As a graphic designer or illustrator in an increasingly competitive industry, it has never been more important to establish a strong presence online, and the ability to design your own professional portfolio website without needing to know how to code has enabled designers to market themselves online far more effectively than ever before.

With so many different website builders out there, it's hard to get a real sense of which options are best suited towards visual creatives instead of content-led blogging platforms tailored more towards copywriters and SEO marketers.

So, join Briefbox as we share our experiences with six of the most popular website building platforms on the market today in order to help you make your decision of which website builder you should choose as a graphic designer or illustrator.

Quick Links

Wix / Squarespace / WordPress / Webflow / Dribbble Playbook / Adobe Portfolio


For anyone other than professional website developers, the industry has been moving steadily towards drag-and-drop editors ever since the advent of website builders as a tool. The introduction of WordPress’ Gutenberg editor and Squarespace’s window and sidebar-driven content editor in recent years do offer good front-end editing solutions, but neither are able to compete with the intuitive drag-and-drop editing interface that lies at the heart of the Wix platform.

Wix’s ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor is impressively easy to use and allows a designer to tailor any text, images and placement of objects directly on the page, a welcome and familiar sight for those used to working in website design software such as Adobe XD, Sketch or Figma. For designers without any coding knowledge, this approach opens the door to creating a professional portfolio website without encountering any knowledge barriers along the way.

One impressive feature that can often rival Squarespace’s template-driven platform (more on that later) in terms of ready-to-go websites is the integration of Wix’s ‘Artificial Design Intelligence’. With this, all a user needs to do is simply answer a few basic questions and the AI handles the rest, generating a surprisingly clean website design with only a few minimal edits required.

The downside to this visual-first approach is that Wix’s implementation of custom code required by website development professionals is rather lacklustre. While this may not be a deal-breaker to most designers, those with a broader skillset may find the lack of options here frustrating and quickly experience a feeling of ‘outgrowing the platform’ sooner than they may prefer.


Starting from $14 per month up to $49 per month for the top level business plan.

A free plan is also available, however this includes a Wix-branded domain and a 'created with Wix' banner throughout all pages of your website.


  • Easy to use and intuitive ‘drag and drop’ builder.
  • Artificial intelligence available to speed up the design and development process.
  • The front-end approach is similar to familiar website design software (Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma etc).
  • Website hosting, custom domain and SSL certification included as standard.
  • Seller-friendly e-commerce functionality included, albeit at the cost of a premium plan.


  • Leaving the platform is made particularly difficult.
  • Mobile responsiveness often needs to be manually tailored.
  • Limited third-party integrations.
  • Limited support for custom coding.


When it comes to beautiful website templates that are good-to-go right out of the box, Squarespace easily sets itself apart from the competition. Where Wix provides a designer with complete creative control over the look and feel of their website, Squarespace instead employs a far more rigid system, only allowing designers to choose from a selection of around 100 stylish templates, swap between a few different layout options within these and add / replace content where required.

This may seem like a reason not to choose Squarespace as a designer, however this deliberately restrictive eco-system means that you’re able to dive straight into the important task of uploading, tailoring and managing your projects from the offset. Remember, unless website development is a service you intend to offer, then a graphic designer’s portfolio website should simply serve as a frame to highlight your own project work. Your website’s overall design should be minimal and almost invisible to a visitor so that their eye is drawn immediately to your portfolio pieces instead.

Another key benefit of Squarespace as a website builder is that all of the templates available have been created with mobile responsiveness as a built-in feature. While builderes such as Wix, WordPress and Webflow do offer options to tailor mobile versions of each page on your website manually, this can be a time-consuming process and often results in a designer having to develop each page on their website twice. By taking control away from the user, Squarespace is able to guarantee a beautiful and consistent experience for a visitor regardless of the device they’re using, without any additional time and effort required from the designer.


Four price plans (personal, business, basic e-commerce and advanced e-commerce) ranging from $12 to $40 per month.

A free 14-day trial is also available with no credit card information required, enabling you to try the platform before committing to one of Squarespace's paid plans.


  • A pre-designed template structure makes it next to impossible for a Squarespace website look bad.
  • Mobile-responsive by default.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Website hosting, custom domain and SSL certification included as standard.
  • Seller-friendly commerce functionality included, albeit at the cost of a more premium plan.


  • Very little flexibility and control over design and layout.
  • Limited third-party integrations.
  • Limited support for custom coding.


Starting out life as a basic blogging platform, WordPress has grown so substantially that it now powers over 64 million websites, making up a staggering 40% of all websites across the internet.

WordPress’ core strength is that it offers a robust, open-source and reliable platform for designers to build on without ever needing to concern themselves with developing a content management system (CMS) from scratch.

Creative professionals love WordPress because of its flexibility and ease of use, offering graphic designers and illustrators the freedom the match their creative expression by utilising a growing library of over 100,000 plugins and themes built specifically for the platform. From e-commerce marketplaces to community-driven forums, with the right combination of plugins and a good understanding of basic coding languages, there’s practically nothing that WordPress doesn’t offer support for.

A wide variety of page building tools, such as Avada, Divi and Elementor, are often used in combination with WordPress to allow designers to replicate their artwork without ever needing to touch a line of code. When used correctly, these page builders provide an almost perfect combination of Wix’s customisation options with Squarespace’s intuitive interface and user-friendly CMS. The downside is that most of these builders and plugins come with additional fees, and it can often be much harder for a designer to gauge how much their website will cost them to develop without doing some form of research beforehand.


The WordPress platform itself is completely free to download and install, as is their default e-commerce platform, WooCommerce. You will need to manually arrange your own domain and hosting plans however.


  • Free to use (base platform).
  • Unrivalled versatility.
  • The most popular website platform used today.
  • Limitless scope for additional functionality.
  • Free e-commerce integration through WooCommerce.


  • Reliance on paid third-party plugins for more advanced functionality.
  • Some coding knowledge may be required for more advanced users.
  • Mobile responsiveness needs to be manually tailored.
  • Less intuitive and more difficult to learn than other platforms.
  • Domains and hosting not included and can be difficult to connect without the right technical knowledge.


Created in 2013, Webflow's aim is to become the world’s most powerful no-code development platform, and makes a strong effort to do so by utilising a website builder that offers far more customisation options than all nearly other options on the market, particularly when it comes to scroll-based animation and implementation of 3D assets.

The true strength of the platform lies in its user interface, having more in common with website design tools such as Adobe XD, Sketch of Figma than it does traditional website builders. Instead of presenting a user with an empty and often daunting code field, Webflow instead utilises preset input boxes to transform user field inputs into actionable lines of code that can then be exported and reused elsewhere.

While Webflow does away with a requirement for coding knowledge that platforms such as WordPress require, the learning curve for Webflow's visual-first editor is fairly intense if you have no previous experience with website development. However, with enough practice and time spent learning the platform via training platforms such as Webflow University, it actually becomes surprisingly easy to create a stunning design or illustration portfolio website that really stands out from the competition.

In addition to the above, another of Webflow's strengths lies in the way the platform handles the overall user experience for the website's admin, separating the design functionality from the content management system and treating the two sides as different halves of the same whole. The benefit of this approach is that once you're finished setting up the overall structure of your portfolio site, you can strip away any unnecessary design prompts and focus directly on adding your design and illustration case studies, the core content of your website.


The Webflow platform and builder is completely free to use, but you'll need to sign up for a site plan to set your website live.

Additional account plans are also available should you need to add more features to your account, such as the ability to export code or white label the platform for client-facing projects.


  • Far more customisation options than most other website builders, particularly when it comes to scroll-based animation and 3D assets.
  • Great for those used to professional design software such as Adobe XD, Sketch of Figma.
  • Includes the ability to export assets created with the visual editor into raw code.


  • A very steep learning curve to start with, resulting in one of the most challenging no-code website builders to truly master.
  • Making sense of Webflow's pricing structure and identifying which plan you need can be fairly confusing.
  • At the time of writing, there are still some issues with Webflow's front-end editor not working perfectly with Firefox and and Edge.

Adobe Portfolio

Included as standard with a Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe Portfolio is the industry-leader in design software's answer to online portfolio builders.

Allowing users to choose from either a single landing page or a full multi-page site to showcase your graphic design and illustration projects in detail, the website builder offers an impressive amount of functionality without needing to sign up to additional third-party platforms if you're already paying for the Creative Cloud service.

Just like Squarespace, Adobe Portfolio is also natively responsive by default, instantly resizing your content and images to fit any device or screen width. However, the service also follows Squarespace's model of providing a user with a set (and relatively small) amount of templates to choose from instead of offering completely bespoke layout options. Again, this is a great option for those who just want to frame their design and illustration projects, but it's probably not ideal for anyone looking to provide a unique website experience to their viewers.

There's also a ton of integration options with other first-party products such as Adobe Fonts, Behance, Lightroom and more, ensuring a completely seamless experience across the entire Adobe product range.


Adobe Portfolio is included for free with a Creative Cloud subscription, at $19.99 per month for a heavily-discounted student account.


  • Adobe Portfolio's live, front-end editor makes it easy to showcase your work without any coding knowledge.
  • Intuitive and seamless Behance integration.
  • Unlimited storage space.
  • Adobe Fonts access included as standard.
  • Supports custom domains, but can be a little tricky to set up.
  • Multi-website support, with up to five websites hosted at a time under one account.


  • Lack of e-commerce support for those looking to integrate product sales into their portfolio website.
  • Limited template options and customisation features.
  • Requires a Creative Cloud subscription, which can be incredibly costly if you aren't currently a student with access to a unique email account provided by your college or university.

Dribbble Playbook

Included with a Dribbble Pro plan, Dribbble playbook is an easy way of turning your existing Dribbble profile into a clean and simple portfolio with no additional set-up or design required.

Simply select the projects you want to feature in your profile, choose the order you want to feature them in, and you're done! Dribbble Playbook is also completely mobile-responsive, meaning that your work continues to look great regardless of your screen size or the type of device you're viewing it on.

However, the down side to 'included with...' platforms like Dribbble Playbook is that other than selecting a single featured project shot and an accompanying highlight colour, there are absolutely no additional customisation or visual tailoring options available.

For designers simply looking for a basic way to display quick snapshots of their latest projects or in-development work then this isn't likely to be an issue, but if you're looking for really-detailed way to showcase truly stand-out case studies then it might be worthwhile exploring other options.


Included by default as part of a Dribbble Pro plan, from $12 per month or $60 per year if paid annually.


  • Free, provided you're already paying for a Dribbble Pro plan.
  • Incredibly quick and easy to set-up. If you already have a Dribbble account then you're halfway there.
  • Mobile-responsive by default.
  • User-friendly interface.


  • No customisation options at all - other than the work featured on an individual profile, all Dribbble Playbooks look identical to one another.
  • No way to tailor the overall layout of individual projects.
  • Custom domain support exists, but it needs to be manually set-up through your domain provider which can be quite confusing for those without the technical know-how.

Which Website Builder to Choose for your Design and Illustration Portfolio

Overall, each of the website builders listed above have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and the right platform for you will almost entirely depend on the kind of online portfolio you’re looking to build.

If you’re looking for something that allows you to create a website as close to your original design as possible without needing to learn code, then Wix or Webflow are fantastic places to start. If all you’re looking for is a beautifully simple website template without any advanced functionality that allows you to present your work as cleanly as possible, then Squarespace, Dribbble Playbook or Adobe Portfolio will likely be the best options for you. However, if you want complete creative control and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty with some basic coding here and there, then WordPress is without a doubt the most flexible website development platform currently available.

Additional Resources

Finished up your online graphic design and illustration portfolio and ready to take it on the road?

Then why not take a look through our helpful guides below, featuring information on how to ensure you stand out to potential employers in the creative industries and how to nail any interview you land along the way.

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