Portfolio Projects for an Aspiring Web Designer

Web designer creating a responsive website layout to include in his portfolio
••• Westend61 / Getty Images

As a web designer, you’ve learned enough to start coding like a pro. Your next step is probably to get hired. If you don’t have any professional experience yet, it may seem difficult to build a portfolio that showcases your talents. Don't worry too much, because there are many things you can add to your portfolio that you probably have made already or can build in almost no time.

What to Include in a Web Designer Portfolio?

One of the best ways to show your skills as a web designer is to create a portfolio. This collection can be made of work that you have completed during university courses and anything you built as a volunteer or intern. However, be sure to get the go-ahead to use anything you make for a company before including it in the portfolio. Testimonies from clients go a long way in selling you to others.

You might include an interactive resume that allows hiring managers to see how you set up site navigation. Include visuals and graphics, as well as a link to your blog, embedded videos, CSS feeds, and animation. Try to match your style to that of the company to which you want to apply.

A case study of a competitor's website might be just the thing to show the hiring manager you understand the industry.

The Ideal Website

A simple project to start off with is to construct what your idea of an ideal website design would look like. This hypothetical company gives you the chance to showcase all of the range you have in one project. Sometimes this project could be considered your entire portfolio website design.

There are many online resources that collect great portfolios so you can channel some inspiration. Feel free to explore and be creative. But be sure not to confuse things you see with the message you’re trying to convey.

The goal is to be accessible and unique, not confusing.

Redesign an Existing Template

Take a popular site and redesign it. You could even do this for a target company to which you hope to apply. It’s something you may have to do when you get a job, so you might as well start with it in your portfolio. 

This can demonstrate your range as a website designer as well as your ability to modify an existing idea to improve it for user consumption. Also, there are tons of different options you can choose from for your redesign.

Deepina Kapila, director of product, tech strategy, and enablement at Visa writes:

“I once interviewed a self-taught developer who learned to code over the summer and had redesigned the New York Times website on his portfolio. It was amazing. He thought through every detail – how it looked on tablets and mobile phones, what the app experience was like, how comments and threading worked in his solution and lots more. It was the only project in his portfolio – but of course it was so thorough and thoughtfully presented, it was all he needed to get the job.”

The other bonus to this project is that if you redesign a company's site, you may be able to approach the business later and sell the design. Or pick up a new job. It’s a win-win.

Clone a Popular Site

Some online coding courses have a project that requires you to clone an existing website. It’s a great learning tool and not a bad thing to include in your portfolio. It may seem cliche and boring, but it’s a good learning experience. Moreover, it demonstrates that you’re capable of building something just as good as the site you cloned.

Build a Small UI Piece

A small UI feature, like a ", contact us” form or a slideshow, is just as good as a website. It shows that you’re able to handle small projects as well as large ones. Using a service like Codepen or GitHub makes it simple to show viewers how you accomplished what you did.


While these four projects are great examples of what you can include in your portfolio, don’t limit yourself to just these. Use your instincts and remember to tailor the portfolio you’re making for what you want to accomplish, full-time employment, freelancing, or being a consultant.