A memorable and unique portfolio is one of the most effective ways to get your name out there and introduce potential clients to your work and point of view. These new designers below certainly met the brief.
During the five week Wix Playground Academy, a select group of emerging designers got a chance to create online portfolios and develop their personal brand. Here are 10 creative (and sometimes, a little weird) portfolios from the recent US summer session in June, all built on Editor X, that are worth getting to know.
1. Punctuate with a pop of color
Yoonjung Cho is a New York City-based designer originally from Korea, with a focus on branding and visual storytelling. Her site incorporates a minimalist design and color palette with pops of color from hover interactions. It's a simple but effective solution that puts her work in the spotlight. Another really fun element is the variable type animation and animated emoji eyes, which she added to her name in the top left corner and the site favicon.
2. Hover interactions that have us smiling
Our next designer, Harbor Bickmore, has a masters in Fine Arts and Design and specializes in branding and typeface design. The site stands out for its stark white background and classic black font—but there are surprises in every corner, including the hover interactions from the bottom menu.
Everything has a dose of personal branding, from the favicon, to the cursor, to the URL (we actually can’t believe that URL was still available??). There are a lot of unexpected elements, like the hover over the social media icons, which adds a burst of color. We won’t reveal our final hilarious discovery—you’ll have to find it yourself.
3. An optical ‘80s throwback
Jiaqi Sun is a graphic designer based in NYC originally from Shanghai. Her work is focused on brand identity, typeface design, and editorial. Her portfolio has a quirky hover interaction that makes icons depicting ramen, croissants, and more disappear, and reveals her bio on the homepage. The interaction is a surprising and delightful way to showcase the classic “About Me” details we see in every portfolio site in a fresh way. She uses images and emojis to bring whimsy and personality to plain text, adding another layer of understanding about her interests and causing the user to linger just a touch longer than they might have otherwise.
The black background paired with the greens, reds and yellows of the emojis bring to mind the retro, video-game aesthetic of the ‘80s and some serious Stranger Things vibes. Y2k and the ‘90s are having their moment, but with this web design, the ‘80s throwback is coming in strong.
4. Dopamine colors to make the heart happy
Avishi Jain is a multidisciplinary graphic designer. This portfolio is giving retro vibes, with a black background that soon shifts to a “dopamine” vivid bright color palette upon scrolling to following sections further down the page. The oversize, all-caps variable type that greets the user with “Hi I’m Avishi,” on the homepage immediately establishes a strong aesthetic for the first fold, and super fun, colorful stickers add visual interest through the rest of the site.
5. Through the looking-glass with hover interactions
Tricia Nuque is a new grad in NYC, originally from Manila with a degree in multimedia arts. She’s infused her portfolio with a light, joyful color palette and playful balloon-like type, giving the visitor an idea of her light-hearted and approachable design aesthetic. She uses a looking-glass hover effect that reveals glimpses of her work from the black background, creating a sense of mystery and anticipation before you can see more.
We love this creative way of showing off projects in the first fold, and jumping straight into the portfolio on offer. Finally, the scroll action combined with the sticky notes on the “About” page are eye-catching, just like a sticky-note should be.
6. Whimsical style with sticky scroll
Ingrid Tai is a graphic designer and illustrator and a student at Parsons in NYC. The portfolio puts a strong , splashy color palette to good use, showing off her fresh and whimsical on-screen style. She also plays with fonts in the first fold, with several expressive, oversized typefaces that spell “Hello” in rotation—we’re seeing similar treatments across other sites, too.
The homepage flows smoothly into the “Work” section using the sticky scroll and gradient treatments. Her use of bold stickers is something we’ve also been seeing on other sites, but the gradient colors are a fresh approach, all in all creating a fun way to navigate the site.
7. Straight to the point with stand-out lettering
Kaylah Chester has a Bachelor of design and is interested in all aspects of design: print, material design, brand and logo design. This portfolio has a really strong black and white aesthetic that will definitely remind you of the type of old-school video games that were the height of tech in the 80s. She actually talks about her love of screens in her “About” page, so she’s really captured that same look and feel.
The use of hover interaction on Repeater items showing her work brings a nice splash of color and breaks up the design. Her portfolio is clear and concise with a simple layout allowing the lettering to have full focus.
8. Opposites attract: Turns out expressionism and minimalism can be friends
Kelly Phuong Phan is a recently graduated graphic designer with a focus on branding, typography, type design, editorial and installation. The combination of typefaces and animated facial feature cutouts in the first fold showcase her style in a quirky (but good!) way, adding maximum impact when balanced with a minimal site.
The hover scroll with the eyeballs is extremely—pardon the pun—eye-catching. It’s also a lesson in consistency: she carries the collage aesthetic throughout the site, and the result is a striking portfolio that’s uniquely hers.
9. Maximum nostalgia, maximum impact
Archerd Aparejo is a graphic designer working in branding with an interest in print editorial design as well. This portfolio also has a retro aesthetic, but in a different way than the other sites: the home page looks like a bird’s eye view of an old-school drafting table overlaid with a post-it welcome message. His projects are represented with photos that look like physical objects set on a workstation. Overall, this site creates an interesting juxtaposition, drawing together analog and digital to showcase an on-screen portfolio.
10. Bridge the gap with bilingual type
Junyi Zhu is a graphic designer based in Baltimore, whose work focuses on bringing Chinese and English culture together. We love the in-your-face styling of the first fold of her portfolio. First there’s the thick lettering, which Zhu emphasizes with the most high-contrast color combo possible: attention-grabbing black and white. The purple menu, pinned to the top of the 1st fold, seems like it's the only shock of color on the site—but gives the user a sneak peek of the rest of the color palette Zhu starts to introduce further down the page.
Junyi Zhu’s bold use of neon yellow, orange and purple is so vivid and accentuates the different layouts throughout the page. Finally, she includes both the English and Chinese spellings of her name in equal size in the first fold, making the portfolio stand out as unique and emphasizing her mission of connecting English and Chinese culture.