive. You can activate it with just one click and enjoy some real fun.

Second, its beauty lies in simplicity. Chungi mostly relies on typography to make an impression. Therefore, every section is a creative symbiosis of typeface and effects. There are some beautiful type-based animations. Brilliant.

Third, it is populated with various modern features like rotating circles, a full-screen menu, smooth transitions, and scroll-activated effects. The interface exudes modern vibes on all fronts.

Finally, every inner page is soaked with the creativity, personality, and charisma of the artist.

2. We are Impero

"We are Impero" is a creative web design agency from Buenos Aires with headquarters in London. It tests the limits of modern technologies but at the same time, sticks to some time-proven solutions that provide a solid base for showing creativity. So what does it have?

First, the website starts with the beautiful splash screen with an adorable loader that turns waiting into a pleasant pastime.

Second, the WebGL-powered centerpiece occupies the hero area making a strong first impression.

Third, the use of animation is smart. The deal is, the team employs a line style that helps to avoid visual overload. As a result, the header's interactive animation does not overwhelm; it does its work properly, giving way to the content.

Fourth, it has a fantastic user experience spiced with modern features and interactive details.

Finally, every page has smooth transitions and dynamic effects that create a powerful overall impression, even though the components that lie in the interface's heart are pretty basic.

3. Refusi Studio

Refusi Studio is an Italian web design studio whose team has created a portfolio with a particular goal in mind. The thing is, the team is not after the whole World

It prioritizes planning and quality, choosing slow workflow over quick and poor-quality solutions.

The design meets this philosophy. It is compact, almost capsule, but it is not primitive. It has charisma and a ton of personality. Note the dynamic part of the website. Some details are set in motion. However, there is no rush or abrupt move: everything is flowing smoothly. You can even stop the time.

Not only does this website stand out from the crowd with its unique idea, but it also attracts the type of clients the team prefers working with. Clever.

4. Ruler Digital Agency

Somebody is shooting for the stars here. Even though this is not a classic space odyssey, still the digital agency flies high.

Their journey through the stars is impeccable. Though that's not all, it has several vital takeaways that may help to transform your web design portfolio into a masterpiece.

First, it capitalizes on an interactive design, taking user experience to infinity and beyond.

Second, it uses Three.js, GSAP, and other pioneering libraries and techniques.

Third, it has more than just essentials. You can find here a blog, testimonials page, and an awards page.

Fourth, it cares about accessibility, opting in favor of good typography and black and white coloring that ensure excellent readability.

Finally, it goes for a dark mode that is a huge trend.

5. Crafton Web Design Agency

Crafton stays aside from the examples featured above mainly thanks to its traditional approach. However, everything is not as simple as it seems. The agency has some aces in the hole that turn visitors into the brand's evangelists.

The web design portfolio will surprise you with some modern tricks and ingenious ideas. So, what will impress you here?

First, it is a vertical rhythm. As one of the leading tendencies, it gives the website a powerful modern touch.

Second, it is a powerful boxy vibe that creates order out of chaos and, at the same time, gives the user experience a particular spice.

Third, it is a bunch of well-thought-out interactive details and dynamic effects.

They are everywhere, but they are so subtle and elegant that they do not overwhelm.

Finally, the main menu is a thing to marvel at. It includes links to inner pages and a sterling contact page with all the vital information. Users can reach out to the company without extra moves. Clever.

6. Acquired Aesthetic

As a boutique agency, this company is up to some bold and daring design solutions. Although the team does not use modern animation libraries, still their online portfolio perfectly meets their ideology.

The website sticks to a clean and neat design where traditional stripped layout in tandem with scroll-activated effects do all the heavy lifting. There are many conventional solutions: black and white coloring, sans-serif typography, images without extra effects. Nevertheless, everything works here. The website produces a favorable impression that instills trust and wins over clients with its modern take on classics.

7. Personal Portfolio of Oliver Kiss

We are going to end our collection of the best web design portfolios with Oliver Kiss and his clever digital self-presentation. This talented Amsterdam-based designer is going to show you how to maximize the minimal approach. It is here where you can feel the whole power of the "Less is more" philosophy. The key takeaways:
  1. a parallax-based storytelling experience that lures everyone in;
  2. a generous amount of whitespace that makes the content king;
  3. beautiful smooth transitions that add subtlety to the experience;
  4. friendly atmosphere and tone.

Finally, it is a single-page approach where the homepage covers all the crucial elements: intro, bio, portfolio, and contacts.

Conclusion

Web design dying. Who said that?! In 2021 there is no other way to make yourself heard, accelerate your career, and earn extra money than to use a web design portfolio.

Creating one that is worthy of your brand and, most importantly, your clients is challenging. There are so many essential things to take into account. Nevertheless, with our guide and examples, everything is possible.

Therefore, stick to the best practices, follow the trends, show your creative side, get some hints from real-life examples, and do A/B tests to meet your target market's needs.