Discover which platforms are best suited for hosting your design portfolio, and start making one right away.
If you do some creative work, you got to have snippets of all of your work in one place. A high quality portfolio is a must-have not just for designers or other visual artists but also for marketers, photographers, writers, musicians. Recruiters today use these platforms to find talents globally. Having all of your best projects in one place helps you get noticed and land your next job quickly.
It’s never been easier to create your online portfolio and share your work. Unless you are just starting to dip your toes in a vast creative industry ocean, you most likely already have used some of the platforms mentioned below. The number of options keeps growing by the day.
For a beginner, the available choice might seem overwhelming at first. Each existing platform comes with its advantages and disadvantages. This short guide is here to help you determine what’s the best solution for you.
The most frequently used platforms for personal portfolios on this list are vibrant designer community hubs as well. Showcasing your work is just one tiny segment of what services like Behance or Dribbble offer.
These are also the places where you can share your skills, network with other designers and recruiters, and look for your next project at the job posts. These designer social networks are a good starting point for every young and aspiring creative because you can easily make your profile, create your portfolio, and share it with your job applications.
There are few excellent reasons why Behance is the most popular on this list. Its interface is simple and easy to navigate, creating your profile and building your portfolio as easy as joining any other social network. You also have a unique opportunity to learn from the best graphic design creatives in your field and see emerging design trends as they develop.
Being also a social network, Behance is an excellent platform to network with other designers and recruiters, and potential employers. It allows you to browse and search job postings published by trustworthy companies from all around the world.
- Free. It’s completely free, which you can rarely say for an Adobe product, but in this case, it’s entirely true. And it comes without any restrictions on the number of projects a user can create and the number of images uploaded in full resolution.
- Job posts. It makes finding a job much more manageable. If you are a design rookie, it might not seem like that. Still, after you start expanding your portfolio with real-life projects, you will quickly begin getting messages from recruiters and companies using the Behance jobs board.
- No visual customizations. Behance does not offer any form of visual customization for your portfolio.
- Poor integration with external services. Exporting your portfolio to WordPress or Squarespace might be very challenging or almost impossible.
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Just as its biggest competitor, Dribbble is also a very active designer-centric social platform where you can quickly and easily set up your profile and portfolio and start connecting with other designers and professionals from industries actively looking for creatives. You can upload various stages of your design on this portfolio site and share with everyone how you reached the final look. The blog section is very popular for sharing your thoughts and knowledge.
- Dribble Meetups. This feature on the platform helps you join engaging designer communities and activities. Meetups are happening all the time around the world and can be outstanding opportunities for networking and potential collaborations.
- Job posts. Dribbble is also a terrific place to look for a new job. You can browse and search for job listings. Recruiters or employers can also contact you directly if they find your portfolio interesting.
- Free, but… You can sign-up to Dribbble entirely free, and you can start creating your profile and portfolio right away. However, suppose you want to bypass certain restrictions and limits of the basic free profile. In that case, you’ll have to opt out for either Pro or Pro Business profiles, which cost 5$ and 15$, respectively.
This is one of the oldest and most active platforms for creatives. DeviantArt is open to all types of artists and arts, making its user base more diverse than the one on Behance or Dribbble. Its user interface went through a lot of change over the years. Still, it takes little time to figure out how this complex platform works.
This is a great place to look for artistic inspiration, learn and get to know other creatives from around the world. It’s a bit forum-centric, so it might lack its competitors’ slick and intuitive look at first glance.
- Free. It’s completely free to create a profile and portfolio on this platform. There are no current restrictions on the number of galleries and images you can upload.
- Limited customization. At the moment, you can connect your DeviantArt portfolio only with your website hosted on Wix directly from the platform. Everything else requires both technical and coding skills at the moment.
This creative work network is made by designers for designers. The main focus of this platform is to help designers find vetted projects or jobs and help clients find designers with the right skills.
Caroflot has by far the best organized and integrated jobs section from all of the similar platforms. You can create your profile and portfolio for free. Still, unlike Behance, Dribbble, or DeviantArt, this platform has certain limitations regarding the number of images you can upload.
- Job-centric. You can easily search for job postings and quickly apply for the ones you find interesting. There is also a handy and well-organized salaries section where you can quickly check the rates based on location or job title.
- If you are starting your design career, you might want to consider building up your work portfolio before registering for this platform.
Portfolio website builders
Unlike design communities that emphasize networking, collaboration, and sharing, classic portfolio building platforms are focused on one thing, making sleek and good-looking portfolio websites. This is an excellent option if you already have more than few completed projects in your portfolio.
Making your own portfolio website may require a bit of technical knowledge and some coding and programming skills. Fortunately, there are more than few options that don’t need any or require a minimum of these skills. Creating your website makes an excellent opportunity to show your design skills and take complete, creative control of your personal brand.
As a designer, you probably use some of the Adobe Creative Cloud plans. Adobe Portfolio is a great option that comes free with any of the subscriptions. With it, you can create professional-looking portfolio websites quickly and almost effortlessly.
Because Behance and Portfolio share the same parent company, there is good integration between these two platforms. You can use your Behance portfolio and quickly turn it into a fully functioning website with a completely customizable domain name.
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This minimalist-looking portfolio website builder offers well thought out selection of customization options that can help you create a unique-looking website. The primary purpose of Cargo is to help you quickly create and publish your online portfolio.
However, the platform can be used for anything, even an online shop, since they have a built-in e-commerce solution. You can sign-up for free and try it out.
The free account gives you only 100 megabytes of disk space and just a few free templates. Once you upgrade, you get significantly more storage, a great selection of templates, and an option to edit HTML and CSS code on your site.
Portfoliobox is yet another service oriented towards designers and creatives looking for a quick and easy way to build a portfolio website. It is popular among creatives because it offers a wide range of customization options and doesn’t require any coding skills. This platform also has an e-commerce option, which means that you can quickly set up an online store if you need one. There are three types of monthly subscriptions so you can pay according to your needs.
One of the most popular choices among designers, Carbonmade can defend this title with exact numbers. With over two million designer portfolios and counting, this is a platform worth checking.
It was created with one purpose in mind, to help designers quickly and easily set up their online presence. You can sign up for free, and there is a free trial of the premium features as well. Depending on the size of your portfolio, this service cans cost you between 8$ and 18$ per month.
WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system), powering one-third of the global websites. This platform is incredibly versatile and gives you unlimited options when it comes to customization, thanks to its vast library of themes and plugins. WordPress is not a platform for absolute beginners. It requires at least basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, and you do need to spend some time learning how to use it and customize it.
If you plan to use it on your domain and server, then it’s completely free. You can find all the necessary information on WordPress.org.
There’s also WordPress.com which is a commercial service which offers custom domain name, hosting and a vast selection of templates that you can customize. This is a subscription-based service, and the prices vary depending on your needs.
Although similar to Wordpress.com, Squarespace has a somewhat different approach to creating and customizing a website. Unlike WordPress, which requires some technical knowledge to start using it SquareSpace has a drag and drop editor that makes the entire design process very easy and intuitive. An extensive library of premade themes, page elements that are easy to customize, Google and Adobe font libraries make building your website a breeze.
The disadvantage of this and similar platforms is that you are getting locked in an ecosystem that gives you limited control over your website’s further development and visual adjustments. It is also tricky and sometimes impossible to migrate your website to a different platform. Having that in mind, Squarespace is an excellent choice for absolute beginners and offers various very reasonably priced subscription packages.
A few tips for making your portfolio stand out
A good portfolio will not only help you get noticed, but it will also help you get new projects with little to no effort. As your career grows, so will your portfolio. You need to follow some rules to make the entire process of creating and maintaining your design portfolio hassle-free.
- No school projects. This only applies if you already have some work experience and have completed at least a couple of real-life projects.
- Quality over quantity. You might be tempted to put all your projects in a portfolio. However, the good rule of thumb is to keep that number to the maximum of 10 projects from the past 3 to 5 years.
- Show your process. Share a couple of projects in the form of case studies to show potential clients your workflow, your skills, and expertise.
- Use the client’s testimonials if you can. This will give your portfolio an additional layer of credibility.
You’ve picked one of the most creative and exciting professions even though sometimes it might not seem like it when a client sends you a mail asking for things to “pop” or “make it the same but different." Try to have some fun with the process of assembling your portfolio, and make sure to share it with us either here in the comments section or on our social media.