Wednesday, July 17

20 Best New Portfolios, September 2018

Hello Readers. It’s September, so as soon as your kids are off to school, maybe you can finally have a five-minute power nap. Take that power nap with equal parts gusto and relief, dear Reader. You’ve earned it.

Last month, one of you asked for less “ultra-modern” designs, and the design gods have seen fit to provide. We still have some of that ultra-modern goodness — because apparently now that it’s been started, we can’t make it stop — but I managed to find and sprinkle in a few more classic-feeling designs. Enjoy.

Note: I’m judging these sites by how good they look to me. If they’re creative and original, or classic but really well-done, it’s all good to me. Sometimes, UX and accessibility suffer. For example, many of these sites depend on JavaScript to display their content at all; this is a Bad Idea™, kids. If you find an idea you like and want to adapt to your own site, remember to implement it responsibly.



45royale is one of those sites that combines minimalism with a healthy love of gradients.The layouts are simple, and the type is good, but it’s the use of color that truly makes this site stand out.

Platform: WordPress



RedElegant embraces a classic and more corporate-client-friendly aesthetic with just a touch of that material design feel. It’s the sort of design you’d expect to see at a bank.

Interesting side note, the WordPress theme used seems to be a heavily customized version of the Twenty Seventeen default WordPress theme. The extent of the customization makes this site impressive, as I would never have guessed this if I hadn’t looked at the source.

Platform: WordPress


5e Rue

5e Rue combines a fairly minimalist and classical feel with light hints of more modern artistic flourish, and a bold use of blue. The serif heading type overlaps with illustration-style bits in a way that creates a beautiful yet staid experience. It puts me in mind of a classic Parisian café, and not just because the studio itself is in Paris, okay?

Platform: Static Site



Co-Partnership has gone for the solid background with the big sans-serif text, and just a little bit of asymmetry. Well, there’s nothing at all wrong with using a tried and true formula.

I particularly like what they do with their logotype. The ever-shifting branding is a nice touch of art direction on an otherwise very simple site.

Platform: WordPress



Object goes hard on the use of color as art direction. Just about every page has a different palette, and the overall effect is quite pleasing. While I’ll admit that the “hero” section on their home page is a bit of an eye-gouger, the overall effect is a pleasant one.

Platform: WordPress



60fps specializes in motion design, so it’s to be expected that their site will be a bit JavaScript-heavy. Even so, the animation used feels understated, even while making its presence known so clearly. With unique-feeling layouts and good typography, the whole experience is one of the better ones I’ve seen in the “presentation site” category.

I just wish they would stop with the scroll-jacking. I’m not a fan.

Platform: Static Site



Hochburg uses a very light touch with animation and a very simple, minimalist, and grid-based look. One thing I do rather like about the home page is this very light animated static effect to highlight portfolio pieces when you hover on them. It’s just a good-looking plain old dark layout, and I love it.

Platform: Contao CMS


Rimini Berlin

Rimini Berlin is interesting for in that the entire site is an accordion element. Sure, the implementation is a bit too JS-dependent for my taste, but it does preserve navigational context on this one-page site in a fairly clever way. Give me a pure CSS implementation, or at least some simple fallbacks, and I’d have nothing to complain about.

Platform: WordPress



ED. goes for full minimalism, and a classic three-ish-column approach. In fact, I’m kind of a fan of the way the columns shift around a bit when you click on a project, even if I’m unsure about this trend of letting your branding clip onto the content of your site. It’s a simple effect, but it works, and allows for a certain flexibility in this simple layout.

Platform: WordPress



Intervaro goes for full minimalism with a touch of material design, by which I guess I mean drop shadows and a fixed navigation bar. That’s Material Design, right? And Material Design is the new corporate aesthetic?

Whatever, it’s a simple and good-looking portfolio site. Bonus points: they implemented a rather fantastic-looking dark mode for users who find that easier on their eyes.

Platform: WordPress


Modest Department

I find myself fascinated by the choices made on Modest Department’s portfolio site because they went with very intentionally small thumbnails for everything. Is it to fit with the name? Is it to save people’s bandwidth? Either way, it does both.

The small thumbnails and wide spacing naturally draw the eye in and make you really look at what they’re showing you. It would be inadvisable for an extended browsing experience, but it’s great for a quick portfolio. It’s not great for those with visual impairments, but they could zoom in, and clicking on a thumbnail gets you a full-sized video in any case.

Platform: WordPress



Koto’s studio portfolio has gone with a one-column portfolio site, relying on their use of color and branding to help them stand out. And it works. Every element feels very intentionally placed despite the almost extreme simplicity. And I can’t fault the way they use illustration-style elements.

Platform: WordPress


Jane Studios

With all of the comparably simple sites on this list so far, we were due for another artsy one. Enter Jane Studios, a site so minimalist, artsy, and generally PowerPoint-like, we might have reached peak modern design. I’ll never be a fan of that in-all-the-corners navigation, but the rest of the site is an excellent example of its kind,

Platform: WordPress



Raxo gets a spot on this list only partly because I’m a sucker for horizontal layouts like the one they have on their home/landing page. The rest of the site is a fairly simple and business-like affair with a strong but not overwhelming use of solid red.

Once again, I’m going to complain a bit about the navigation, though. Hamburger icons are bad enough on a desktop site, but it’s not even a hamburger icon anymore. It’s a circle. Come on. The rest is pretty good, though.

Platform: Static Site


RubyAnne Designs

RubyAnne Designs, which is abbreviated very awesomely as “RAD”, is an architecture firm. Unlike many architecture sites, this one skips a lot of the fluff and just shows you the houses already. The aesthetic is nearly brutalist, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out. It’s a fantastic example of a simple, clean, and not at all overdone architecture portfolio.

Platform: SquareSpace


Robin Mastromarino

Robin Mastromarino is an interaction designer, which means you should expect lots of animation. The animation is fairly low-key, though, and doesn’t detract from this delightfully clean and well-structured site.

The click-and-drag slideshow probably works better on mobile than it does on the desktop. Well, mobile is a huge market, so that works.

Platform: Static Site


Célia Lopez

Célia Lopez’ portfolio lands squarely in artsy territory with lots of 3D-ish graphics and that aesthetic form that’s just so “modern” that I feel like inventing a new word for it. Supermodern? Anyway, as presentation sites go, this one looks absolutely lovely. I love the heading type, especially.

Platform: JS App(?)


Hamish Stephenson

Hamish Stephenson’s flim and photography portfolio is dark, simple, and… smooth? Look, it feels smooth. Maybe that’s just because Samuel L. Jackson stares out at you from the portrait section of the site, but it just looks “cool”, in that dark and honey-voiced narrator sense of the word. Like old jazz.

Man, blurry background elements have never gotten so much praise, but here we are.

Platform: WordPress


Sebastian Chen Speier

Sebastian Chen Speier’s one-page portfolio is fairly post-modern, minimalist, and basically defines the phrase “dead simple”. It does that whole hover-over-text-to-see-a-preview thing, but with a twist: click, and you’ll get different preview images. It’s not the most intuitive setup, but it’s worth checking out for the novelty alone.

Platform: Static Site



The Helder agency site is of that school of thought that holds bold text in high regard. It’s all bold. All of it. Then there’s the strong color changes (that still somehow work), the stark imagery… it’s just a design that doesn’t hold back. And yet, it still looks kind of reserved for all that.

Platform: WordPress


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x