5 Steps to Make a Killer Portfolio Website with Squarespace

In today’s digital age, there’s simply no excuse for not having an amazing online portfolio of your design work to show prospective clients and employers. But take one look at all of your options for setting one up—from web hosting to template designs and beyond—and this seemingly simple task can become pretty intimidating. You want something that will end up as a solid representation of you and your work, but you need something that won’t require hours to make. You should be able to set it up easily so that you can go out and, y’know, work.

Enter Squarespace. Not only is Squarespace crazy easy to use for creating an impressive portfolio, but it requires minimal time on your part to get a site up and running. Plus, they offer beautiful templates that will showcase your work and suit your style, from clean and minimalist, bold and colorful, ornate and elegant, to anything in between. Whether you’re a student just starting out or a professional with years of experience, here are 4 straightforward steps to creating a killer online design portfolio and how you can get yours set up using Squarespace.

1. Select a custom domain name

Let’s face it: janesdesigns.randomdesignportfoliosite.com just doesn’t feel that professional. Investing in a custom domain name is a simple element that legitimizes you and your business to new site visitors. Traditionally, hosting and domain names get set up separately, but Squarespace simplifies the process by providing both in one spot. And no sneaky pricing here, either—costs range from $20-$70 annually and it renews at the same cost every year, so you’ll never get charged a penny more.

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2. Choose your template

Web design might not be your forte, but one thing is for sure: your site should make you (and your work) look stellar. Utilize a template that will let the work speak for itself. Funky looking buttons, weird fonts, or a nauseating combination of colors can distract from what you actually do, so when in doubt just keep it simple.

The template selection is an instant draw for Squarespace—they all look absolutely beautiful without being overwhelming. You technically don’t even need to officially sign up to browse through the templates they offer, and you’ll find the Art & Design category features really striking ones. Jasper, Flatiron, and Avenue are a few of the definite standouts for designers, allowing visitors to get a visual sense of your work before learning more.

3. Curate which projects to include

Potential clients and employers are busy people (just like you), so go for quality over quantity with what you put on the site and leave them wanting more. Be selective to showcase your absolute best work that will highlight your skills rather than bombard visitors with every. single. project. you’ve ever done.

With Squarespace, you’ll have no problem adding pages or rearranging them. You also have the option to create pages but keep them unlinked, which is perfect for selecting your best work to feature. By doing this, you can have as many design portfolio pages online as you want, but your site navigation will only display the ones you choose. People can still access unlinked pages, but it won’t clutter your site—and you can move linked and unlinked pages around with the mere drag and drop of a mouse.




Sample portfolios, courtesy of Laura Bohill, Michael Steven Forrest, and Chris Rushing.

4. Include your contact info

There is nothing more frustrating for an employer or potential client who loves your website but can’t figure out how to get in touch with you. They might put a bit of effort into reaching out—looking you up on LinkedIn, maybe?—but don’t bet on it. Instead, make sure your contact info is immediately noticeable. Squarespace offers convenient starter layouts that take out all of the guesswork of including a contact form. They’ll automatically link to your email address (and you can easily link it to Google Drive or Mailchimp, if you’d like), so it only requires a bit of tweaking the text to get it ready to go.

5. Make it more than your resume

Once someone clicks on one of your projects, what will you show them? Each individual page for your work can include more than just the main image and name of the client. Drag and drop photos of the project to give a better understanding of the details you meticulously designed, and talk on a more personal level about your process.

Part of the beauty of an online design portfolio is it’s totally fine to dive in a little deeper with your work. In fact, it’s a wonderful chance for people to learn more about the project brief, the challenges you faced, and what solutions you brought to the table. This type of extra information doesn’t really fit in a cover letter or resume, but it can help you make a lasting impression.

Ready to get started with your own portfolio with Squarespace? Enter coupon code DIELINE at the checkout and receive 10% off your first purchase.

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Designing a Simple Syrup Bottle that’s Out of the Ordinary

An outstanding simple syrup has the power to transform any drink, as Cahoots Cocktail Co will prove. Enticing flavors alone (like lavender and hibiscus) are an instant draw, but the packaging definitely seals the deal. We spoke with Ross Milne at Cahoots about the process for designing these lively, modern bottles, the story behind the illustration on the label, and the challenges of a double-sided bottle.



Walk us through the design process that you went through for this project.

Ross Milne: Both myself and the other founder come from design backgrounds. Early on, we discussed outsourcing the brand and packaging work to avoid being consumed by one aspect of the product development. John was interested in working on the brand, and its been led by him ever since. It helped to treat the project as if it were a normal client/design partnership. John assembled references and mood-boards in order to discuss possible directions. Rounds of feedback and design pushed the project forward. We focused on building brand assets that could be utilized across a lot of applications. When we encountered a decision where a leap of faith was necessary, we tried to say yes more than no; a luxury in graphic design.

What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with Cahoots Cocktail Co packaging and how did you accomplish it?

Ross Milne: The legacy, pre-prohibition emphasis in bar products was already well explored by the time we started on Cahoots. We felt there was room for a brand that took a different approach, something that was light-hearted without compromising sophistication. Cocktails should be fun, and Cahoots is intent on making it accessible for anyone to create great looking, delicious cocktails from home. The combination of illustration with a black and white palette struck the right balance.



Why did you choose to go with detailed, beautiful illustrations for the packaging?

Ross Milne: The illustration commissioned from Lucy Engleman is loosely based on Vancouver, Canada, where Cahoots is based. The scene distorts scale by turning buildings into bar tops and making fruit larger than life. The brief imaged a metropolitan environment with everyone hopped up on Cahoots.

We knew that a strong brand would build credibility quickly, so we invested a disproportionate amount of our total budget in one illustration. It was the kind of decision that would probably have been denied in a typical client/design partnership, but we felt it was important. The illustration—together with lettering also provided by Lucy—became the backbone of the brand.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Ross Milne: Most of our competitors use a boston round bottle, so we wanted to be distinct by choosing a bottle that contrasted well. We settled on an option that references Canada’s maple syrup tradition and the classic booze flask simultaneously. It worked to distinguish ourselves, but going against the grain created a number of design and production challenges. It turned out that a double-sided bottle is hard to mass-produce. There’s a reason why so many products are in round bottles.



If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?

Ross Milne: Having spent our careers working for clients, being in total control was a rarity. It allowed us to make decisions quickly, and put our mark on every aspect of the brand and packaging. As one of the founders, I am also a type designer. My Charlie and Echo typefaces worked really well for the support type and it’s been gratifying to incorporate details from our design practice.

Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Ross Milne: A few brand assets, used consistently, can go a long way.

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Gorgeous Vegan Chocolate Packaging

This gorgeous packaging for Ach, a Lithuanian vegan chocolate brand has our eyes completely captivated. The chocolate bars are adorned with organic swirls and are complete with gold foiling accents. The typography is what makes this chocolate packaging truly stunning. 

“Vegan chocolate ‘Ach’ is a Lithuanian brand. A limited edition was launched for Christmas – the most beautiful holiday of the year. The chocolate is enchanting and rich complete with almonds and pollen. The main goal of these packages is to convey the winter and holiday spirit. This is achieved using gold foil, typographical and graphical elements which takes you to the spirit of the sparkling holidays!”


Client: Ach
Manufacturer: TYGELIS
Location: Lithuania

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Melatta: Not Your Average Jam

This is not your average jam. Melatta, designed by scd, are jams that beautifully display their unique flavors with their transparent jar packaging. The beautiful colors of the jams speak for themselves while the simple yet playful typography make this jam a definite standout at any grocery store. 

“Melatta is a small company in Bogotá. They produce delicious jams with new and exotic flavors. They wanted to show the content of the jar and to have a clean and joyful design.”

Agency: scd

Designer: Valeria Caro 

Creative Director: Natalia Delgadillo 

Location: Bogotá, Colombia

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Beautiful Botanically Inspired Wine

California agency Makers & Allies has designed this beautiful, detailed and lush packaging for Provoca Wines. The artwork on the labels is captivating while also maintaining a certain sense of softness. The illustrations are also reminiscent of some that one might find in a botanical textbook which adds a scientific quality to the product as well.

“With a passion for the unexpected, Provoca explores the relationship between man and nature, drawing upon vintage scientific illustrations of carnivorous plants to signify the control man assumes he has over nature, but can never come to regard as truth. Just when you think you know what to expect, the trap swings shut, revealing you’ve just jumped into the belly of the beast.” 




Agency: Makers & Allies

Client: Granada Hotel and Bistro

Location: California

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El Cantizal Olive Oil

Reap in Spain’s season growth with El Cantizal Olive Oil. Designed by Alice Pesenti, this premium olive oil is packaged in a beautifully crafted glass bottle labeled with the family’s emblem and signature of authentication. Traditional meets modern with yellow as the primary color diagonally wrapped over the entire label. 

El Cantizal is a Spanish premium olive oil. It’s centennial olive trees are located in the heart of Andalusia, based in a unique microclimate which allows the company to obtain exclusive olive oils of extraordinary quality. 

The objective was to create an image that could express the warm and powerful energy of Andalucía, and also to create a unique brand that stands out from its competitors.





Designed by Alice Pesenti

Country: Spain

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Now in its 8th year, The Dieline Awards exists as a way to celebrate innovation and honor excellence in packaging design. An esteemed jury of structural packaging, design, branding, and consumer product experts examine each submission with regards to four key elements: Creativity, Marketability, Innovation, and Execution. 

As one of the most prestigious and competitive design competitions in the industry, brand owners, consumers, marketers, agencies, in-house creatives, students, and enthusiasts around the world turn to The Dieline Awards as the benchmark for well-designed packaging of consumer products.

Debbie Millman, President Emeritus of AIGA serves as chairwoman of the jury. A total of 78 winners will be recognized in the 2017 competition. 

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10 Best Cannabis Packaging Designs

With the increase of products coming up within the cannabis market we thought it would be fitting to round up some of our favorite packaging designs from this new booming industry. Here are our top 10 cannabis packaging design picks. 

1. Kiva Bars


2. Kola Premium Cannabis Capsules


3. Bloom Farms Hand Rolls


4. Lord Jones


5. Leafs by Snoop


6. AYA Pure Cannabis Nectar


7. Seven Point


8. Marley Natural


9. Plus Gum


10. Highlighter by Bloom Farms

Recommended Reading: 

What Prop 64 Means For Package Designers

Package Design in the Cannabis Industry

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How a Horseshoe and Frida Kahlo Inspired Reposado’s New Design

The agave fields in Jalisco have rows and rows of the spiky blue plants spread over thousands of acres. The liquor store shelves across the U.S. display a variety of tequila in multi-colored glass, distinctive bottles, and clever typography. Our assignment was simple: new packaging for Herradura tequila to make it stand out and be coveted as an authentic, super premium spirit.

No doubt, this was a fantastic assignment: working with Brown-Forman, a top notch outfit. Already given the tequila brief, most designers would naturally want to get to the “designing” portion of the creative process. But how can that be without the upfront deep dive and inspiration phase? That’s my favorite part, because if there is any magic left in our craft, this is where it shows itself. Learning something new and being inspired by the experience is the path to original break-through design. When Brown-Forman suggested an inspirational trip to Mexico, I went from being someone who enjoyed an occasional tequila cocktail to someone who knows and loves the story of what makes the best tequila so amazing.

Blue agave is the plant from which the best tequila is made. Most of the plant is a cluster of tall spiky leaves, but the prize is a huge bulbous fruit in the middle. It looks like a pineapple and is called a piña. After it’s chopped, roasted, fermented, distilled, and aged in oak barrels, it’s ready. But 10 years will have passed between when the agave started growing and when we’re raising our glasses.

To harvest, you take a sharp circular blade and whack away all the spiky leaves around the fat fruit. When you’re talking about a full immersion in the design discovery process, you get a chance to feel the blade and experience the slice under the hot sun. A slip of the blade and you miss the plant, bounce off a rock, and you’re reminded that you work with your hands and you should be careful. Or in my case, the serious trouble came as I missed and came pretty close to becoming the pegleg of the design business. The other part of the experience involved the effort required to throw the harvested piña (which often weighs 70 to 120 pounds) on a truck to make its way to the distillery.

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Beyond the plant, the agave field also has a bit of legend for Herradura, which means “horseshoe” in Spanish. Stories have it that in the early 1900s a founder, while inspecting the agave fields in a storm, saw something wrapped up in an agave plant, gleaming like gold. The horseshoe he released was kept for luck, and they eventually named the tequila after it.

Needless to say, we added the horseshoe into our notebooks, and set out to add some nightlife tequila sampling into our research phase. We learned how Mexicans rightfully believe that most U.S. citizens are totally clueless when it comes to enjoying this national treasure.  Ordering a tequila in this region isn’t anything like the salt-shot-lime routine. At its highest level, this is a drink for savoring, much like a fine whiskey. The reverence that Mexicans have for this product opened up a new world of design possibilities for this brand revitalization.  Definitely no sombreros.

Next stop: Mexico City and the national museums. One belief we have at Duffy is the importance of attaching the work we do to the culture it represents. For this project, there was no better place than the National Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropologia). This world-class museum is built around a long, rectangular courtyard surrounded on three sides by two-level display halls. The 12 ground-floor salas are dedicated to pre-Hispanic Mexico. The upper-level salas show how Mexico’s indigenous descendants live today, and it is a cool architectural feature that the contemporary cultures sit one floor up from their ancestral civilizations. Tequila very much fits into this paradigm of a pre-Hispanic indigenous tradition that has lasted and evolved to a current and important place in modern Mexico.

We also stopped by renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s house. She was born in, lived in, and died at Casa Azul (Blue House), now a museum. If you visit Mexico City you make a pilgrimage there to gain a deeper understanding of the artist. As a painter myself, I was blown away by the many artifacts from her life and her inspirations.

Throughout our travels we captured colors, typography, materials, patterns and imagery. Combined with the imagery we discovered in the fields, the distillery and the tequila museums, it gave us all the elements we needed to consider for our visual brief. This is one of the things we do to collect a full spectrum of possibilities to discuss before the design work begins. Our client played an integral part in creating it.  This visual brief from our deep dive became the filter for every design direction we developed.

What’s the most important aspect of great design? Inspiration! In the case of our work for Herradura, that meant exploring the Jalisco region, getting our hands dirty, and trying our best to be part of the culture of tequila—to understand it and to speak to it through great design. It’s fun to think that the agave plant that I was hacking down a few years ago will end up in a barrel to age, and ultimately be savored. Salud!

About Duffy

Committed to delivering world-class digital and design solutions, Duffy combines design and technology to solve brand challenges, grow businesses and make the world a better place. Founded in 1984, the firm has designed the world’s most iconic brands, including Fisher-Price, Jim Beam, The Islands of the Bahamas, Aveda, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Minute Maid, Wolfgang Puck, Summit Brewing Co., Bacardi, Meals on Wheels America, Water for People, Qatar National Library, Mall of America and many more.

Joe Duffy

Joe is one of the world’s most respected and sought after thought leaders on branding and design. His work is regularly featured in leading marketing and design publications and is exhibited around the world. Joe founded Duffy with a vision to build a new kind of branding and creative company—partnering with clients and other firms in all communication disciplines. His first book, Brand Apart, was released in July 2005.

In 2004, Joe received the Legacy Medal from the American Institute of Graphic Arts for a lifetime of achievement in the field of visual communications. In 2006, he was recognized as one of the “fast 50” most influential people in the future of business by Fast Company. In 2007, Joe was honored with the American Institute of Graphic Arts Fellow Award for his many years of leadership in the state’s design and business community.

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That’s Right, this Tostitos Bag will Even Call an Uber for You

If you’re watching the Superbowl, chances are you’re doing some serious snacking and drinking. Unfortunately, some people will still get behind the wheel to drive home after the game, making the roads more dangerous for everyone. Goodby Silverstein & Partners teamed up with Tostitos to bring you a bag of chips that will not only remind you that you’ve been drinking but use near-field communication (NFC) technology to call an Uber for you—and with a $10 discount, to top it off.

Roger Baran, a Goodby Silverstein & Partners creative director, commented, “We’re proud to introduce to the world the first bag of chips that gets you home safe. For a football fan, there is a lot of emotion involved with a game. It’s easy to drink more than you planned. And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off. On Sunday of the big game, we want Tostitos to be that friend.”

Sam Luchini, also a GS&P creative director, added, “We designed the technology and the bag from the ground up and then had to scale it. It had to function as a beautiful bag and also like an alcohol detector. It was form and function together.”

Jennifer Saenz, Frito-Lay’s chief marketing officer stated, “Our goal is to remove 25,000 cars from the roads that Sunday evening. Whether watching the big game at a friend’s house or at a local bar, a safe ride home is just a few easy taps away. By simply entering a participating Tostitos UPC code in the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off an Uber ride.”


Designed by: Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Country: United States

City: San Francisco, CA

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A Gift of Water New Year’s Box for Many

Health & Happiness Advertising Agency, LRXD, took holiday gifting to a whole new level with the Gift of Water New Year’s Box. The sleek water bottle was gifted to clients over the holidays with a message of “Health & Happiness” but the real gift was in the packaging. In addition to sharing vital water shortage figures, the custom designed box revealed a donation on behalf of the recipient to Raincatcher – A non-profit organization dedicated to harvesting rainwater in impoverished nations. 

The ultimate pay it forward gift, each donation provided 5,000 people with fresh drinking water for an entire year! 

“As this new year began, LRXD wanted to pass on our health and happiness values to clients by passing on some good to the world. While the agency gift simply seemed to be a sleek water bottle, the message emblazoned on the box was an important one — a donation in their name would provide clean drinking water for thousands of people.” 

“Each bottle was housed in a custom handmade box created with book-binding board. The modern line art design was laser engraved and letter pressed onto Neenah Classic Crest Epic Black using metallic inks.”








Creative Directors: Kelly Reedy, Jamie Reedy

Designer: Drew Bentley

Copywriter: Ashley Rutstein
Production: Valerie Hawks

Senior Producer: Jamie Sharp

Production Company: Method & Madness, Denver

Designed by LRXD

Country: US

City: Denver

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