15 best portfolio websites for designers and artists


Digital Arts


Image: iStock

Make sure your work is presented to its best possible quality with these 11 extremely helpful portfolio creation websites, picked out by us.

If you’re an artist or designer, the internet is an essential place to show off your work, offering a wider-ranging audience from potential clients to buddies to partners to work with. Your portfolio represents you and your work so it needs to be just right, and easily accessibly by everyone.

Thankfully, there’s no need to bang out – or slowly, stutteringly trudge out – lines of code anymore. The below sites make it easy. Though if you’re a coding whizz who wants to dive deep in computer-speak, there’s plenty of sites for you too.

A well-presented portfolio is crucial if you’re trying to get by in a visual industry. We notice every year when it's grad season, just how easy it is to miss out on recognition or job opportunities if you have no website to follow up with after a conversation.

Whether your portfolio-hosting site is an expansive social network or a more exclusive setting, it needs to be just as stylish as your work to draw in the attention you deserve.

Following the latest update of portfolio builder Cargo, we round up the 15 best portfolio websites for artists and designers to showcase their work. 

Behance

More than just being a go-to portfolio site for artists and designers - from animators to photographers, and everything in between - Behance is a very active social network with job postings, comments, the opportunity to follow artists, gets you ‘appreciates’ on your work and even be part of curated galleries.

Needless to say, we at Digital Arts have scrolled for miles on Behance. And so will many potential clients and collaborators. 

It’s ridiculously easy to sign up and upload your projects, and having a Behance is an essential for any fresh talent wanting to get noticed.

Free. 

Adobe Portfolio 

Behance Pro has made way for Adobe Portfolio, a platform where you can quickly and easily build a fully responsive site to showcase your creative work.

Everything is easy: pick a layout, customise it – including your own domain name and Typekit’s library of fonts – and then sync with Behance. If you’re looking to create a complex, highly personalised, this isn’t it. But it does its assigned job well. Your site will automatically be optimised for any device, and you can use your own domain name, as well as have access to Lightroom photography and photos grids.

Plus, with the pricier version, you get the entire collection of Adobe creative apps – from Photoshop to Illustrator. After all, there are perks to signing up with giant corporates.

Adobe Portfolio is free with Creative Cloud, along with access to the full Typekit font library. 

Otherwise it’s £7.68/US$9.99 per month or £38.44/$49.99 per month for access to all Adobe creative apps.

Wix 

Wix is innovative and evolving, and we spotted many fresh grads this year opting for it for their portfolios.

Wix has just introduced Wix Code, which essentially gives complete creative and development control over to the individual or business.

Wix Code will make creating standalone web apps easier for developers, creators and designers who are looking to create an app tailored to their business needs. Using JavaScript,

If offers both front-end design and backend functionality hosted in Wix Cloud, as well as advanced features that were previously only available with custom mode.

Wix Code offers a built-in database and support for SEO, opportunity to customise data without needing HTML or CSS – with the idea that attention can be invested in design templates and development instead.

Non-developers can take advantage of databases, data bound UI components and end user custom forms and input controls with an easy drag-and-drop method.

The Wix Code Beta is now accepting further applications. Apply here to join the Wix Code Beta, or watch the intro video below.

Wix is free, but premium plans offer more storage, bandwidth, no ads (ahh, sweet silence) and more. Though it caters to anyone who wants to build a website (and that is pretty much everyone), it keeps designers in mind as a target audience.  

Although Wix offers a free service with 500 MB storage to play with, there are a number of premium options.

The most popular premium plan starts at £7.76/US$10 per month, offering unlimited bandwidth and 10GB storage.

Fabrik

Although new to the scene, Fabrik is designed specifically for creatives to showcase their best work, as it was curated from London’s film and design industries.

In its early stages, it created portfolio sites for production companies such as Absolute Post and Academy, and has since attracted thousands of projects by designers, illustrators, studios and filmmakers. 

With Fabrik you can choose from more than 9000 possible layout combinations across different themes (and you can change these as often as you wish without effecting your work). The themes have been tailored to different professions, so themes for designers for example will be different to illustrators. These each have eight different one-click colour swatch options to help you get started. 

Use a free trial for 14 days, or choose from either personal (£6.25/US$8.16), professional (£7.92/US$10.34) or unlimited (£15/US$19.58) monthly or yearly packages.

FolioLink

A live tech support team is just one of the benefits of using FolioLink to build an online portfolio. The service includes a wide range of customisable website designs for you to display your projects. There are options for video integration and website migration.

And FolioLink has an in-built editor to create custom thumbnails and batch tools. In terms of promotion, the product allows for increased search engine optimisation (SEO), mobile optimisation and blog features.

Pricing starts at US$15 per month.

Weebly

Weebly was founded by three college friends who wanted to make it easier to display and promote their work online. Today their site has a plethora of features that make it a top choice for building a slick portfolio.

The SEO functionalities mean better rankings and visibility while the in-built marketing tools make it a popular solution for eCommerce and design customers alike. The platform offers an easy-to-use drag and drop feature and unlimited storage, depending on your package.

The basic package is free with the premium bundle priced at €23 per month.

Viewbook

Since its inception in 2009, Viewbook has been a popular choice for photographers looking to showcase their work. Viewbook allows unlimited image uploads and a highly customised user experience. The site can show a live view of your page while in edit mode, to give fuller picture of changes made.

There are a number of different galleries and formats to choose from with each image hosted on the Viewbook cloud. Other features include dedicated support, password protected pages and fast loading times.

Pricing is competitive – a free trial for new customers, with US$16 per month thereafter.

SmugMug

SmugMug is a site that combines the showcasing, sharing and selling of photos and imagery. Upload unlimited images and videos and choose from a wide range of design templates – thankfully no need for coding.

Customise your portfolio by adding your own logo and watermarks to your work. Further tailor your site by adding your own fonts, colour palettes and brand images. There’s also security features such as password protection to keep your information safe.

The basic package begins at US$3.99 per month with the business package priced at $25 per month.

Squarespace 

Squarespace is known for its beautiful templates that will help to get you started with a more professional aesthetic to Behance or Adobe Portfolio. 

As well as providing you with the tools to create a website, with Squarespace you can track your audience and grow your social media following. Learn about all its features here.

Along with the responsive, sleek templates, the set of free Typekit fonts and a curated set of Google fonts means that there is a huge choice of fonts. Find out more about its features.

Squarespace offers both a personal plan and a more expensive version for businesses. Though it’s slightly pricier than its competitors, it’s geared more towards pros and is incredibly polished.

Squarespace for personal use is £9.23/US$12 per month and for businesses its £13.84/$18 per month.

Portfoliobox 

Designed specifically for creatives, Portfoliobox is well set up for galleries, blogs, e-commerce, gorgeous profiles and more. It is easy to navigate for those focusing on the visuals,and has some truly beautiful portfolios to prove it. 

Create and edit ay type of content with no coding needed, and a free domain is included. Design your own templates and layout and include free web hosting. Portfoliobox has no overall theme that restricts your design – create as many pages of any type as you need.

Portfoliobox is free with restricted hosting of images, products and pages, or use Pro for £5.31/US$6.90 per month.

Cargo 

Cargo is simple, effective and shows off some truly great work – and it’s recently updated with all new features. 

Creating a site with Cargo 2 allows for a collection of pages, which can be edited or composed just like composing an email or working on Google Docs. This makes it a whole lot easier to drag and drop files in. There are also design tabs for your site’s universal design settings and for each page. You can also try out a selection of premium typography from Webtype, Type Network and Google Fonts, new internal linking features and backdrops.

Due to the application process to get an account, its members’ work is high-quality and there is a great community attached. With its unobtrusive, swish templates, you work will look even better on its site. Unfortunately, though, portfolio customization is limited.

Applying – and getting – a Cargo account gets you a free basic service, which offers 12 projects and 3 pages. Unless you run a dainty portfolio, you’ll soon want to upgrade for unlimited projects and pages. 

To access additional features Cargo offers site upgrades at £50.75/US$66 per year or $9 per month per site.

Format

Format has dynamic, beautifully responsive themes (especially with mobile) Format has a dizzying range of pricing plans from personal (100 images) all the way up to unlimited (which, unsurprisingly, offers unlimited images – and custom HTML & CSS editing). If you’re unsure, try a free trial

Format is good for the code-fluent and code-averse alike, with the option to customize code or use built-in tools to change your page. It also syncs beautifully with Adobe Lightroom through a plug-in. 

From around £4.15/$USD6 per month (personal). Up to around £30.42/$USD44 per month (unlimited). 

Carbonmade 

Carbonmade’s website may not be the most sleek or aesthetically pleasing at first site, but we were thoroughly impressed with their beautiful themes. As they describe it, “our gorgeous themes are so nice you’ll think they’re Canadian.

Being a part of Carbonmade looks a whole lot of fun.Created for designers, Carbonmade benefits from being tailored rather than a general website-building platform – with featured artist examples, as well as gorgeous visual-based themes.

You can start with the 'Okay' project for £4.6/US$6 per month, but there’s an option for the 'new professional' at £9.23/US$12 per month, and the 'Laser Whale' option for the experienced pro, at £13.84/US$18 per month.


Image: iStock

Moonfruit 

Moonfruit has some pretty cool, stylish and flexible template designs. Its blank canvas editor leaves room for creativity, but also space for irritating misalignments – which blank canvas editors on competitors like Wix don’t suffer from.

Moonfruit offers everything from Google fonts to background animated effects and SEO-focused analytics. Endorsed by The Telegraph and The Guardian among others, Moonfruit boasts to be a quick way to create a beautiful website. 

After a 14-day free trial, you can start for as little £3.99/US$5.20 per month with 500MB storage, or skip to the professional £8.99/US$6.90 per month.

Dribbble 

Dribbble is a first and foremost a design community where all sorts of creative types share their work. It’s a great place to explore, learn and, of course, show off. The format is ‘shots’ – small screenshots of designs – so you might want another main portfolio site as well as Dribbble.

But Dribbble is a great side-portfolio to build connections, see others’ work and learn. Along with Behance – and, of course Digital Arts – Dribbble is one of the best places for inspiration on the internet.

If you sign up to the pro plan, you can chat more to designers, find designers for hire and organize your favourite designers in a list.

There is a free basic account, or there’s Pro where you can find and hire designers (£27.68/US$36 per year), and then there’s Team (£114/US$149 per year), where teams can immediately upload their work on Dribbble.

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