• Melanie Lang
  • Jul 19, 2013

75 Instructive Design Case Studies

  • 20 min read
  • Inspiration , Web Design , Graphic Design , Case Studies
  • Share on Twitter ,  LinkedIn

About The Author

Former Smashing Editor Melanie completed her degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Otago University, and is now freelancer and part-time politician. … More about Melanie ↬

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Not only are case studies a great way to explain the design process of an agency, but they also help designers and developers to learn from each other. Seeing how designers work, create, build and play is great, and furthermore, you can learn how to write a great case study yourself and how to use one to spice up your portfolio .

In this overview of useful case studies, we’ve featured studies that have recounted decisions made about particular design elements, as well as studies of full overhauls and their accompanying technical challenges. Most of them provide interesting insights into failures and successes , stories, workflows and design decisions made and rejected.

We must admit that this post is quite a long one, so we’ve decided to divide it into two parts to make it easier for you to navigate. Now you should be well prepared for a couple of late reading sessions over the next weekends!

Illustration, Graphics And Logo Design

“ Illustrator Full Spectrum Spirograph ,” Veerle Pieters Pieters talks about her experimentation process with spirographs, inspired by the work of Andy Gilmore.

“ The Design Process of my Infographic About Women Cycling for Grinta! ,” Veerle Pieters Pieters shares her experience of the design process behind the infographic on women’s cycling that she produced for Grinta magazine.

“ A Systematic Approach to Logo Design ,” Adham Dannaway Icon design can be time-consuming. Dannaway shows how to systematically approach a new logo design.

“ (Re)building a Simplified Firefox Logo ,” Sean Martell Learn how Firefox’s logo was simplified to better fit its extended usage beyond a desktop web browser.

“ Five Details ,” Jon Hicks Jon Hicks shares the design process behind the Five Details Logo, including the design and choice of typography.

“ Iconfinder Logo ,” SoftFacade SoftFacade completely reimagined Iconfinder’s existing identity and came up with a shiny and modern robot character. View the detailed design process.

“The Great Gatsby” Like Minded Studio collaborated on the branding of “The Great Gatsby“. The aim was to develop a bespoke Deco styled logo reflective of the roaring 20s and Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. They also created a display typeface to acompany the main branding. Additionally read more about it following this link.

“ Whitney Graphic Identity ,” Experimental Jetset In this case study of the Whitney Museum of Art’s logo, Experimental Jetset discusses the impact that a responsive logo can have on branding.

“My ‘Tour de France’ posters,” Veerle Pieters Pieters created posters for the 100th edition of the Tour of France. She mainly used the French landscape which she had used for the ‘Tour de France Infographic’ as a starting point.

“ Designing Type Systems ,” Peter Bil’ak To create truly useful designs, typographers need to examine not only how characters relate to each other within a style, but also how different styles relate to each other within a family. Peter Bil’ak discusses how to achieve this.

“ Novel Constructions: The Making of a Typeface ,” Christopher Dunst Dunst shares the process behind the creation of the “Novel” typeface.

“ The Development of the Signage Typeface Wayfinding Sans Pro ,” Ralf Herrmann Herrmann describes the development of the Wayfinding Sans Pro, a signage typeface that can be read from a long distance.

“ The Making of FF Tundra ,” Ludwig Übele Übele shares the process behing making the FF Tundra typeface, which was highly inspired by nature.

“ The Making of Magasin ,” Laura Meseguer Meseguer writes how she created Magasin, a typefaces inspired by fluid handwriting.

“Type Study” series, Adobe Typekit Typekit features a whole series of case studies of typography:

  • “ Hi-DPI Web Typography ,” David Demaree
  • “ Typographic Hierarchy ,” Frank Chimero
  • “ Pairing Typefaces ,” Aura Seltzer
  • “ Sizing the Legible Letter ,” Ethan Marcotte
  • “ Stereo-Typography ,” Dan Mall
  • “ Choosing Fallback Fonts ,” Josh Brewer
  • “ Techniques for Using Novelty Fonts ,” Meagan Fisher

“ Social Login Buttons Aren’t Worth It ,” MailChimp Social login buttons are used by many apps today. MailChimp shares its own experience and considerations in using social login buttons.

“Usability in Icons,” Peter Steen Høgenhaug Icons are used to illustrate a particular function, anything from information to actions. This article explains what needs to be considered when designing them.

“iOS Icon Design: A Designer’s Exploration,” iOS icon design is not only difficult, but requires a lot of experimentation. David Killoy shares his experience of designing the icon for his note-taking app Notorious.

“ The Making of Octicons ,” GitHub Octicons is a icon font made by GitHub. Five designers collaborated on the project, and they share how they built Octicons and what they learned along the way.

“ Designing Facebook Home ,” Julie Zhuo On May 8th, the designers behind Facebook Home (Justin Stahl, Francis Luu, Joey Flynn and Mac Tyler) presented a behind-the-scenes look at their work at the Bluxome Street Winery for a small crowd.

Advertising, Promotion And E-Commerce

“ How to Make Your Own App Promo Cards ,” Mike Swanson Swanson was inspired by Starbuck’s promo cards for giving away free apps and decided to make his own for an upcoming event. Learn how you can do one, too!

“ The Art of Launching an App ,” John Casey You’ve made your first app! Now what? This study covers some tactics and lessons learned during one process of launching an app.

“ How to Launch Anything ,” Nathan Barry Barry has launched five products in fewer than nine months. Read about the strategy that helped him generate over $200,000 in revenue from online products, starting from scratch.

“ Selling My E-Book on Amazon ,” Jonathan Snook Several people predicted that 2013 would be the year of self-publishing. Snook shares insight into his eBook sales on Amazon.

“ Increase Online Sales on Your Ecommerce Website ,” Headscape increased sales on Wiltshire Farmfoods’ e-commerce website by over 10,000% in only five years. What makes it even more special, the target audience is over 50 years old. Paul Boag shares his experience.

“ Twitter Promoted Tweets ,” MailChimp MailChimp has made use of Twitter’s promoted tweets and shares insight into this experience.

Redesigning Elements And Features

“ Visual Exploration Behind Signal vs. Noise ,” Mig Reyes 37signals share the process behind making its blog special. This study is about how the company visualized noise and styled its blog categories in a unique way.

“ Reinventing Our Default Profile Pictures ,” Jamie Jamie talks about the process of finding the right default profile pictures for the 37signals website. It’s a great new approach to a very basic element.

“ Login Screen Design: Behind the Scenes ,” Simon Tabor Good UX is not just about the main content, but also about little details such as log-in (and error) pages. GoSquared shares how it made its log-in experience exceptional.

“ Save for Later ,” Brian Groudan All browsers support two functions: searching and revisiting. Groudan worked closely with Mozilla’s user experience researchers and designers to rethink how Firefox could better offer “saving for later” functionality in the browser.

“A Closer Look at Zoom,” FiftyThree FiftyThree shares the design process behind the new zoom feature in its Paper app.

“Reinventing the Investment Calculator ,” Alex Bendiken Drawing from the book Money for Something , Alex Bendiken built a tool that lets users experiment and create a unique investment plan. It’s a UX study in turning a boring financial calculator into something you’d actually want to use.

“ Getting Down to Business ,” Teenhan+Lax The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper of record. It serves millions of readers everyday with in-depth journalism and informed comment. Learn how Teenhan+Lax helped refresh and enrich the way users experience and engage with the news today.

“ Olympics: User Experience and Design ,” Nick Haley Nick Haley shares the BBC’s design process of delivering the Olympics across desktop, tablet, mobile and connected TV.

“ How We Built the Responsive Olympics Site ,” Matt Clark Matt Clark writes about MSN UK’s approach to delivering the Olympics digitally, from the brief to the finished design.

“ The Anatomy Of A Successful Logo Redesign ,” Belinda Lanks Lanks summarizes how Jessica Hische had freshened up the new logo for MailChimp with a slight facelift. The new logo now looks new and fresh — more refined but just as playful.

“ What I Want Out of Facebook ,” Keenan Cummings Cummings explains why Facebook fails him and what he wants to get out of it that would make it useful for his personal life.

“ In Praise of Lost Time ,” Dan Hill Dan Hill talks about Facebook’s Timeline as an exemplary bit of interaction design that does little to advance the timeline formally. Yet it might alter the nature of human memory itself.

“Designing the new, fully responsive Wired.co.uk article pages,” Javier Ghaemi This article is about redesigning the Wired.co.uk article website to provide a more content-first and immersive experience.

Complete (Re)branding And (Re)design

“How to Approach a Responsive Design,” Tito Bottitta This article shows the design process behind The Boston Globe’s website, one of the most famous examples of responsive designs. Read about how Upstatement approached its first responsive design.

“Responsive Design Case Study,” Matt Berridge This case study outlines the entire process of constructing the South Tees Hospitals’ website, a large responsive design containing over a thousand pages.

“ Rebuilding a University Homepage to Be Responsive. Twice. In Less Than a Year ,” Erik Runyon This slideshow discusses how and why Notre Dame University’s home page was rebuilt twice in less than a year. You will find a recording of the talk below the slides.

“Yes, You Really Can Make Complex Web Apps Responsive,” Daniel Wearne Wearne shares his experience in creating Adioso’s web app, a complex yet accessible project. He covers the framework, responsive mixins, tables and future challenges.

“Designing a New Playground Brand,” Ryan Bannon This case study shows the design process of Playground’s new brand. It covers the logo, overall website and vector animation process, as well as the core values and personality of the company. The extensive study comes in three parts.

“ How House Parties Helped Us Design Potluck ,” Cemre Güngör The team at Potluck describes how it took inspiration from reality to design a “house party on the Internet.”

“ Colorado Identity ,” Berger & Föhr Imagine someone hiring you to define your own identity. Berger & Föhr was hired to help create the new identity and visual brand of Colorado, the place they call home. Have a look at the work and logo they came up with.

“ Building the New Financial Times Web App ,” Wilson Page Page talks about building the Financial Times’ new app, a challenge that many on his team believed to be impossible. He covers device support, fixed-height layouts, truncation, modularization, reusable components, Retina support, native-like scrolling, offline support and the topic of ever-evolving apps.

“ Google Treasure Maps ,” Alex Griendling Griendling writes about the design process behind Google Maps’ treasure mode.

“ Find Your Way to Oz ,” HTML5 Rocks This very detailed case study looks at the “Find Your Way to Oz” demo, a Google Chrome experiment by Disney. It covers sprite sheets, Retina support, 3-D content and more.

“ The Making of the Moscow Metro Map 2.0 ,” Art Lebedev Studio This study is about the design process behind the Moscow Metro map, a complex project that needed to meet the requirements of both Web and print.

“ Skinny Ties and Responsive eCommerce ,” Brendan Falkowski Read and learn how GravDept redesigned Skinny Ties’ creative and technical direction to propel shopping on every device.

“ The Design Thinking Behind the New Disney.com ,” Bobby Solomon Solomon shares the process of creating a Disney website that is flexible enough to showcase the widest range of offerings imaginable — in other words, a website that can do everything.

“Say Hello to the New ISO,” Andy Clarke Clarke and David Roessli redesigned the website of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and share their experience.

“ A Responsive Design Case Study ,” David Bushell The redesign of Passenger Focus takes advantage of the Web as an unique medium.

“ BBC News: Responsive Web Design and Mustard ,” Kaelig Deloumeau-Prigent These slides address the core principles and the “cutting the mustard” technique behind the BBC News’ responsive website.

“The Trello Tech Stack,” Brett Kiefer Read the process behind the Trello app, from initial mockup to a solid server and maintainable client.

“ Responsibly Responsive: Developing the Greenbelt Website ,” Rachel Andrew Andrew writes about her front-end design decisions in rebuilding the Greenbelt Festival’s website.

“ The Digital-Physical: On Building Flipboard for iPhone and Finding the Edges of Our Digital Narratives ,” Craig Mod Mod walks through the process of building the Flipboard app for iPhone and of finding the edges of its digital narratives.

“ Page-Flip Effect From 20 Things I Learned ,” Hakim El Hattab This study shows how this team found the best way to achieve the feeling of a real-world book, while leveraging the benefits of the digital realm in areas such as navigation.

“ Six Key Lessons From a Design Legend ,” Kapil Kale The GiftRocket team eventually recruited Mike Kus as a designer. This article shows why that decision took their website to the next level.

“ Breaking The Rules: A UX Case Study ,” Laura Klein Klein shows how she broke all rules to create the great UX for Outright.

“ 7 UX Considerations When Designing Lens Hawk ,” Christian Holst Lens Hawk is a massive DSLR lens database. This article shares seven UX considerations that were made in its design process.

“ The Story of the New Microsoft.com ,” Nishant Kothary Kothary shares his insight into making Microsoft’s new website. Also, check out Trent Walton’s perspective on the redesign .

“Behind the Scenes of the New Kippt,” Gannon Burgett This interview about the work behind the new Kippt app covers the redesign process, the design principles and problems that the team faced, insights into the new era of web app design, and where Kippt will head in the future.

“ Crayola: Free the ‘What If’ ,” Daniel Mall Dan Mall has put together a case study of the creation of the new Crayola application for kids.

“Campus Quad iPhone App,” Soft Facade Soft Facade covers every aspects of the design process behind its Campus Quad app.

“How to Make a Vesper: Design,” Vesper Learn how the Vesper app was designed and made.

“ Betting on a Fully Responsive Web Application ,” 14islands Read about how 14islands took the web app for Kambi, a sports-betting service, to the next level.

“AMMO Rack App Design Critique,” Alexander Komarov An interesting study of the feedback process that improved the AMMO Rack app.

“ Walking Through the Design Process ,” Ian Storm Taylor Taylor walks you through the design process of Segment.io, including the progression of mockups in Photoshop.

“ Music Video ‘Lights’: The Latest WebGL Sensation ,” Carlos Ulloa Interactive studio HelloEnjoy built a mind-blowing 3-D music video for Ellie Goulding’s song “Lights.” Creative director Carlos Ulloa explains why the team chose WebGL and how it created various immersive graphic effects.

“Designing for Designers,” Kyle Meyer Designing for other designers is different than working for regular clients. Kyle Meyer shares his experience.

“ Adapting to a Responsive Design ,” Matt Gibson Cyber-Duck abandoned its separate mobile website and created a new responsive design.

“ Grids, Flexibility and Responsiveness ,” Laura Kalbag Kalbag shares her thoughts on the redesign of her own website, including her choice of typefaces.

“ Making of Typespiration ,” Rafal Tomal Rafal Tomal built Typespiration as a side project. Learn about the process from initial idea to finished WordPress website.

“ Case Studies ,” Fi Design firm Fi has integrated case studies into its portfolio. The studies are very interactive and beautifully designed. Here are four of them:

  • “Is This The Future of The Airline Website?”
  • “The Story of Ramayana: Brought to Life by Google Chrome”
  • “Sony: Connected World”
  • “USAToday.com: Redesigning One of America’s Most Popular News Sites”

Content And Storytelling

“ Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting ,” Nathan Barry The process of writing great copy for a landing page is covered step by step.

“ The Art Of Storytelling Around An App ,” John Casey This case study is about the art of storytelling in the app “The House That Went on Strike.”

“Rethinking the Case Study,” Christopher Butler Butler explains what case studies are for and what a great one looks like, and he lays out a practical plan for writing one.

“ Retiring The Portfolio Screenshot ,” James Young You’ve probably noticed that portfolios nowadays are packed with detailed analysis, rather than screenshots. Take yours to the next level and learn how to create an amazing portfolio (such as the ones featured in this post).

“Responsibly Leveraging Advanced Web Features,” Ryan Heap Heap tells us about his full responsive redesign of Travois, a consulting firm focused on housing and economic development. The study includes topics such as progressive enhancement, responsive and responsible Web design, SVG, and the HTML5 History API.

“ My Notes on Writing an E-Book ,” Jonathan Snook Several people have suggested that 2013 is the year of self-publishing. Jonathan Snook shares his process of writing and digital publishing.

Technical Challenges And Solutions

“ Beating Borders: The Bane of Responsive Layout ,” Joshua Johnson Responsive design often requires setting widths in percentages. This is easy enough, until borders are thrown into the mix.

“ How We Improved Page Speed by Cleaning CSS, HTML and Images ,” Lara Swanson Page-loading time is a big part of the user experience. Dyn shows how it improved it simply by cleaning up the CSS, HTML and images.

“ Mein Honig – Brand Identity ,” Thomas Lichtblau “My Honey makes people and bees happy. And if they are happy, nature is happy too.” This simple yet beautiful statement belongs to Mein Honig (My Honey), a personal project of Thomas Lichtblau from Austria. Thomas shares fascinating insights about a production, banding and packaging process in which he only used colorless, organic and traditional tools and materials.

“Front-End Performance Case Study: GitHub,” JP Castro Castro analyzes the front-end performance of GitHub and shares his findings.

“ iPad to Windows Store App ,” Bart Claeys and Qixing Zheng This case study helps designers and developers who are familiar with iOS to reimagine their apps using design principles for Windows Store apps. Translate common UI and UX patterns found in iPad apps to Windows 8 apps.

“ Behind the Scenes of Mad Manimation ,” Anthony Calzadilla Here is the process behing the Mad Manimation, an HTML- and CSS-based animation of the introduction to the Mad Men TV show.

“ Embedding Canvas and SVG Charts in Emails ,” Thomas Fuchs Learn how to use embedded canvas and SVG charts in email.

“ Scaling Pinterest From 0 to 10s of Billions of Page Views a Month in Two Years ,” Todd Hoff This case study traces the evolution of Pinterest’s architecture, which was scaling fast, with a lot of incorrect choices made along the way

“ How We Built a Photoshop Extension With HTML, CSS and JS ,” Brian Reavis Creative Market’s extension is a Backbone.js Web app that lives inside of Photoshop. The team can update it without the user having to install an update. How does that work? Read up on it!

“ Batch Processing Millions and Millions of Images ,” Mike Brittain Etsy wanted to redesign a few of its major sections and had to rescale over 135 million images in order to do it.

“ Making 100,000 Stars ,” Michael Chang Chang writes about 100,000 Stars, an experience for Chrome that was built with Three.js and CSS3D.

“ Mastering the Application Cache Manifest for Offline Web Apps and Performance ,” Julien Nicault Nicault, who work on Cinémur, a new social film app, describes how to use AppCache to improve performance and enable offline usage of Web apps

“ Harvey: A Second Face for Your JavaScript ,” Joschka Kintscher Responsive design often requires drastic UI changes. This study shows how to execute parts of your JavaScript depending on the device’s type and screen size.

“ Our First Node.js App: Backbone on the Client and Server ,” Spike Brehm The team at Airbnb has been curious about Node.js for a long time, but used it only for odds and ends. See how they used it on a production-scale project.

“ Making a 60fps Mobile App ,” Paul Lewis Paul Lewis shows you how to make a mobile app that has 60fps at all times, does one thing really well, has offline support and a flat UI.

“ The Making of the Interactive Treehouse Ad ,” Chris Coyier Treehouse is the primary sponsor of CSS-Tricks, and this case study looks at its interactive ad using jQuery.

“ Improve Mobile Support With Server-Side-Enhanced Responsive Design ,” Jon Arne Sæterås This is an analysis of the process of finding the right mix between server-side and client-side logic for adaptive Web design.

“Designing an Instant Interface,” Luke Wroblewski Wroblewski shows how to design the instant interface used for the real-time views, real-time notifications and real-time comments on Bagcheck’s website.

“ Lessons in Website Security Anti-Patterns by Tesco ,” Troy Hunt Hunt looks closely at the many simple security errors Tesco makes, analyzing how he would apply basic security principles to remedy them.

“ Refactoring >14,000 Lines of CSS Into Sass ,” Eugene Fedorenko Beanstalk is a mature product whose CSS grew accordingly to 5 files, 14,211 lines and 290 KB of code. Learn how the team rebuilt its style sheets into something cleaner and easier to maintain.

“Refinder: Test-Driven Development,” Maciej Pasternacki These slides show how test-driven development enabled Gnowsis to reimplement Refinder’s basic data model.

“Managing JavaScript on Responsive Websites,” Jeremy Fields Jeremy Fields of Viget talks about how to manage JavaScript on a website whose interface and functionality changes at different breakpoints.

“ Trimming the Fat ,” Paul Robert Lloyd Lloyd walks through the performance optimizations he made for his website, trimming the page load from 383 to 100 KB. He also shows graphs.

Workflow And Optimization

“ Visual Design Explorations ,” Paul Lloyd Lloyd of Clearleft talks about how to maintain knowledge-sharing and collaboration on a growing team.

“ The Anatomy of an Experience Map ,” Chris Risdon Experience maps are becoming increasingly useful for gaining insight in order to orchestrate service touch points over time and space. This study explains what they are and how to create them.

“The design process of my infographic for the ‘Tour of France’ for Grinta!,” Veerle Pieters Pieters designed an infographic about the Tour of France, and focused mainly on the question, “What does a pro cycling team take with them to the Tour of France?”

“ Turning Small Projects Into Big Profit ,” Jon Savage and Simon Birky Hartmann Ace of Spade discusses how it overhauled its operations and started making a living off of small projects.

“What We’ve Learned About Responsive Design,” Christopher Butler Butler shares what his agency has learned about responsive design, which is to overcome initial fears and focus on what is important.

“The Modular Canvas: A Pragmatic Workflow for Designing Applications,” by Gabriel O’Flaherty-Chan There are some gaps in the way we work; the bigger the project, the more glaring the gaps become. O’Flaherty-Chan looks at a better workflow for designing apps.

“ How We Reduced Our Cancellation Rate by 87.5% ,” Kareem Mayan Kareem Mayan tackles the issue of user cancellations by using a cohort analysis. Learn how he did it.

“ How I Run a Membership Site ,” Justin Tadlock This study looks at how Theme Hybrid handles memberships after registration and payment.

“Post-Implementation, Pre-Launch: A Crucial Checkpoint,” Mindy Wagner Wagner of Viget discusses how to approach the time of post-implementation and pre-launch, a crucial checkpoint that can create a lot of stress for a team.

“ A New Make Mantra: A Statement of Design Intent ,” Mark Boulton Mark Boulton used the CERN redesign project as an occasion to define a new “make” mantra that would help him tackle projects. This single, actionable sentence would guide him through projects.

“ 100 Conversion Optimization Case Studies ,” KISSmetrics Lots of techniques and tactics to optimize your website for better conversions shared by marketers.

Responsive Design

“ Responsive Design and ROI: Observations From the Coalface ,” Chris Berridge Working on the frontline, Berridge share his insights on responsive design and returns on investment.

“ Making Your Site Responsive: Mastering Real-World Constraints ,” Alex Fedorov Listen to how agency Fresh Tilled Soil addressed real-world constraints, such as resources, time and budget, in its responsive design process.

“ Goals, Constraints, and Concept in a Redesign ,” Steven Bradley Some thoughts on the redesign of Vanseo Design.

“ How a Simple Redesign Increased Customer Feedback by 65% ,” James Santilli Customer feedback is the backbone of many Web services. Campaign Monitor analyzed the process behind a simple redesign that increased customer feedback by 65%.

“ More on Apples: Mobile Optimization in Ecommerce ,” Electric Pulp This study analyzes how both mobile and non-mobile conversions went up when Electric Pulp redesigned a website to be responsive.

“How I’m Implementing Responsive Web Design,” Jeff Croft Croft is finally at the point where responsive design feels worth the extra effort. Read about how he got there.

“ Mentoring: The Evaluation ,” Laura Kalbag Freelancers are often offered projects whose budget is below their rate. Laura Kalbag had a fantastic idea on how to transform these kind of projects into a win-win: She decided to mentor a group of students. Such a project would give the students an opportunity to gain valuable experience and help them transition into freelancing, and the client would get good quality work, despite the modest budget. This series of posts describes her experience, from initial idea to launched project.

Further Reading

  • Showcase of Case Studies in Design Portfolios
  • 15 Impressive Case Studies from Behance
  • Improving Smashing Magazine’s Performance: A Case Study
  • Powerful Workflow Tips, Tools And Tricks For Web Designers

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Blog Graphic Design

15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]

By Alice Corner , Jan 12, 2023

Venngage case study examples

Let me ask you a question: Have you ever bought something — within the last 10 years or so — without reading its reviews or without a recommendation or prior experience of using it?

If the answer is no — or at least, rarely — you get my point.

For businesses selling consumer goods, having raving reviews is a good way to get more customers. The same thing applies to B2B and/or SaaS businesses — but for this type of business, besides regular, short reviews, having a detailed case study can help tremendously.

Case studies are an incredibly effective form of marketing that you can use to help promote your product and plan your marketing strategy effectively. You can also use it as a form of customer analysis or as a sales tool to inspire potential customers.

So what does a case study look like and how can you create one? In this article, I’m going to list over 15 marketing case study examples, case study tips, and case study templates to help you create a case study that converts.

Bold Social Media Business Case Study Template

Click to jump ahead:

  • What is a Case Study?
  • Marketing Case Study Examples

Sales Case Study Examples

Simple case study examples, business case study examples.

  • Case Study FAQs

What is a case study?

A case study is a research method to gain a better understanding of a subject or process. Case studies involve in-depth research into a given subject, in order to understand its functionality and successes.

In the context of a business, however, case studies take customer success stories and explore how they use your product to help them achieve their business goals.

Case Study Definition LinkedIn Post

As well as being valuable marketing tools, case studies are a good way to evaluate your product as it allows you to objectively examine how others are using it.

It’s also a good way to interview your customers about why they work with you.

Related: What is a Case Study? [+6 Types of Case Studies]

What is a marketing case study?

A marketing case study is a type of marketing where you use your existing customers as an example of what your product or services can achieve. You can also create case studies of internal, successful marketing projects.

Here’s an example of a marketing case study template:

marketing case study example

Return to Table of Contents

Marketing case study examples

Marketing case studies are incredibly useful for showing your marketing successes. Every successful marketing campaign relies on influencing a consumer’s behavior, and a great case study can be a great way to spotlight your biggest wins.

In the marketing case study examples below, a variety of designs and techniques to create impactful and effective case studies.

Show off impressive results with a bold marketing case study

Case studies are meant to show off your successes, so make sure you feature your positive results prominently. Using bold and bright colors as well as contrasting shapes, large bold fonts, and simple icons is a great way to highlight your wins.

In well-written case study examples like the one below, the big wins are highlighted on the second page with a bright orange color and are highlighted in circles.

Making the important data stand out is especially important when attracting a prospective customer with marketing case studies.

Light simplebusiness case study template

Use a simple but clear layout in your case study

Using a simple layout in your case study can be incredibly effective, like in the example of a case study below.

Keeping a clean white background, and using slim lines to help separate the sections is an easy way to format your case study.

Making the information clear helps draw attention to the important results, and it helps improve the  accessibility of the design .

Business case study examples like this would sit nicely within a larger report, with a consistent layout throughout.

Modern lead Generaton Business Case Study Template

Use visuals and icons to create an engaging and branded business case study

Nobody wants to read pages and pages of text — and that’s why Venngage wants to help you communicate your ideas visually.

Using icons, graphics, photos, or patterns helps create a much more engaging design. 

With this Blue Cap case study icons, colors, and impactful pattern designs have been used to create an engaging design that catches your eye.

Social Media Business Case Study template

Use a monochromatic color palette to create a professional and clean case study

Let your research shine by using a monochromatic and minimalistic color palette.

By sticking to one color, and leaving lots of blank space you can ensure your design doesn’t distract a potential customer from your case study content.

Color combination examples

In this case study on Polygon Media, the design is simple and professional, and the layout allows the prospective customer to follow the flow of information.

The gradient effect on the left-hand column helps break up the white background and adds an interesting visual effect.

Gray Lead Generation Business Case Study Template

Did you know you can generate an accessible color palette with Venngage? Try our free accessible color palette generator today and create a case study that delivers and looks pleasant to the eye:

Venngage's accessible color palette generator

Add long term goals in your case study

When creating a case study it’s a great idea to look at both the short term and the long term goals of the company to gain the best understanding possible of the insights they provide.

Short-term goals will be what the company or person hopes to achieve in the next few months, and long-term goals are what the company hopes to achieve in the next few years.

Check out this modern pattern design example of a case study below:

Lead generation business case study template

In this case study example, the short and long-term goals are clearly distinguished by light blue boxes and placed side by side so that they are easy to compare.

Lead generation case study example short term goals

Use a strong introductory paragraph to outline the overall strategy and goals before outlining the specific short-term and long-term goals to help with clarity.

This strategy can also be handy when creating a consulting case study.

Use data to make concrete points about your sales and successes

When conducting any sort of research stats, facts, and figures are like gold dust (aka, really valuable).

Being able to quantify your findings is important to help understand the information fully. Saying sales increased 10% is much more effective than saying sales increased.

In sales case study examples, like this one, the key data and findings can be presented with icons. This contributes to the potential customer’s better understanding of the report.

They can clearly comprehend the information and it shows that the case study has been well researched.

Vibrant Content Marketing Case Study Template

Use emotive, persuasive, or action based language in your marketing case study

Create a compelling case study by using emotive, persuasive and action-based language when customizing your case study template.

Case study example pursuasive language

In this well-written case study example, we can see that phrases such as “Results that Speak Volumes” and “Drive Sales” have been used.

Using persuasive language like you would in a blog post. It helps inspire potential customers to take action now.

Bold Content Marketing Case Study Template

Keep your potential customers in mind when creating a customer case study for marketing

82% of marketers use case studies in their marketing  because it’s such an effective tool to help quickly gain customers’ trust and to showcase the potential of your product.

Why are case studies such an important tool in content marketing?

By writing a case study you’re telling potential customers that they can trust you because you’re showing them that other people do.

Not only that, but if you have a SaaS product, business case studies are a great way to show how other people are effectively using your product in their company.

In this case study, Network is demonstrating how their product has been used by Vortex Co. with great success; instantly showing other potential customers that their tool works and is worth using.

Teal Social Media Business Case Study Template

Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert

Case studies are particularly effective as a sales technique.

A sales case study is like an extended customer testimonial, not only sharing opinions of your product – but showcasing the results you helped your customer achieve.

Make impactful statistics pop in your sales case study

Writing a case study doesn’t mean using text as the only medium for sharing results.

You should use icons to highlight areas of your research that are particularly interesting or relevant, like in this example of a case study:

Coral content marketing case study template.jpg

Icons are a great way to help summarize information quickly and can act as visual cues to help draw the customer’s attention to certain areas of the page.

In some of the business case study examples above, icons are used to represent the impressive areas of growth and are presented in a way that grabs your attention.

Use high contrast shapes and colors to draw attention to key information in your sales case study

Help the key information stand out within your case study by using high contrast shapes and colors.

Use a complementary or contrasting color, or use a shape such as a rectangle or a circle for maximum impact.

Blue case study example case growth

This design has used dark blue rectangles to help separate the information and make it easier to read.

Coupled with icons and strong statistics, this information stands out on the page and is easily digestible and retainable for a potential customer.

Blue Content Marketing Case Study Tempalte

Less is often more, and this is especially true when it comes to creating designs. Whilst you want to create a professional-looking, well-written and design case study – there’s no need to overcomplicate things.

These simple case study examples show that smart clean designs and informative content can be an effective way to showcase your successes.

Use colors and fonts to create a professional-looking case study

Business case studies shouldn’t be boring. In fact, they should be beautifully and professionally designed.

This means the normal rules of design apply. Use fonts, colors, and icons to create an interesting and visually appealing case study.

In this case study example, we can see how multiple fonts have been used to help differentiate between the headers and content, as well as complementary colors and eye-catching icons.

Blue Simple Business Case Study Template

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, business case studies can be a powerful resource to help with your sales, marketing, and even internal departmental awareness.

Business and business management case studies should encompass strategic insights alongside anecdotal and qualitative findings, like in the business case study examples below.

Conduct a B2B case study by researching the company holistically

When it comes to writing a case study, make sure you approach the company holistically and analyze everything from their social media to their sales.

Think about every avenue your product or service has been of use to your case study company, and ask them about the impact this has had on their wider company goals.

Venngage orange marketing case study example

In business case study examples like the one above, we can see that the company has been thought about holistically simply by the use of icons.

By combining social media icons with icons that show in-person communication we know that this is a well-researched and thorough case study.

This case study report example could also be used within an annual or end-of-year report.

Highlight the key takeaway from your marketing case study

To create a compelling case study, identify the key takeaways from your research. Use catchy language to sum up this information in a sentence, and present this sentence at the top of your page.

This is “at a glance” information and it allows people to gain a top-level understanding of the content immediately. 

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template

You can use a large, bold, contrasting font to help this information stand out from the page and provide interest.

Learn  how to choose fonts  effectively with our Venngage guide and once you’ve done that.

Upload your fonts and  brand colors  to Venngage using the  My Brand Kit  tool and see them automatically applied to your designs.

The heading is the ideal place to put the most impactful information, as this is the first thing that people will read.

In this example, the stat of “Increase[d] lead quality by 90%” is used as the header. It makes customers want to read more to find out how exactly lead quality was increased by such a massive amount.

Purple SAAS Business Case Study Template Header

If you’re conducting an in-person interview, you could highlight a direct quote or insight provided by your interview subject.

Pick out a catchy sentence or phrase, or the key piece of information your interview subject provided and use that as a way to draw a potential customer in.

Use charts to visualize data in your business case studies

Charts are an excellent way to visualize data and to bring statistics and information to life. Charts make information easier to understand and to illustrate trends or patterns.

Making charts is even easier with Venngage.

In this consulting case study example, we can see that a chart has been used to demonstrate the difference in lead value within the Lead Elves case study.

Adding a chart here helps break up the information and add visual value to the case study. 

Red SAAS Business Case Study Template

Using charts in your case study can also be useful if you’re creating a project management case study.

You could use a Gantt chart or a project timeline to show how you have managed the project successfully.

event marketing project management gantt chart example

Use direct quotes to build trust in your marketing case study

To add an extra layer of authenticity you can include a direct quote from your customer within your case study.

According to research from Nielsen , 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer and 70% trust recommendations even if they’re from somebody they don’t know.

Case study peer recommendation quote

So if you have a customer or client who can’t stop singing your praises, make sure you get a direct quote from them and include it in your case study.

You can either lift part of the conversation or interview, or you can specifically request a quote. Make sure to ask for permission before using the quote.

Contrast Lead Generation Business Case Study Template

This design uses a bright contrasting speech bubble to show that it includes a direct quote, and helps the quote stand out from the rest of the text.

This will help draw the customer’s attention directly to the quote, in turn influencing them to use your product or service.

Case Study Examples Summary

Once you have created your case study, it’s best practice to update your examples on a regular basis to include up-to-date statistics, data, and information.

You should update your business case study examples often if you are sharing them on your website.

It’s also important that your case study sits within your brand guidelines – find out how Venngage’s My Brand Kit tool can help you create consistently branded case study templates.

Case studies are important marketing tools – but they shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. Content marketing is also a valuable way to earn consumer trust.

Case Study FAQ

Why should you write a case study.

Case studies are an effective marketing technique to engage potential customers and help build trust.

By producing case studies featuring your current clients or customers, you are showcasing how your tool or product can be used. You’re also showing that other people endorse your product.

In addition to being a good way to gather positive testimonials from existing customers , business case studies are good educational resources and can be shared amongst your company or team, and used as a reference for future projects.

How should you write a case study?

To create a great case study, you should think strategically. The first step, before starting your case study research, is to think about what you aim to learn or what you aim to prove.

You might be aiming to learn how a company makes sales or develops a new product. If this is the case, base your questions around this.

You can learn more about writing a case study  from our extensive guide.

Related: How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

Some good questions you could ask would be:

  • Why do you use our tool or service?
  • How often do you use our tool or service?
  • What does the process of using our product look like to you?
  • If our product didn’t exist, what would you be doing instead?
  • What is the number one benefit you’ve found from using our tool?

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Case Study: Nutribite. Tasty Packaging Design for Granola Bars

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Case Study: Dance Festival. Creating a Set of Event Poster Designs

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Case Study: HotelCard. Brand Identity for Hotel Offers Service

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Case Study: Milkimu. Packaging and Marketing Design for Dairy Brand

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Case Study: Physica Magazine. Web Design and Graphics for Scientific Blog

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Case Study: Soaplanet. Soap Brand Packaging Design with Travel Spirit

Artistic graphic design project for a modern soap brand identity and packaging, flexible for various marketing goals and inspired by never-fading travel excitement.

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Case Study: Ready Set Recover. Web Design and Illustrations for Surgery Recovery Platform

Check the creative process for website design and a set of illustrations created for Ready Set Recover, a supportive online program empowering people to prepare for and recover from surgery.

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5 Case Study Examples and Design Tips

graphic design case studies examples

Businesses can promote their own products and services all they want with every marketing strategy out there, but it’s equally important to hear from the customers and clients themselves—that’s where case studies come in. If you're new to the medium or looking for inspiration, we've dedicated this post to sharing the goods on what case studies are, as well as several strong case study examples.

Case studies are an extremely powerful tool that every business needs to leverage. In fact, only 14% of consumers said they trust advertising to be truly honest about their product or service. Consumers are more inclined to trust outside reviews, data, and testimonials.

Of course a business wants to tout how amazing its offerings are, but to hear from a client and learn how that client achieved their goals? Priceless!

What is a case study?

Case studies are a proven and effective marketing strategy that centers both the business and the client, while providing ways that the business went above and beyond and solved the client’s problems. 

In addition to showcasing client quotes and testimonials, case studies dive deeper into the problem-solving process from start to finish, complete with tangible examples. If you thought product and store reviews were helpful, then case studies will be your new best friend! 

Case studies not only uplift the customer— they also influence other potential customers and allow them to imagine how their goals can be achieved. It’s easier to make a bigger decision when you hear from those who have successfully gone through the process themselves, isn’t it? 

Publishing case studies is a win-win for everyone involved. Here are 5 case study examples to get you inspired to find new ways to leverage your brand and uplift your clients at the same time.

5 case study examples and best practice tips

1. web design case study example.

Digital and creative-based agencies or businesses create case studies to showcase their design processes, ideas from start to finish, and the end result in action. If you’re a creative business, consider visualizing your business’s processes while showcasing how happy your client is with the final product. 

graphic design case studies examples

See the full case study here .

Takeaway: highlight key components of project

Balkan Brothers Agency highlighted many key components of their project with DECODE, such as timeline, challenges, solutions, outcomes, and mockups. Not only did they showcase their user-friendly designs, they analyzed the process from pen and paper to web.

2. Software case study example

Many software as a service (SaaS) companies showcase customer stories, or case studies, on their webpages, with an emphasis on encouraging potential clients to contact the business’s sales team and learn more about the business’s offerings.

By highlighting customer studies on your main page or making it easily accessible to find on your site, businesses can create a case study repository within reach.

graphic design case studies examples

See the full Slack/Stripe case study .

Takeaway: encourage potential clients

In Slack’s case study, they highlight key testimonials from the client, break down the case study into digestible sections, and promote a call-to-action to reach out to their sales team or try the software for free. 

Catchy, isn’t it? You’re inspired from a client’s story, and now you’re ready to go try it for yourself today.

3. Visual branding case study example

There’s nothing quite like a well-designed and colorful brand . Visually pleasing branding design has a positive effect on consumers and clients.

When a client is truly satisfied with their end result, their verbal proof is best positioned up front and center. In addition to showcasing any quotes from the client, find a way to promote analytics and data from the project.

graphic design case studies examples

Read the Metalab and Headspace case study.

If you’re in a hurry to create a stunning case study outside of a website page, we’ve got you covered with our free presentation templates and tools. Select your favorite layout, add any quotes, testimonials, or statistics, and bam! You’re ready to go in just a few steps.

graphic design case studies examples

Read the Metalab and Headspace case study .

Takeaway: amplify quotes and analytics

If your case study is content-heavy, it’s best to break down your case study into impactful chunks, such as isolating the testimonial and analytics from other pieces of information. 

Putting your project’s results in the form of numbers not only provides you with stats you can brag about, but it also helps others to see the true results of working with your business. A 69 percent increase in average number of pages per session from working with this company? Count me in!

4. Workflow development case study example

When working with a company, many clients are hoping to overcome their organizational pain points, or challenges.

graphic design case studies examples

Read more about Spotify and Figma .

Whether that client is searching for a redesign of an interface, or a new workflow tool that can speed up their organization’s processes, overcoming those challenges and highlighting how your business solved those challenges can have a tremendous impact on potential clients—especially if potential customers have similar challenges.

Takeaway: highlight challenges and ways to overcome them

When in doubt, highlight the challenges that your client faced before working with your product or service and emphasize how your business overcame them. There’s a huge chance others may have similar challenges that they are eager to solve.

5. Restaurant case study example

Many businesses rely on a strong visual brand to differentiate them from their competitors. If your business offers photography to elevate a client’s brands, create a collection of your designs created just for them—and let the images speak for themselves.

graphic design case studies examples

See the Shutterstock/Blaze Pizza case study .

Alongside the custom photography , highlight the client’s challenges, the solution your business arrived at, and the results of the collaboration. Who knows, maybe a future client will be eager to elevate their own brands with your creative treatment?

Takeaway: imagery can have a huge impact

If you’re a creative services business, promoting the final design or image is crucial to showcasing your style and also giving others a snippet of what you can do for their business.

Let the images you showcase in your case study speak for themselves. You can also supplement each with brief descriptions on the challenges the client faced, the solutions you brought to the table, and the results of your work.

There are many ways to put your client in the spotlight —but also subtly boost your business as well. Case studies represent a gold mine for businesses; interviewing your clients to gain their perspective on your products, services, and processes goes a long way.

Set your business up for success: Learn how to write a business proposal , get inspiration for your next infographic design , and make next-level marketing materials .

Check out all the things you can make for your business:

Alex Clem

Alex Clem is a Dallas-based graphic designer and content marketer. She grew up captivated by the world of color, typography, and print design — and now enjoys writing about the important intersections of design, activism, and sustainability.

Related Articles

All About Process: Dissecting Case Study Portfolios

A portfolio is more than a cache of images, it’s a way to demonstrate design skills and problem solving to clients. We show how to elevate portfolios by explaining the inner workings of a case study.

All About Process: Dissecting Case Study Portfolios

By Adnan Puzic

Adnan is a UI/UX expert with a bold aesthetic and a passion for designing digital products for startups and corporations.

Previously At

Designers have portfolios. It’s a precondition of our profession. We all know we need one, so we get to work assembling images and writing project descriptions. Then, we put our work on the web for all to see, tiny shrines to individual talent and creativity.

It’s a familiar process, a rite of passage, but why do we need portfolios in the first place?

If we’re honest, we must admit that most of our portfolio design decisions are influenced by what other designers are doing. That’s not necessarily bad, but if we don’t understand why portfolios look the way they do, we’re merely imitating.

We may produce dazzling imagery, but we also risk a portfolio experience that’s like strolling through an art gallery. “Look at the pretty pictures…”

Case study portfolio

The number one audience that design portfolios must please? Non-designers.

These are the people who seek our services, the ones working for the businesses and organizations that invest in our problem solving abilities.

Non-designers need more than beauty from a design portfolio; they need clarity and assurance. They need to come away believing in a designer’s expertise, their design process, and ability to solve problems in an efficient manner.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to design a portfolio to meet those needs.

The Advantages of a Case Study

What is a case study?

A case study is a tool that a designer may use to explain his involvement in a design project, whether as a solo designer or part of a team. It is a detailed account, written in the designer’s own voice (first person), that examines the client’s problem, the designer’s role, the problem solving process, and the project’s outcome.

Who can use a case study?

The beauty of the case study framework is that it’s adaptable to multiple design disciplines. It organizes need-to-know information around common categories and questions that are applicable to all kinds of design projects—from UX research to visual identities .

At its core, a case study is a presentation format for communicating the journey from problem to solution. Details within the framework may change, but the momentum is always moving towards clarity and uncovering a project’s most important whats , whys , and hows .

How to design a portfolio

How do case studies benefit designers?

Many clients don’t understand all that goes into the design process. And while they certainly don’t need to know everything , a case study provides a big-picture overview and sets up realistic expectations about what it takes to design an elegant solution.

A case study can also be a handy presentation aide that a designer may use when interviewing a potential client. The format allows a designer to talk about their work and demonstrate their expertise in a natural and logical progression. “Here’s what I did, how it helped, and how I might apply a similar approach with you.”

Are there any drawbacks to using case studies?

Don’t let a case study turn into a ca-a-a-a-a-se study. The whole project should be digestible within 1-2 minutes max. If necessary, provide links to more detailed documents so that interested visitors may explore further.

A lot of design work, especially digital, is created within multidisciplinary teams, so designers need to be clear about their role in a project. Blurring the lines of participation gives clients false expectations.

Many make the mistake of treating portfolios as repositories of all of their past projects, but three to five case studies documenting a designer’s most outstanding work is enough to satisfy the curiosity of most potential clients (who simply don’t have time to mine through everything a designer ever did).

Case studies are professional documents, not tell-all manuscripts, and there are some things that simply shouldn’t be included. Descriptions of difficult working relationships, revelations of company-specific information (i.e., intellectual property), and contentious explanations of rejected ideas ought to be left out.

Advantages of case study

Crafting a Customer-centric Case Study

It’s one thing to know what a case study is and why it’s valuable. It’s an entirely different and more important thing to know how to craft a customer-centric case study. There are essentials that every case study must include if clients are to make sense of what they’re seeing.

What are the core elements of a case study?

Introduce the client.

Present the design problem.

Recap your role.

Share the solution you designed.

Walk through the steps of your design process.

Describe the results.

Note any key learnings.

Wrap it all up with a short conclusion.

How to design a case study

Happily, the core elements also outline a case study presentation format that’s simple, repeatable, and applicable to multiple disciplines. Let’s look closer:

  • Who was the client?
  • What industry are they in?
  • What goods or services do they provide?
  • Keep this section brief.
  • What was the client’s problem?
  • Why was it important that the problem be solved?
  • Are there any additional background tidbits that might be helpful or interesting?

Case study format

  • What, specifically, were you hired to do?
  • What were the constraints? Time. Budgetary. Technological. Etc.
  • Before diving into your process, summarize the solution you designed.
  • Make the summary short but powerful.
  • Don’t give all the good parts away, and don’t be afraid to use language that makes your audience curious about the rest of the project.
  • Go through the various steps of your discipline specific process.
  • Again, summarize what you did, but don’t overload. Find a balance between informational and interesting.
  • If you can, try to make each step introduce a question that only the following step can answer.

Case study methodology

  • Use this section to share a more robust description of the results of your design process.
  • Be direct, avoid jargon, and don’t get too carried away with the amount of text you include.
  • Don’t go overboard here, but if there are interesting things that you learned during the process, include them.
  • If they won’t be helpful for the client, leave them out.
  • Quickly summarize the project, and invite potential customers to contact you.
  • It doesn’t hurt to provide a call to action and a contact link.

*Note: This isn’t the only case study format, just one that works. It’s helpful for people to encounter a predictable framework so they can focus on what they’re looking at as opposed to interpreting an inventive presentation structure.

The Value of Overlooked Details

Want to create a case study with a top notch user experience? Don’t underestimate the value of design details. Design projects are more than problem-meets-solution. They’re deeply human endeavors, and it makes a difference to clients when they see that a designer goes above and beyond in their work.

Share client feedback.

How did the client feel about your working relationship and the solution you provided? When you deliver top-notch work and nurture trust, get client feedback and include it in the case study as a testimonial.

If something you designed blew your client away, weave a testimonial into the case study (along with an image of what you made). This combo is proof positive to potential customers that you can deliver.

Design portfolio content

Explain positive metrics.

Not all design work has direct metrics that prove its success, but if your work does, and the results are impressive, include them. Just make sure that you don’t mislead (easy to do with statistics), and be careful that the metrics make sense to your audience.

Design portfolio format

Show unselected work.

Sometimes, amazing work from the design process doesn’t make it through to the finished product. These unused artifacts are helpful because they show an ability to explore a range of concepts.

Highlight unglamorous design features.

Not every aspect of design is glamorous. Like a pinky finger, small details may seem insignificant but they’re actually indispensable. Highlight these and recap why they matter.

Link to live projects.

It can be highly persuasive for a client to experience your work doing it’s thing out in the real world. Don’t hesitate to include links to live projects. Just make sure that your role in the project is clear, especially when you didn’t design everything you’re linking to.

Win Clients and Advance Careers with Case Study Portfolios

Designers need clients. We need their problems, their insights, their feedback, and their investments in the solutions we provide.

Since clients are so important, we ought to think about them often and strive to make entering into partnership with us as easy and painless as possible. Design portfolios are a first impression, an opportunity to put potential clients at ease and show that we understand their needs.

Design process

Case studies push our design portfolios past aesthetic allure to a level where our skills, communication abilities, and creativity instill trust and inspire confidence. Even better, they take clients out of a passive, browsing mindset to a place where “That looks cool,” becomes “That’s someone I’d like to work with.”

Further Reading on the Toptal Blog:

  • UX Portfolio Tips and Best Practices
  • Ditch MVPs, Adopt Minimum Viable Prototypes (MVPrs)
  • Breaking Down the Design Thinking Process
  • Influence with Design – A Guide to Color and Emotions
  • The Best UX Designer Portfolios: Inspiring Case Studies and Examples

Understanding the basics

How do i create a design portfolio.

Nowadays, it’s best to create a design portfolio online. Options vary: Some designers use a service like Behance or a WYSIWYG website builder like Squarespace, while others build custom sites with CSS. It’s also important that online design portfolios be responsive for multiple screen sizes.

How do I create an online portfolio for free?

Websites like Behance and Dribbble (among others) are free options for designers to publish online portfolios. Some designers have opted to forgo traditional web portfolios and instead document their work on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Free sites also take care of design portfolio layout.

How do you organize a design portfolio?

A designer ought to organize his portfolio according to his strengths. This means highlighting his best and most relevant work. Remember that design portfolios should be made with potential clients in mind. Avoid overly technical project descriptions, images without context, and excessively long case studies.

What is the purpose of a case study?

Many design portfolios consist of short project summaries and process images, but case studies are a way for designers to show their problem-solving skills to clients in greater detail. This is achieved by defining the client’s problem and the designer’s role, along with an overview of the designer’s process.

What are the advantages of a case study?

Case studies combine descriptive text and images and allow designers to demonstrate the details of their design processes to potential clients. They are also a great way for designers to highlight problem solving and small, but powerful, design features that may otherwise be overlooked.

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  • DesignProcess

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Located in Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Member since September 28, 2015

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The 23 Best Graphic Design Portfolios We've Ever Seen, & How to Start Your Own

Caroline Forsey

Published: August 25, 2023

A great graphic design portfolio can’t move mountains, but it can change your life with a new job or opportunity. AI and other factors are impacting graphic design hiring, making your portfolio more important than ever before.

graphic design portfolio

While some designers still carry a physical book of printed design examples, most portfolios are graphic designer websites. These sites show audiences much more than design skills like logo design or typography.

Whether you're a full-time graphic designer or dabbling in design as a freelancer, it's critical you create a sleek graphic design portfolio to showcase your work to potential clients.

Fortunately, we've created a list of over 20 impressive graphic design portfolios , followed by instructions on how you can create your own . Keep reading to get all the tips you need to curate the perfect space to showcase your work.

What is a graphic design portfolio, and why does a graphic designer need one?

A graphic design portfolio is one of the most important elements a client or employer needs to see when choosing a graphic designer. A portfolio should include a selection of a graphic designer’s best work, as well as professional samples from client projects.

If you're a graphic designer a portfolio is essential for proving your design skills. It's also a chance to:

  • Share your design process
  • Talk about design or industry specialties
  • Showcase your unique style

A graphic design portfolio, like a resume, will also include contact information. It may also feature case studies from past employers.

Most portfolios today are graphic designer websites. This means that they’re not only a way to connect with clients. They also help graphic designers build communities and share their work with potential fans around the world.

So what does a graphic design portfolio website need to include to stand out? Your portfolio is much more than proving you know how to use Photoshop. Many graphic designers will include logos, typography, print design, or web design in their portfolios.

And, some of the best graphic design portfolios today may also include:

  • Motion graphics
  • Original illustrations
  • Product design
  • Ad campaigns
  • Storyboards
  • Brand identity

As you'll see below, the most powerful graphic designer portfolios balance personal vision with standout client samples.

Graphic Design Portfolio Website Examples

  • Jessica Walsh
  • Morag Myerscough
  • Heather Shaw
  • Mohamed Samir
  • Gail Anderson
  • Gleb Kuznetsov
  • Stefan Sagmeister
  • Lotte Niemenen
  • Luke Choice (Velvet Spectrum)
  • Sophia Yeshi
  • Eduardo Nunes
  • Stefanie Brüeckler
  • Ryan Dean Sprague (Pavlov)
  • Alex Trochut
  • Leandro Assis
  • Peter Tarka
  • Tobias van Schneider
  • Aries Moross
  • Nisha K. Sethi

Let’s look at some graphic design portfolio website examples to inspire and motivate your portfolio development. You could be a traditional graphic designer or experimenting with new media. There’s something here for everyone.

1. Jessica Walsh

Graphic designer portfolio, Jessica Walsh

The design industry is competitive. It takes eye-catching imagery and typographic finesse to create a portfolio that draws top clients like Apple, Benefit, and Levis.

This portfolio comes from a designer who's been named one of Ad Age’s "Top 10 Visual Creatives," among many other accolades. Currently a design professor, creative director, and head of creative agency &Walsh , this designer's portfolio on Behance makes great design the focus.

Why we love this graphic designer's website : Walsh's approach to type is bright, graphic, and complex. Her style also favors lush colorful photography and illustrations. This could get overwhelming, but this graphic designer is an expert with negative space, using careful visual composition to draw the eye and make a statement.

2. Morag Myerscough

Graphic design portfolio example: Morag Myerscough

Bright graphics, animations, and clean design make this an exceptional graphic design portfolio. This approach is great for designers who lean into the art of design. It also works for designers who take on more experimental or site-specific projects.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio: Myerscough’s aesthetic is unique and this image-focused site quickly communicates her style.

Short sections of copy connect her visual brand to her background, professional experience, and personal philosophy. The combination makes the site feel like it shows the whole designer, not just a visualization of the work she does for clients.

3. Heather Shaw


This graphic design portfolio website includes samples of book and website designs, branding, and more. It’s good for designers who work in many different media but want to present a cohesive portfolio.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio: Heather Shaw’s portfolio is super clear and easy to navigate. It shows a wide range of skills and approaches to solving client problems, but it’s also visually consistent.

The designer also uses text effectively to explain each project and to encourage further engagement with the work.

4. Mike Mills

Graphic designer portfolio, Mike Mills

Mike Mills is a talented designer, artist, and filmmaker, known for his punk aesthetic and original style. His portfolio is a reflection of his diverse interests and skills. The website offers a quick lesson in clean design, with easy-to-understand headers, professional photography, and crisp layout.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website : When you’re a design beginner , creating your first graphic design portfolio, you quickly learn the importance of editing.

For example, a logo for your first-year graphic design class might have been your best work then. It shows that you know how to use Illustrator or other design software alternatives . But five years later, you have to ask — does that logo belong in a professional portfolio?

As your body of graphic design work grows, you'll find yourself making tough decisions about what to include, and just as important, what to leave out of your portfolio.

This portfolio example stands out because Mills has found a way to include samples of design that span from the 90s to today. This could easily feel disjointed or overwhelming. Instead, it's a beautiful and cohesive portfolio with exceptional attention to detail.

5. Mohamed Samir

Graphic design portfolio example: Mohamed Samir

Samir’s work includes branding, typography, posters, and print design. So, this graphic design portfolio zeros in on a tight collection of award-winning designs.

This graphic design portfolio is on Behance . This makes it a good fit for graphic designers who want an online presence without designing their own website.

Why we love this graphic designer's website: Besides the high quality of the design work, this portfolio shows a diverse range of approaches to typography and style. At the same time, it shows a consistent vision and passion for visual communication.

The printed design work is also well-photographed. While the designer could have added a digital file instead, the photographs give you a better sense of the final polished design.

6. Gail Anderson

Graphic designer portfolio, Gail Anderson

Image quality matters. And if your portfolio pieces include a lot of detail, you may get stumped with your online portfolio design. This graphic design portfolio website has a simple left-hand navigation. So, with each click, you have a chance to see detailed posters, book covers, and more at a scale that shows how they look for print while also being easy to scroll on a mobile phone.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio : Anderson's work is smart and timeless. Each piece shows her dedication to the depth and value of design thinking, technical skill, and passion for design.

7. Gleb Kuznetsov

Graphic design portfolio example: Gleb Kuznetsov

Kuznetsov’s portfolio combines product design, user experience, and graphic design to create something entirely new. This Dribble-hosted portfolio has over 50 images, which could be overwhelming. But they're split into seven easy-to-understand projects.

This makes it a great graphic design portfolio example for designers who want to show long-term or complex projects.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website: From the images to his brief "About" statement, this designer makes his unique vision and personality part of the work and its presentation.

8. Stefan Sagmeister

Sagmeister is a legend in the design world, and his website reflects the curiosity and power of the designer. The home page features a grid of images with text that appears as you scroll over each image. With a click, you're presented with images and/or videos that show the details of each project.

The site is a mix of collaborations, art projects, and more traditional design, like the corporate identity for the Jewish museum.

Why this is one of the best graphic design portfolio websites we’ve ever seen : This portfolio site doesn't just show the quality and technical ability of the designer. It also gives any client working with Sagmeister a sense of what the design process might be like.

Quick note : The "answers" section of the site is full of useful advice no matter where you are in your designer journey.

9. Lotte Niemenen

Graphic designer portfolio, Lotte Niemenen

Great designers often let the work do the talking. That's certainly true here, with a streamlined graphic design portfolio that calls attention to client deliverables. When text is present, it adds to the value of the work, like sharing what parts of the design process their team completed. This is a great portfolio format for designers doing graphic design work like:

  • Logo design

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio: This group of work is simple and to the point. It also shows off a wide range of skills and tactics with a consistent vision. Be sure to take a closer look at the website navigation — it’s clean and exciting while adding to the functionality of the site.

10. Luke Choice (Velvet Spectrum)

Graphic designer portfolio, Luke Choice (Velvet Spectrum)

3D animation is an exciting design form that's growing in popularity. But if you're a client who's not in the market for an animated billboard , it may be difficult to figure out how you might use this creative form for your business.

This site is a great example of a portfolio that educates with simple text, graphics, and video. It gives both a quick look and a deep dive into how this designer approaches his art form.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio : If you're doing something interesting and new, it may be a selling point. But truly new ideas can also challenge or frustrate people who don't feel "in the know." This means that your portfolio can't just sell your designs. It also needs to teach viewers about the new format you're using and why you think it's important.

11. Sophia Yeshi

Graphic design portfolio example: Sophia Yeshi

A clear header and tile design emphasize work samples from this powerful graphic designer.

While the tiles emphasize the designer’s unique style, you can click on each tile to get the full details about each project. This is a great approach for designers who want to share the deeper story behind each project while still making the site easy to navigate.

Why we love this graphic designer's website: A distinct style is important in graphic design. That said, it can be tough to show how many ways you can apply that distinct style in a business context. Major brands, including Google, Nike, and Comcast, use Yeshi’s unique illustrative voice to speak for their brands.

This website portfolio makes that point clear, while still making graphic design the focus.

12. Eduardo Nunes

Graphic designer portfolio, Eduardo Nunes

Designers often have a muse — someone or something that inspires and motivates them when the designing gets tough. Sometimes that inspiration can serve as a starting point for your portfolio design, as it did for this design portfolio example.

The landing page starts with a quote from Ansel Adams, "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept." Then, using clean motion graphics and fresh design, Nunes points to a central theme, a philosophy that guides his design approach. This leads every site visitor on a journey through his portfolio.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio : This portfolio shows intense work, focus, practice, and care. It's an excellent model for anyone who wants to show the world what they're creating and why.

13. Stefanie Brüeckler

Graphic design portfolio, Stefanie Bruckler

This portfolio includes packaging design, illustration, and web design as well as graphic design and branding work. It’s one of our favorite graphic designer websites because it’s clean and easy to navigate.

It also shows a lot of different examples of work at a glance. This makes it a great example for designers who aren’t sure how to organize all the work they want to include in their portfolio.

Why we love this graphic designer website example: Brückler’s graphic design portfolio focuses on the tiniest of details to create an excellent user experience. From the simple page-loading animation to the thoughtful use of motion graphics, this designer hones in on the stunning details.

14. Chip Kidd

Graphic design portfolio example: Chip Kidd

Book cover designer Chip Kidd’s graphic design portfolio website uses lightbox-style pop-ups. Popups make it easier to focus on each book cover. This is a smart way to narrow in on the visuals with a graphic design site while still making it easy to see all the work in one place.

Kidd uses a range of different styles for book covers, and it’s edited in a way that makes this range look natural and exciting instead of chaotic.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website: The dark background makes this graphic designer’s style pop. And the simple side navigation gives users a quick path to learn more about the designer and his work.

15. Ryan Dean Sprague (Pavlov)

Graphic designer portfolio, Ryan Dean Sprague (Pavlov)

This Texas designer's style is heavily influenced by music. So, this portfolio features illustration and design work that's bright, evocative, and fun. This portfolio website shines because it keeps the UX and site structure super simple. This puts the focus on a tight curation of exciting design samples.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website : If you have a distinct illustration or design style, the tough sell for your portfolio may not be how good your work is. Instead, you may need to focus on showing the client how you can do your best work for their needs.

This graphic design portfolio is a vivid display of individuality that also shows clients how this designer can help them sell their product or brand.

16. MDZ Design

Graphic design portfolio example: MDZ Design

Concise and exciting images on this graphic designer website example give site visitors a peek at execution and strategy.

MDZ Design also offers product design and strategy to clients. This makes their graphic design portfolio a useful example for strategy-focused designers.

Why we love this graphic designer website example: The range of services this portfolio shows could be overwhelming or confusing. Instead, it’s a chance to see their approach to problem-solving. They also make it easy to see how their process leads to results for their clients.

17. Alex Trochut

Graphic design portfolio example: Alex Trochut

This graphic design portfolio is also a home for Trochut’s product design, animations, music, and NFTs. It’s a great example for multimedia artists who want to present their work on a single website. It also works for creators with a big collection of work to show.

Why we love this graphic designer website example: The four-column layout of this site shows image thumbnails of varying sizes. Each column moves at a different pace as you scroll down the page.

This motion feels dynamic and exciting and reinforces this designer’s original takes on color, type, and layouts.

18. Leandro Assis

Graphic designer portfolio, Leandro Assis

Sometimes a graphic design portfolio isn't just about a style — it's about a vibe. This exceptional portfolio comes from designer Leandro Assis.

From brand identity to hand lettering to package design, this portfolio displays a wide range of design skills and original style.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website : It's not like this portfolio isn't enticing to the eyes. It's fun, bright, and a little wild. But what makes this portfolio excellent isn't just the quality of the work, it's the experience.

Fun icons, engaging UX, and lots of white space make this bold and playful site a pleasure to peruse.

19. Peter Tarka

Graphic designer portfolio, Peter Tarka

If you're a self-taught graphic designer, you might have less guidance on where to start with your portfolio website. Look no further for inspiration than the interactive design portfolio for Peter Tarka.

Best known for captivating 3D motion graphics like the ones featured in the video below, Tarka started with a love of architecture and vector graphics that's grown to a career working with top brands like Spotify, Google, and LG.

Why we love this designer's website : The fewer clicks it takes to show people what you're doing the better. This site isn't just low-click, it's no-click.

A simple scroll shows you the work, client, and completion date for 15 exceptional portfolio pieces. If you want to see more, a quick click at the top-right brings you to more work samples, links to other portfolio sites, and contact information.

20. Tobias van Schneider

Graphic design portfolio example: Tobias van Schneider

This graphic design portfolio website uses a range of type sizes and contrasts to emphasize the ideas it communicates. This is a great approach for entrepreneurial designers. It's also smart for anyone who collaborates in their design work.

Why we love this graphic designer's website: A sticky header and big blocks of color and text make this graphic designer website interesting to explore. This site also uses scale well. It combines big images with both big and small text to emphasize each client project.

21. Aries Moross

Graphic design portfolio, Aries Moross

There are many ways to play up a unique style, and this graphic design website highlights this designer’s recent work as well as a full project archive. This is a great example for designers who also do illustration.

Why we chose this graphic design portfolio: Moross uses space effectively on this site. It’s easy to get an immediate sense of the designer’s distinct style. The simple navigation helps users refine their search to target a specific type of work, like hand-drawn fonts or editorial design.

Graphic design portfolio example: Ling K

LingK's portfolio features their latest project while also showing other industry niches. The structure of the website helps prospective clients quickly decide if they want to work with this designer.

Why this is a great example of a graphic design portfolio website: It can be tough to convey how campaign materials for a complex event, like a wedding or conference, work together. This designer effectively shows the breadth and depth of work for each project and makes it easy to see the value of each deliverable.

23. Nisha K. Sethi

Graphic design portfolio example: Nisha K. Sethi

Sethi’s portfolio is simple and straightforward. It puts the spotlight on each design project. The "About" section also tells a clear story that encourages further questions and conversation.

It can be tempting to tell an audience everything on your website. But a great portfolio should offer enough samples to entice clients to reach out and learn more, but not so much that it overwhelms. This website is a great example of offering just enough.

Why we love this graphic designer website example: This graphic design example combines hand-lettering, printmaking, and other media with digital design. While this designer works in a range of media, their portfolio shows a strong voice that is effective across many channels.

Looking for more design portfolio inspo? These designers and design studios may not be a model for your personal portfolio website, but they’re great design resources:

  • Paula Scher
  • Michael Bierut
  • Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv
  • Wolff Olins
  • Milton Glaser
  • David Carson

If you've finished your portfolio pieces and want to get more website design ideas, check out this free lookbook with over 70 examples of incredible websites.

How to Make a Graphic Design Portfolio

  • Curate your best work, and show a wide breadth of skill.
  • Choose the right platform to showcase your work.
  • Include a professional case study, or client recommendations.
  • Integrate your personality.
  • Describe the creative process.
  • Show non-client work, or side projects.

1. Curate your best work, and show a wide breadth of skill.

Lindsay Burke , a HubSpot Product Designer, emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to curating a graphic design portfolio. She says, "I recommend selecting your strongest projects and making these the primary focus of your portfolio website."

Ideally, your portfolio will feature your sharpest, most impressive 10-20 designs — undoubtedly, someone pursuing your portfolio won't have the time to look at more, and if your first couple projects are impressive enough, they shouldn't need to.

But it's equally critical you show potential clients your versatility. If you've dabbled in logo design as well as video animation, it's good to include both kinds of projects in your portfolio.

2. Choose the right platform to showcase your work.

Investing in a quality website with a custom domain URL will pay off in the long run by demonstrating your professionalism to potential clients.

Having your own website helps you organize your portfolio to suit all your business needs — for instance, perhaps you'll include 'Projects', 'About Me', and 'Contact Me' sections, so visitors can peruse your content and then contact you without ever leaving the site.

Take a look at this list of the best website builders if you need help choosing a platform for your portfolio.

3. Include a professional case study or client recommendations.

Lindsay Burke told me it's incredibly valuable to write out a case study to complement any website visuals — "Through a written case study, your site visitors can get a sense of your project's background, the problem you were aiming to solve through design, and the process you took to arrive at a final deliverable. A lot of time, effort, and iteration goes into design solutions, and a written case study will help communicate your unique process."

To cultivate a strong case study, consider including the background of the project, the problem, the process, your deliverable, and any next steps.

In the process section of your case study, Burke suggests including research, experience mapping, persona development, wire-framing, sketching, usability testing, and iteration.

Plus it will impress future clients if you can include recommendations from prior employers, which allows you to display a level of professionalism.

4. Integrate your personality.

As you can see in the examples above, each portfolio is drastically different depending on the artist's unique style. Someone checking out Tobias van Schneider's portfolio will expect something vastly different from someone looking at Ling K's site. Make sure your portfolio — including layout, background, and website title — reflects who you are as a designer.

5. Describe the creative process.

Each designer has a unique process when working with clients — and the sooner a potential client can learn about your process, the better. It's important you include context, so visitors can get a sense of how you handle challenges, and how your designs solve real-world problems.

Plus, including a description of your creative process can help a potential client figure out whether you're capable of handling the scope of their project.

For instance, they might be unsure of your ability to handle graphic designs for mobile until they read how you single-handedly brainstormed and created the designs for another client's mobile site. In this case, context is critical.

6. Show non-client work, or side projects.

Amanda Chong , a former HubSpot Designer, says, "Side projects are a great way to demonstrate your will to take initiative and your ability to balance multiple things at once. They're also a great way to show some of the more experimental, creative ideas that you might not be able to show through your day-to-day work."

If you're just starting out, it's acceptable to include side projects or non-client work so potential customers can get a sense of your ability and style.

Consider incorporating school work, a logo you designed for your aunt's company, or an internal design you created for your current company — ideally, your designs will negate any concerns potential clients have over your lack of career experience.

Graphic Design Portfolio Ideas

  • Help a local business or start-up with its design and brand.
  • Create content for your own personal brand.
  • Redesign an existing website.
  • Create graphic design materials for a made-up company.
  • Design a logo for a brand you love.
  • Create a stock theme for WordPress.
  • Take part in a design challenge.

1. Help a local business or start-up with its design and brand.

One of the easiest ways to begin building your client base is by contacting nonprofits or local businesses in your area. Think about creating mock-ups or sketches in advance, These can help you give businesses a sense of your skill and vision.

Perhaps you think a local restaurant needs a new menu logo, or want to help a gift shop with their online marketing materials.

Projects like these will help you better understand local marketing challenges, and give you time to develop your skills in those areas. You never know what a pro-bono project could lead to next.

2. Create content for your own personal brand.

As you build personal brand content, take the time to make sure your marketing materials are cohesive and sleek.

Design a unique logo for your brand. Next, start building your website, and add that same design across various materials, including your business card and resume. This is also a great time to start a branded social media account, and to create posts that show off your design skills and interests.

Clients are more likely to work with you if they can see the type of high-quality work you're able to create for yourself.

3. Redesign an existing website.

Don’t wait for your dream client to give you a call. Instead, create a complete website redesign for a well-known brand to prove your skills to future clients.

This is a well-known strategy already used by plenty of designers — just take a look at some of the impressive Behance mock-ups for brands like RyanAir .

Additionally, Amanda Chong told me, "If you're creating mockups for established brands to use as part of your portfolio, it's important to pair this with a case study or description of the process that helped you arrive at your proposed design. Talk about what you think wasn't working with the existing design, some of the constraints that you think the designers were working with, and why you made the decisions that you did."

Chong added, "Mockups are great at showing your visual design skills, but don't necessarily demonstrate your ability to work in a real-world context, so you'll want to take the time to explain how you would have approached it in a true business setting."

4. Create graphic design materials for a made-up company.

If your designs are impressive enough, potential clients won't care that you created them for a fictitious company. In fact, you could impress them with your innovation and creativity.

Consider showing your skills by putting together a creative brief for a fake company, complete with wireframes and sketches. Other projects you can create for imaginary companies include:

  • Style guides
  • Social media ads
  • Apparel graphics
  • Wrapping paper
  • Brochures and email newsletters
  • Simple GIFs
  • Animated infographics
  • Trade show booths
  • Branded wall art
  • Pitch decks
  • Book covers

In due time, real companies will take notice.

5. Design a logo for a brand you love.

Stick to the type of content you enjoy designing. If you're particularly adept at making logos, and are often inspired by the logos used by real brands, consider designing an alternative logo for a brand you like.

Then take a look at these inspiring reimagined NFL logos . While these NFL teams probably won’t make a shift, they're great examples of the designers' skills and creativity.

6. Create a stock theme for WordPress.

WordPress, a popular content management system, allows users to develop stock themes for WP. Best of all, if your theme is approved, you can sell it as a premium theme for extra cash.

Begin by studying WordPress's most popular themes, and considering how you can create an impressive alternative. Take a look at WordPress's Theme Review Requirements and this overview of how to create a child theme to learn more.

7. Take part in a design challenge.

To get inspired, practice your skills, or interact with other designers in a community and build your portfolio at the same time, think about participating in a design challenge.

Design challenges can also help you uncover skills you didn't know you had by forcing you to step outside your design comfort zone.

There are various daily, weekly, or monthly challenges that will send you prompts on things to design — for instance, try checking out the Daily UI Design Challenge or The Daily Logo Challenge .

Graphic Design Portfolio Tips

  • Show your versatility.
  • Display your best work.
  • Include case studies.
  • Make it clean and easy to navigate.
  • Prominently display contact information.
  • Display your unique personality.

You’ve done the work, and now you’re pulling together your graphic design portfolio. Try these tips to make your graphic design portfolio stand out.

1. Show your versatility.

A portfolio should show a range of different works, so you want to highlight what you can do. Some clients prefer a more streamlined look, while others are looking for more experimentation.

If you have clients from different industries, include some work from each industry. Then, edit your portfolio based on the kind of client you’re showing your portfolio to.

For example, if you’re meeting with a client in real estate, show work samples from similar industries.

You’ll also want to show anyone who sees your portfolio what you can do. So, if you create design logos, books, and motion graphics, include a little bit of everything in your portfolio.

2. Display your best work.

That said, try to limit your portfolio to your best work. Don’t include a piece in your portfolio just to show that you can do it. The way that you edit your portfolio shows that you understand your strengths and know how to play them up. So, edit your portfolio to include only your best work.

If you’re great with one skill set but not as good with another, edit your portfolio to spotlight that skill. If possible, create portfolio pieces that show many skill sets at the same time.

For example, if you love hand lettering, a poster could emphasize your graphic design skills alongside this unique ability.

3. Include case studies.

Every client is unique, and each will teach you something new. As you continue to work with different clients, build up a collection of these stories.

Try not to throw anything away without documenting it. That page of thumbnails might not be much to look at on its own, but this kind of work in progress is a great way to show prospective clients how you solve problems.

When you present case studies in your portfolio, start with the initial problem your client approached you with. Next, show what the conversation and ideation process looked like over time. As you pull your case study together, don't forget to include the final solution you delivered.

4. Make it clean and easy to navigate.

Design is about more than visual skills, it’s about communicating. So the format of your portfolio, whether it’s printed or online, should be clear and simple to scan.

This point is especially important for graphic designer websites. It can be tempting to build a website that shows off the latest trends or to add Easter eggs that people need to hunt for. There’s a fine line between art and design, and those approaches can be super inspiring.

But building a complex site can also mean that clients in a hurry could miss some of your best work.

For example, a graphic designer once sent his portfolio to a creative director friend of mine. They liked the designer’s drawing but didn’t see much of the graphic design or web work that he talked about in his resume. With a little digging, they found a URL in one of the sketchbook drawings, and that URL led to his website.

This hide-and-seek process was cool, but it wasn’t clear or easy to navigate. This scenario could have been a missed opportunity for that designer.

5. Prominently display contact information.

If someone wants to talk to you, there are many places they can find you online. But you want to make it easy for them, and for you. You don’t want to miss out on an important meeting because a client reached out to you with an email you don’t check anymore.

Most graphic designer websites have a contact page that has your contact information. Once you add this to your site, be sure to check that the links and forms are working.

6. Display your unique personality.

There are thousands of successful graphic designers out there, and you might be competing against some of them for your next client. So, the best tip for a great portfolio is to be yourself.

Whether you have a feel for typography or are talented with color, show off the way that you see the world in your graphic design portfolio. Think about every detail, and then execute to the best of your ability.

Whether it’s the first version of your portfolio or the 200th, make it feel like something only you could create.

The best graphic design portfolios aren’t ever finished.

You’ve learned about the value of a graphic design portfolio and checked out some of the best portfolio examples. You read about how to create your portfolio, then you scanned some smart ideas to build on the graphic design work you’ve already completed.

So what’s next?

Even the best graphic design portfolios need constant updates. Keep in mind that while your first graphic design portfolio may be complete, portfolio building won’t ever really end.

What do you want to tackle for your next project? Social media to promote your new portfolio? A new resume or professional bio to attract clients? The possibilities are endless.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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10 Projects to Improve Your Design Skills

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6 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Freelance Graphic Designer

The 7 Elements of Graphic Design, and How to Apply Them This Year

The 7 Elements of Graphic Design, and How to Apply Them This Year

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28 Graphic Design Terms Every Marketer Should Know [Infographic]

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Graphic Design Case Studies

UWTSD Home   -   Institutes and Academies   -   Swansea College of Art   -   Graphic Design   -  Graphic Design Case Studies

Our graduates find employment with design consultancies, publishing houses, advertising agencies, local government, film and television, new media industries and in-house design studios of companies, or they may wish to choose to work as self-employed designers. Students also have the opportunity at the end of their course to exhibit at New Designers in London. This is an opportunity for the top UK graduates to showcase their portfolios to prospective employers worldwide.

Our employment record is outstanding, with most of our graduates in employment in the industry within six months of graduating. Recent graduates are working with the following...

Apple | Aston Villa | Barclays Bank | Blue Stag Studio | Dirty Little Serifs | Dr Organic | Enigma Creative Solutions | Fitch | Glazier Design London | Haymarket Media Group | Icon | LEGO | Manchester United | Matter of Form Design Agency | Moonpig.com | Nike | Oxford University Press | Saatchi and Saatchi Wellness | SapientNitro | Sky Creative | Stag & Hare | The Conran Shop (Design) | Tigerprint | Tinnopolis | Universal Music | W12 Studios | Waters Creative 

Case Study Phil Rees

Phil Rees (FITCH)

Case Study James Webb

James Webb (Adidas)

Sky Broadcasting

Roland, James, Gareth, Nathan and Jamie (Sky Broadcasting)

Case Study Mathew Boyle

Matthew Boyle (Lego)


Naomi Urch (Saatchi & Saatchi)


Anna Jehan (Matter of Form)


Daniel Alcorn (Birmingham Design Festival)

Case Study Jonathan Williams

Jonathan Williams (New Designers Winner)

Case Study Dan and James

Daniel Brassington and James Risbey (Dapper Design)

Case Study Nickolas Britz Waters

Nick Britz-Waters (Conran Shop Design)

Case Study Amy Garrett-Williams

Amy Garrett-Williams (Blue Stag Studio)

Case Study Ellie Ewart

Ellie Ewart (Surfers Against Sewage)

Case Study Sean McCormack

Sean McCormack (Clements and Church)

Case Study Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths (Animal)

Case Study Greg Beynon

Greg Beynon (Photographer)


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    Our graduates find employment with design consultancies, publishing houses, advertising agencies, local government, film and

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