A special amount of thought and deliberation goes into a designer’s portfolio website. In many ways it is the hardest project of all, since you yourself are the client. As a result, portfolio sites represent some of the most incredible examples of modern web design, and as such are often the best place to look in considering the latest and best web design trends.

In this article, we will be analysing some of the best new portfolio website designs and looking at the common trends between them which look set to continue throughout the rest of 2017.

Decorative elements and iconography

Sites like Thoughtbot’s portfolio are making abundant use of decorative elements, particularly in the hero section of the website. These illustrative details, which are often cut off at the browser edges, convey a great sense of the overall brand message and light-heartedness throughout the design, and make use of space that would otherwise be unutilised. In this respect, the trend has a lot of upside and does not take away from the usability, nor extend the height of the website.

Cinematic hero sections

Large cinematic hero sections are becoming more and more prominent in portfolio websites. The section is often developed to conform to the browser width and height, producing an enticing and highly visual experience in the first instance of visiting the website.

It is especially effective for designer and agency portfolio websites where past work and video content can be displayed in an appealing and dramatic fashion.

Overlapping elements


Overlapping elements first came to fruition as a result of the brutalist design trend. First made truly popular by VSCO, overlapping elements add a unique layout and certain effectiveness when combined with appropriate imagery. The design trend is sporadic in its nature, but adds much visual interest to what would otherwise be a very understated website design.

Brand illustrations


Illustrations have become almost a necessity for any portfolio or agency website. Their ability to convey a message and overall atmosphere is difficult to reproduce in any other medium. The illustrations can carry branding right through the design, and add much visual interest and uniqueness to a website.

Mono typography


Mono fonts, such as Roboto Mono, are becoming exceedingly popular. Their unique monospace form contrasts excellently with clean lines and imagery and can contribute to a highly effective and content-focused layout such as above.

The retro typography is reminiscent of early computers and offers great contrast to the modern elements such as device mockups that are included in many of today’s website designs.



Brutalism in general, specifically elements such as typography, is finding itself implemented into portfolios across the design industry. Many designers tend to use just one or two aspects of the trend, which includes using bright tones, emphatic typography, randomised layouts, and clean shapes, amongst other things.

The addition of such aspects from the brutalism trend can lead to some unique and visually appealing effects such as above.

Minimal typography


A minimal inclusion of typography is now often seen in portfolio websites. This direction allows greater focus on imagery and serves to not overwhelm the visitor with information. It maintains a clear and concise delivery of information and often uses just one font, as opposed to two or three as is often so typical in web design.

This minimal typography trend makes the website extremely impactful, as well as accessible.

Resume-style designs


The final trend is the design of portfolios to mimic resumes. This very minimal use of visual elements and lack of any superfluous design elements, casts the focus entirely on the content at hand. Therefore, it is particularly appropriate for designers who have a more technical background, or would rather cast focus on accomplishments or design-thinking, than a visual representation of their work.

The muted background color adds a ‘paper’ feel to the design and reduces the intense contrast that true white can produce on digital displays.

More tips and resources for your perfect portfolio site: 

Browse all portfolio templates on Themeforest

The post Top portfolio site trends for modern web designers appeared first on Envato.

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