These days, a portfolio is a must. What we have here is a list of dark portfolio websites that are split up into common groups that most portfolios fall in. The last group will be for those experimental dark layouts, where the designer tries something different.
Rotating Image/Static Featured Image
We'll start out with perhaps the most popular forms of portfolio design. This is the jQuery rotating image. The great thing about this kind of portfolio is that you can show a lot of work, with minimal space, saving room for other information.
Also falling into this group is the static featured image. While similar to the rotating image, it may not be quite as effective as the rotating image because of the lack of animation and interaction. On the plus side, a static featured image could also be used as a teaser to get people to look at the rest of your work.
With this kind of portfolio, the viewer goes to the website and sees exactly what the website is about or who the designer is. If what you are offering or your tagline peaks their interest, they will look around your website. It usually helps and makes it more effective if the tagline is paired with another one of these styles of portfolio website, unless the typography can stand on its own as a visual element.
What makes this kind of portfolio website effective is that the viewer gets a little information about the website, as well as a sampling of what the portfolio has to offer.
This type of website gets to the point like the tagline/bio and text/image, except the viewer gets bombarded (in a good way) with the designer's work. This keeps the interest of the viewer, because they don't have to look around the actual portfolio pieces.
Non-Portfolio Image Large Header
This website basically shows the viewer what the designer can do without actually showing specific examples. A stand-out photo manipulation/illustration/photo catches the eye and gets the point across.
This is a great way to provide viewers a more personal feel, which gives the website a lot more personality. It also gives the website a more current feel (if it is updated regularly), giving the viewer a reason to come back.
These websites don't have the traditional layout that we saw above. Lets look at these one at a time to see why they are so different.
The portfolio part of this website has a slide show much like rotated image designs, but this one is flipped so they scroll vertically, with the project description to the left. This website gives a new look to a common layout.
Although the two-column layout isn't uncommon, it's not usually used like this in portfolio designs. A bio on the left and portfolio on the right takes a combination of the grid and tagline/bio portfolio, and gives it a new twist.
I almost put this website in the tagline/bio category, however, since the tagline looks like a part of the illustration, and doesn't really say too much, I decided to put it here instead. There isn't really much on the home part of the website, so you have to explore to learn more.
This website, too, almost went into the tagline/bio section, but I felt that the portfolio image on the right had just as much importance. The idea of putting information in columns rather than rows gives equal importance to each section, rather than having a common website where there is a row-based hierarchy of the most important to the least.