It’s that time of the year when people all round the world gather in their homes, with their loved ones. They sing songs, consume beverages both warm and cold, and tell stories of the greatest portfolio sites they’ve ever seen. Then Jeffrey Zeldman comes down the chimney, hauling a bag full of books on usability.
How great would that be, if it were true?
This month’s theme is, if anything, the French. Well, a few of this month’s sites are French, anyway. Besides that, I’m seeing an upturn in the number of sites that divide the design in vertical halves, at least on the home page. Enjoy!
I wasn’t kidding about the French. Our first entry is from David Robert, a French designer with a penchant for monochrome designs paired with minimalism. Okay, we’ve seen a lot of that lately, but it’s done well here, and the layout is atypical.
Plus, I kinda love the little “film-blur” effect applied to some text on hover. It’s kind of classic and grunge at the same time. Oh go look, it works.
Playful has yet another site that’s more presentation than site. They live up to their name, though, with lots of vibrant color and subtle animation.
The one thing I’d criticize is the way text is placed over images. It makes the text less-than-readable. You can steal good ideas from the rest of the site, though.
Christopher Hall is an interior and furniture designer. His site brings us some more of that “split-down-the-middle” design. In this case, it’s a form of categorization. His furniture is on the left, and his interiors are on the right.
Other pages stick with the two-column layout, if not the dimensions, tying the whole design together. From there on out, it’s all minimalist, serif-heavy goodness.
ueno combines beautifully-executed minimalism with a timeline layout for the portfolio. This is one you’ll be looking at just for the typography.
Made Together starts off with a lot of solid blue, and some geometric shapes. This is almost a design style in its own right, these days.
From there, the site moves on to a familiar layout. The typography is eye-catching and feels perfect for the style of the site overall.
blackballoon gives us a proper dark website design. This is one of those sites that doesn’t make you worry about mundane things like “text” or “reading” very much. It’s all about the imagery, the animation, and the sheer sense of style. It works, too.
Standard is a video production studio that, as you may expect, depends on background video to start off their showcase. From there, you can browse through their videos, or through their rather massive list of directors. Take a look at this section especially,it’s quite stylish.
It’s got that now-typical presentation feel to it, but given the content, it works rather well.
Zengularity doesn’t do anything particularly out of the box, but everything is done quite well. Look at it for color ideas, typography, and general style.
Lundgren+Lindqvist is one of those sties where you might feel like you’ve seen this before, but it’s still definitely “theirs”. It walks the line between minimalist and brutalist, with the occasional pixel-graphics touch.
I think I’m going to start calling this “low-fi minimalism”. I kind of like it.
Adam Widmanksi’s portfolio takes us far away from brutalism to deliver some of that post-modern minimalism that was all the rage earlier this year. Combining this with distinctive typography, striking images, and asymmetry, it’s a visual feast.
B14 put a lot of thought, time, and effort into this modern design. But whatever impression they intended to make has been overshadowed by what may be the single greatest compliment my fianceé has ever given to a website: “Well, my grandma could read those letters.”
After that, I can’t bring myself to put in any other description. Usability is what it’s all about, people.
Some websites go for a collage-like feel in their design. Nicolas Paries’ portfolio site almost feels like it’s an actual scrapbook. While that does make for reduced text legibility sometimes, it’s a refreshingly chaotic site experience. And yet, it’s still pretty usable.
Colin Simpson uses the now-classic single-column, full-width style of portfolio. What he does to stand out is make great use of skewed perspectives to show off his design work. Inside his case studies, he lays out the individual design elements in each project: the color palette, the typography, any custom elements, and even wireframes.
It gives you a lot of context for each project, and a few clues about how he works.
Daru Sim uses a card-style UI to show off his portfolio in a masonry layout. When you consider just how well-suited a card-style UI is to a portfolio, I do kind of wonder why people don’t use it more.
João Amaro da Costa
João Amaro da Costa brings us a minimalist layout that manages to be responsive while still proving that “pixel-perfect” quality that everyone used to advertise about five years ago.
It may be flexible, but it is also meticulously executed, and it looks all the better for it.
Design Militia’s site is largely enterprise-looking, which makes sense, given their clients. A simple layout with dependable typography lands this site a spot in the article this month.
Metin Bilgin’s site is a veritable smorgasbord of different styles with no apparent overarching theme. At least when you’re looking at the portfolio, the site’s style seems to change depending on which of his projects you’re looking at.
The rest of the site is minimalist, with the text-overlapping-other-elements style that we’ve all come to know.
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