I work with hundreds of freelance designers every day on my blog and online community. And, I have to be honest, it’s scary just how often I hear something like this:
“I want to reach out to new clients, but my site’s just not ready.”
So today, I’d like to offer a few stellar examples of designers using the new .design domain extension to showcase their work. Some of the examples are extremely simple—in a good way—proving you don’t have to spend months redesigning (or designing for the first time) your portfolio site.
After highlighting a few great examples of just what you can do with a quality .design domain, I’ll quickly share some of my best tips for making the most of your design portfolio site.
Jump to my top tips for converting portfolio site visitors into paying clients.
Without further ado, here are 7 designers & agencies using their .design domain to boost profits & grow their business.
Designer Name: Kayla Bowmaster
Specialty: Graphic & UX Design
Kayla Bowmaster is a talented designer and artist. After years of filling up coloring books and making macaroni art as a child, Kayla moved into painting in her teen years. She then studied fine art as a college student and was eventually intrigued by graphic and UX design in her adulthood.
Kayla’s site is an elegant yet fun portfolio for her best work. Her selection of highlighted projects show a broad range of her skills from digital UX design to illustration and creative graphic design.
Kayla’s diamond-shaped portfolio thumbnails (below) add just the right amount of fun while maintaining the perfect amount of professionalism.
2. Sherry Ma
Designer Name: Sherry Ma
Specialty: Graphic Design
Sherry Ma, as she puts it on her over-the-top and extremely creative website, is “a graphic designer based on Earth.”
Like Kayla (featured above), Sherry is an artist whose skills expand far beyond just graphic design. In addition to her passion for graphics, Sherry explores ceramics, floral design, and interior design.
Sherry’s site is used as a clean, professional, attention-grabbing portfolio where she features some very fun client projects.
3. Purpose Drives Design
Designer Name: Darrell Estabrook
Specialty: Designer & Mentor
Darrell Estabrook solves problems and engages people through design. He’s also a mentor who helps designers craft better digital experiences and helps business-people practice creative thinking.
His site is an interactive gem of creativity that’s not overdone but definitely impresses with its extra attention to detail.
Darrel does a great job of showcasing his best work (with a simple-yet-elegant scrolling feature) while also encouraging visitors to take action by reading his thought-provoking work on Medium.
4. Monsoon Design Agency
Designer Names: Caleb Monroe & Travis Gibson
Specialty: Web Design, Branding, Marketing
Monsoon Design Agency is a multi–disciplined design and marketing company founded in Texas.
Run primarily by two guys, this small firm delivers quality web development, branding, and marketing services to their clients.
The agency does a great job to sell their services without overselling. They feature some breathtaking branding and web development work in their portfolio section and do a nice job of encouraging you to continue scrolling to learn more and eventually contact them.
5. Joanne Mac
Designer Name: Joanne Mac
Specialty: Visual Designer
Joanne Mac is a recently graduated designer who, at least for now, is “taking a bit of a break, going with the flow and currently searching for full-time opportunities.”
Her beautifully monogrammed website is a stylish and enticing setting in which she helps visitors get to know her style and dive deeper into her work.
It houses an impressive portfolio as well as some intriguing passion projects all of which show she’s got the chops to be hired by any number of design firms or build a solo career at any point.
6. Faizan Anjum Design
Designer Name: Faizan Anjum
Specialty: Branding & Logo Design
Faizan Anjum is a process-driven designer who enjoys solving real-world problems using his design talent.
His site not only features some superb design work, but also has a section for creative experiments which are extremely fun.
7. Kelly Miles Design
Designer Name: Kelly Miles
Specialty: Graphic Design
The extremely brief yet perfect “about” section for Kelly Miles’ site made me chuckle. It reads: “I used to be a guitarist in a metal band but now I do something my parents can tell their friends about.”
All jokes aside, though, Kelly has some real talent as is evidenced by his broad-ranging portfolio. His site includes simple case studies of illustration, ux/app design, graphic design, and web design.
Got a Site to Share?
Have you built a pretty spectacular website on a .design domain? If so, I’d love to see it. Leave a link in the comments and show off your stellar work!
And if you’re still hungry for more inspiration, check out this post of inspiring graphic design portfolio sites.
A Few Tips For Making The Most of Your Design Portfolio Site
As promised, before I wrap up today, I want to share some of my top tips for making the most of your design portfolio site.
My advice comes from years of working closely with freelance designers on my blog and online community—and from coaching freelance designers on ways to improve their portfolio to ultimately attract, retain, and convert more clients.
Designers who understand these critical tips save hours searching even the best freelance jobs sites and, instead, find new clients discover them and ultimately reach out to hire them.
1. Your portfolio isn’t a place to show off
First, your portfolio isn’t just a place to show stunning pictures of your previous work. It’s a place to convince site visitors to become paying clients.
Every decision you make should be governed by that important truth.
2. Case studies should focus on client results
As in my first piece of advice, when highlighting case studies on your site, keep them simple and sales focused.
The point of a case study is not to show how great of a designer you are, but how great you are at helping clients reach their business goals.
3. Every page should have at least one way to contact you
The entire goal of your portfolio site should be to encourage potential clients to contact you. That means that each page should have at least one way to contact you… maybe more.
This can come in the form of contact buttons, listed phone numbers, chat modules, visible email addresses or actual contact forms.
4. Every link that’s not for contacting you is a chance to lose a new client
Every time you link somewhere that doesn’t encourage site visitors to contact you is a chance for them to click away from your site and never return.
That means if you have links in your navigation, header, or footer that take people to behance, twitter, facebook, or instagram (some of the most distracting sites on the internet), you’ll most likely lose your potential clients to distraction.
5. Take your site visitors on a journey
When someone visits your site, your goal should be to send them on a journey toward becoming a new client.
This journey could include getting to know you as a professional and person, learning more about how you can benefit them, exploring your previous work, and should end with an opportunity to take action—preferably contacting you for a quote or further information.
That’s It For Now
For now, that’s all I’ve got. I hope the samples and tips can help you take your design portfolio to the next level.
If you haven’t registered your own custom .design domain name, you really should do that as quickly as possible before someone else snatches up your perfect domain.
In the meantime, keep up the hard work and good luck converting those portfolio site visitors into paying clients that can grow your business and give you projects you truly enjoy.
Preston Lee is a designer & blogger who founded Millo and helps creatives who hate their day jobs start freelancing and grow their business. You can join the conversation in their free facebook group.