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How to build a web design portfolio that generates clients

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Starting your own web design business can be a bumpy road. Especially when all the clients need experience, something you’re trying to build. While experience is needed in many fields, when you are a web designer, you can build your own portfolio. Create your design projects and share them on a breathtaking portfolio. You will definitely attract your first customer.

Never say you don’t have a portfolio. Even if you’re just starting, or looking for a job, you can use suggestions and build a web design portfolio. Tell the world how good you are.

Easy steps to build your own web design portfolio

Professional Website


The first step to succeeding in the professional web designing is by having your website. You definitely need one. Since you are starting, you don’t face the issue most designers often do, an ignored website.

The most time you spend perfecting your website, the better your portfolio becomes. And with it, your business.

Don’t think of your website as something bland and one-paged. It’s actually a place where every little detail you work on becomes a part of your actual portfolio.

This is what you should include:

  • Start Page
  • Customized 404 Pages
  • Custom forms for contact
  • An exclusive portfolio page inside the website

Creating personal projects


You are free to choose the subjects of your personal website, knowing that you master them, of course. From your cat’s exquisite poses to your mother’s expressive art, you can choose any subject to build a site.

All those projects go into your portfolio. They show your abilities and have the potential to attract your next paying customer.


Learn more with Online Courses and Tutorials


The offer for online classes about web design is endless. While learning, the work you get accomplished can also be used as part of your projects. You’ll be learning something new while improving your portfolio.

Imaginary Customers: Building webpages creatively


Imagine a new customer that needs you to create an landing page. Let your skills shine and share it as part of your portfolio. There’s nothing wrong with it since you mention those are not live pages, but portfolio examples.


Do some volunteering work


Think about a charity organization or a cause that interests you. You can volunteer to give some help with their web design and website maintenance. This will give more entries on your portfolio, and probably a positive reference.

Your image, your ambition


Remember the old saying “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”? It's same with the web design portfolio. The quality of the work you display on your portfolio should be a mirror of the clients you are looking for.

If you’re working solo, or as a part of a small team, you might think about focusing on a specific niche in the market. That will set yourself apart from others.

When you work with a specific industry, it's quite easy to expect your client's needs. If the niche you want to specialize in is about doctors’ offices, that should be highlighted on your site.


Change existing Web Design Templates


You can find many portfolio examples for free, so you can build web pages with. You won’t be using them as actual pages. But thinking in a creative way, these portfolio examples can be an excellent start. Once you work on them, make sure it has your image and style in the end.


Let your Best Work Shine


The point of building a portfolio is to show the world your best work. Every single project you share on your portfolio has to be amazing, not just ok. Your work has to shine. It's better to only have a few entries that are mind-blowing, instead of many that are mediocre.

The projects you have are not enough? Build some more!


If you think your portfolio needs some new projects, you should definitely work on them! Great inspiration can be finding a solution for issues you spotted that need new design ideas.

These problems are a way to develop your skills. For example, if you love UX Design, you can spot issues on the web applications related to user experience. What you can do is work on a solution and design it.

Take this example: a design student applied to Apple and got rejected. As a result, he totally redesigned Apple Music from scratch! These articles will give you some inspiration for your next projects:

  • Project ideas on Hack Design, Skillcrush, and HOW Design; specifically, for Visual Designers
  • UX Beginner projects for UX/UI Designers

Another source of inspiration can come from your family and friends. Ask them if they need help on simple design projects and offer yourself to help. This is a unique chance to deal with a real customer and improving your communication skills. In the end, you’ll have a real ‘client‘ work to share on your portfolio.


Web Design Portfolio means ability and Web Page façade


There’s one common thing to all the portfolios. Simple sites, creative sites or technical pages, each one of them is a piece of hard work and inspiration.

Your web design portfolio is more than a mere façade, it’s the actual embodiment of your professionalism. You are a Web designer; your portfolio means everything. You should take it seriously to attract more clients.

Visit web design portfolios available online to inspire yourself


A great work of design doesn’t rely solely on its inspiration. It has to speak to the visitors with design concepts that have the designer's signature.

Having an amazing web design portfolio is good not only to have more work but also to build your reputation.

Learn how to edit Yourself


You might want to showcase all your work so that people can see your skills. Yet, this can be a big mistake. Less information is most of the times beneficial.

The best solution for this is creating a mix that shows your best designs. People don’t have time to go through ALL your work, so choose your work to showcase wisely.

The first impression is everything: In the front and center, you should have a small set of quality work. It's not just about yourself, it's about your best self.


Each project, a story


When choosing the projects to add to your web design portfolio, have in mind that each one has its own story. Imagine a local food truck that’s known for its gourmet food, the website should mirror the right message.

This is all about communication. When visiting a website, people want to see something that actually speaks to them.

People will be curious to find out what’s behind a project. So, apart from the visuals, you should also consider adding the case details to each project. People can click and read them.

You can describe each client’s needs and issues, and how you worked on their solutions. Grab your reader’s attention with a short story with beginning and end. Don’t forget to highlight your role when solving problems.

Offer a Fresh Portfolio


Imagine your portfolio as a beautiful garden. Every now and then you have to do some cleaning to keep a pleasant garden with beautiful plants. It’s the same with your portfolio. Keep only the pieces that represent your best projects. That way, you’re also planting the seeds for new work opportunities.

Never forget that every time you work for a client, you’re also creating a new piece for your portfolio.

It doesn’t matter if the project is not exactly your thing, or the money is not very interesting. Always look for quality. Having a quality work, in no time you’ll be working for the projects you really want.


Keep it simple


Time is money. Most business owners value time very much. They don’t want to waste their time by having to look at dozens of your pieces, or handling difficult navigation.

  • Keep everything clear from beginning to end.
  • Showcase only your best work, and make sure it’s the first thing your clients see when visiting your website.

Don’t go too crazy with creativity while design the navigation, or creating something new. Your clients will definitely appreciate easier navigation. You should aim for something clean and elegant. Let the star be your work, framed by a simple concept that makes everything easier to read, so always keep it simple.

After building your website, you should make sure it runs well on popular browsers.

A user that has an older version of internet explorer visits your website. If it looks broken, chances are they won’t give it another opportunity with a different browser. So, you made a terrible first impression.

By keeping your website simple, the user has a better experience. And it’s also easier for you to fix any possible issues related to the browsers.

Get some inspiration with these Web Design Portfolios

Robby Leonardi


More than just a portfolio, Robby Leonardi provides an interactive experience.

If you have an idea that portfolios are just a plain list of facts, this one will definitely get you excited. The designer found a way to showcase his work in a very special novel that gives life to information.

His website is actually a videogame where you can play for real. One of the best portfolio websites, very fun and exciting. Gets the visitors attention from first sight.

Yul Moreau


Yul Moreau takes you into a unique experience on his website.

This website is a shining example of how to play with visuals to draw the visitor attention. His main source of inspiration comes from the ’80s, and that’s visible throughout his portfolio.

Videos, images, and impressive scroll effects are shown on a single page layout. Perfectly transmitting his skills.

Daniel Spatze


A look into Daniel’s skills in graphic and web design.

He joins the two worlds of design and web design in a beautifully presented portfolio. Lots of CSS magic and superbanimations create a dynamic experience for the visitor.



The vibrant colors scheme creates a powerful impact, holding the reader’s attention.

Minimal and clean, this portfolio from ToyFight is actually a dazzling experience. The way the colors pop up in minimal design is surprising. An atmosphere is created for a different feel that emanates creativity. Visitors are very likely to come back.

Studio Schurk


A unique experience that combines humor and illustration.

The dynamic design duo from Studio Schurk has a very creative website. Their sense of humor shines all the way. Enjoy the funny animations that showcase both their talents.

Werkstatt Wundersite


Elegance and balance. Two words that describe Werkstatt Wundersite’s portfolio perfectly.

A good design doesn’t mean over the top details all over your portfolio.

There are many designers who choose a minimalistic style when designing their website. The website from Werkstatt Wundersite is all about that.

Simple, clean, and minimalistic. Wide white spaces and an enjoyable type size enhance their attention to details.

Rezo Zero


Along with their projects, Rezo Zero provides actual case studies.

This creative studio is specialized in brands and digital creativity.

Visiting this website is like reading a magazine. Breathtaking images and interesting typefaces, provide detailed case studies for each project.

Legwork Studio


The unique animated cartoons are the highlight feature of Legwork’s Portfolio.

Based in Denver, Legwork is an independent studio. They create animation and mind-blowing interactive experiences.

You will definitely be surprised by their homepage animation. You’ve never seen anything like it.

Hannah Purmont


Hannah Purmont’s website screams color and imagination. A wonderfully put together combination of color and images that catch your eye.

Its Hannah’s conviction that design brings people together.

Communication is taken to another level on her website, using color and images. Red is the color that guides you through your experience and navigation.



If you want to have a look at design latest trends, you should definitely take a look at this web design portfolio.

The new technique Split screen – a screen that splits in two – is very well applied in the homepage design. Easy to read and navigate, this portfolio is simple, having plenty of space and simple mixes of color. Visually, is much easier to understand the message.


Hopefully, you can find some guidance with these tips to perfect your own portfolio.

If you enjoyed reading this article about web design portfolios you should read these as well:

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 195,000+ customers.

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