ADVICE / 52
today’s question: what makes a great portfolio site?
every artist should have one! i think it’s important to have something to represent you when someone googles your name or company. it should be easy to navigate and give the user a clear idea of who you are and what you do. even if you’re just starting out and you’re not sure where you’re going. it could just be a tumblr site. something. anything.
i think the best portfolio sites are the basic ones with no frills. nothing too precious or complicated. i just want to see your best projects and find your contact info. a potential client or employer just wants to click through quickly and be impressed. bri and i wrote about presenting your best projects in job interviews and to clients and the same advice goes for your site too. only show what you’re most proud of. show the projects that you want to keep doing. do you love doing illustrations? keep those on your site (and keep updating it)! when potential clients check it out, they will see illustrations and think that is what you like to do and want to keep doing. if you like doing multiple things, then include pages with individual projects within them.
i also think it’s important to keep a couple of your best projects limited to your actual portfolio for interviewing. they will be refreshing when you’re meeting with someone who has already clicked through most of your work online. you could consider your online portfolio a summary of your physical one.
don’t forget your contact page! i’ve been to many portfolio sites where i couldn’t figure out how to email the artist. then the moment passes and i forget about them. it’s a bummer. you don’t need to include your phone number or address; an email is totally fine. if you have a blog that involves what you do professionally, include it under there. it will be another avenue for someone to explore who you are even more. if it’s about your personal life…maybe save that for your family and friends.
when i first started working on my portfolio site in college i thought it was really important that i build it from scratch. looking back i want to smack my 21 year old self and tell her not to waste all that time. i didn’t want to be a web designer or developer, so why drag myself through all that coding? i am now hosting my portfolio with cargo collective. it’s $60 a year and comes with great templates. what i love the most about them is that i can update my site from anywhere and on any device. the interface for uploading work and editing copy is so freakin easy. updating your portfolio can be a daunting task, but they make it quick. i like it and would highly recommend them.
(hides under the table) well, this is embarrassing. i haven’t updated my graphic design portfolio in ages…but sometimes you can give better advice that you can take yourself, right? i truly belive that whatever you choose to focus on, with your whole heart, will be successful. if i was in a place where i wanted to do graphic design projects more often, i would be updating my site constantly. perfecting it. adding personal projects. things have shifted around a bit for me and i think of my blog as a portfolio for the types of projects i am working on now. clients can take a look at the partnerships i have done in the past and get a feeling for my brand.
BUT! there are so many people out there doing it right! i have had this one bookmarked for over a year and it still stands the test of time. i love the sideways scrolling and the separated projects. and how powerful is this landing page image? you’re hired. i also like the simplicity of this one. see how ALL the info you need to reach the artist is in the footer? very smart. (social media too! – i hate searching around for this…i usually give up.)
something that stands out the most to me on a portfolio site is the photography. if i am looking around for a florals designer to collaborate with for blogshop, they could have the most beautiful arrangements on their site but if the photos are bad there is a good chance i might skip right over them on accident. i know certain event planners that will only work with photographers that they know and trust…because they want to be able to share the photos after on their portfolio (i guess they learned this lesson the hard way after weeks of preparation and nothing to really show for it.) i admit to being lazy on this one and not setting aside a weekend to photograph my recent work the correct way. they always say it can be the hardest to work on your own brand!
so i’d say you should hire a photographer to shoot your projects (have your clients send you samples of your work in action!) did you design a logo that was used in a restaurant? send someone over there to shoot it properly. did you style an event that you are really proud of? make sure to get the picture proof. did you design some amazing invitations? style them up nice. i love how maemae paperie does that!
are you on behance? i’ve heard a lot of people get jobs from posting their work on there! i stumbled upon this one tonight and was impressed.
so what do you say? are you inspired to go work on your portfolio now? have you been dragging your feet like i have? or have you come out with a portfolio you are super proud of lately?