Published on 14 May 2020.
Reading time: 4 min.
I love looking at personal / portfolio websites for inspiration. Unlike company or agency websites, personal websites often have a lot more personality and creativity. I’ve been collecting a folder of bookmarks of my favourite ones and wanted to share.
These 16 sites are presented in no particular order.
(If you’re short on time, just check out 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10)
Meagan Fisher (https://owltastic.com/)
Meagan uses two colours throughout to keep the whole site feeling really on-brand. This is paired with a cool space/astrology/astrolabe theme.
I love the subtle rotational animations throughout the site. I also love how simple it all is — it’s a one-pager, where the case studies link out to Medium write-ups and the CTAs scroll to the contact form at the bottom. So clean!
Jay Clark (https://jay-clark.co.uk/)
I recommend Jay’s site to everyone as a master-class in writing a simple case-study. There’s no bs: he focusses concisely on the value he brought to the project and the measurable impact resulting from that. He just dives right in.
From a design perspective, I also love that the middle section of the three has an alternate colour background, which helps break it up from being a long wall of text.
Gabriel Contassot (https://www.gabrielcontassot.com/)
Just opening this site again now, I forgot how damn elegant it is. The copy is also great, it very quickly gives you a sense of what Gabriel is like; he’s a: “French guy with an eye for graphic design and anything digital.” My favourite thing here is the custom cursor, and how it interacts with the pictures and the initials at the top.
Arjun Menon (https://arjun1am.com/)
Arjun has a beautiful site with great typography, and really detailed (but still very readable) case study write-ups. You can tell the site is well-coded too: there’s a ton of cool interactions, including a 3D iPhone, a magnetic cursor and cool loading transitions between thee pages, but it still loads quickly and none of it lags.
Jenny Wen (https://jennywen.ca/)
I love Jenny’s case studies. In particular, the case study about the Dropbox Paper feature Templates is so well-presented.
It takes you on a journey of scoping out the feature at an MVP level, iterating on it and getting feedback, all the way through launch and learnings-after-launch. The user flows and mockups are perfect for following along, and the clean and minimal layout and type helps you stay focussed on the case study.
Paavan (me!) (https://paavandesign.com/)
Ok, I had to sneak my own site into this list! I coded this site from scratch and recently ported it to use Eleventy. I’ll be doing a behind-the-scenes write-up soon which goes through the design, the code, the animated portrait and all the easter eggs. (Try the Konami code!)
Leandro Fernandez (https://leandrofernandez.webflow.io/)
Leo’s site is just, super super clean. It shows how great you can make a site with just black, white, a great sans-serif font (Leo uses Inter) and some emojis sprinkled through. It also shows off how great of a site you can make using Webflow. I love the split-scrolling in the experience section of his about page.
Max Stoiber (https://mxstbr.com/)
Again, Max’s site is incredibly clean. Max works at Gatsby, and has worked on some huge open-source projects. The timeline section for his appearances at conferences is really cool, but the bit I love most (and the reason I found his site) is his blog layout. The way his name elegantly changes to
Josh W. Comeau (https://joshwcomeau.com/)
Josh’s site is another that I found via his blog & his amazing long-form blogposts on different tech topics… And man-oh-man, this site has everything.
He’s got a floating 3D avatar, great little dark mode and sound toggles; the squiggly underlines on the top navigation are great, as are the interactive tooltips and Venn diagrams; there are sparkles and sick emphasis fonts and a non-stop confetti party when you sign up to his mailing list.
It’s all GREAT. It really shows off how to make a fun site with a lot of personality, that is also serious enough to have detailed, intelligent and informative posts about tech topics. I love it.
Brittany Chiang (https://brittanychiang.com/)
Brittany’s site has an amazing dark colour theme — but what I really love about it is the storytelling. By having it as numbered sections (i.e. 1. about me, 2. where I’ve worked, 3. what I’ve built) she takes the reader on a journey about her life and work.
It also has some great interactions: the tabbed section of where she’s worked is real nice, and all the colour overlays disappearing on hover are great.
Jordan Joseph (https://jordanjoseph.co/)
Jordan’s website is beautiful, and a really great example of what it’s like to have an elegant and luxurious design that is still clean and modern, without defaulting to black and white, sans-serif ‘tech person’ website. Jordan also has really great case studies!
Benoît Grélard (https://benoit.works/)
This is one of those clean minimal ‘tech person’ websites, but I like that Benoît has taken the simple idea of using a tilt to give the whole site a bit of personality. See: the link hover box-shadow styles and the divider lines on the background.
Jordan Singer (https://ibuildmyideas.com/)
Jordan’s site is direct, almost to the point of showing off. Even the URL is straightforward. Having each screenshot in an iPhone-shape instantly tells you these are apps Jordan has made and launched.
Emme Clark (https://www.emmeclark.com/)
Each case study on Emme’s website starts with the same setup: the basics, and the challenge. This makes reading through each case study really satisfying, as she sets the scene really well. I also LOVE her tagline: “Unlike most palindromes, I’m also a product designer.”
Matt Kump (http://kump.co/)
Sometimes, less is more.
Imran Chaudhri (http://imranchaudhri.com/)
Imran did 20+ years at Apple and has now founded the design company Humane. This one is baller. I won’t spoil it; go check it out.
Thanks for reading!
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