In addition to showcasing your best work, an online portfolio is also a presentation of your own personal brand. It should showcase your abilities, but also indicate your own personality and style. There should always be a good balance between the two. You don’t want the work to completely overshadow your personality, nor do you want your personality to overshadow the work. The best application of branding hits a medium where the work supports the personality and vice versa.
Take a look at these examples. The first is the portfolio site for Jessica Hische, and renowned typographer. The focus of her homepage is on the five thumbnail images of her work and the one larger image of the work that she sells. There are also details that hint at her personality. The background pattern has definite feminine undertones. She also includes touches of bright orange throughout the entire site including her logo and the small heart that allows visitors to change some of the styling of the site from normal to “teen girl mode”, “swiss mode”, and “field notes mode”. The inclusion of the sparkling teen girl mode hints to a very feminine and humorous personality. The logo itself is very subdued and quickly identifies the site without distracting from the work itself.
This second site takes a quite different approach. This web designer places the emphasis of the homepage on introducing himself with a large photograph of himself and headings that explain what he does, what he loves, and where he resides. Within the explanation text there is also injections of his own personality. Instead of simply saying he loves design he says “It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning (besides a grande iced coffee)”. Here he uses language to showcase personality, not just design.