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New Design Portfolio - Honest Feedback/Suggestions Please!

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by Sneakyheathen, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    So my new portfolio is up at Professional Website Creation | Deadly Clever Designs. The designs in the portfolio page are live, as well, so feel free to critique the overall "style" of my designs. I've been told they're too plain, so I'm not sure what to do to keep moving forward. ;) That's not to say I think I'm perfect, I've just reached the brink of my ideas.

    HONEST critique and feedback, please. I'm really good with criticism. :up:
  2. Aarlev

    Aarlev Member

    To be honest I think it is a bit on the plain side. The gradient bar and shiny arrows in the menu creates a kind of in between look in my opinion. I think you have to decide whether you want to go for a very minimalistic style or a more graphical orientated design. If you're going for the simple and minimalistic I think mrleesimpson from this forum has created a brilliant example of a very simple design that is still visually appealing and works extremely well. | The portfolio of North East based website & graphic designer Lee Simpson.

    Your logo is nice, but I'd align it to the left instead. And perhaps make the top bar a flat color and change the menu item images. Or leave the top bar as it is and then work in some more elements. Perhaps introduce a background or something.

    Oh and your top portfolio piece is linking to an empty blog.

    Just my 2 cents.
  3. berry

    berry Active Member

    Overall design is bland and plain like a supermarket curry.
    The web is full of thousands of great looking websites by designers. Your starting point should be your styling. If you want to go forward you have to be creative in your inspirations and designs, and not just work within your own limitations. Designers should look at other Designers and say;" I wish I did that!" You really need to look at all the great stuff, copy it, mimic it, try and understand it, change it, develop it then add your own spin on it. If you can't do inspirational work for yourself then why should a client be interested in commisioning you? Also you say you do Logos and Brand ID but I don't see any.
    Just because you have a website online doesn't mean its a good one or it works. Critisism is hard and ruthless, but you should never be precious to ideas. Throw them away and a better one will arrive. First check out the world!
  4. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    Thanks for the link. I think I understand what you're saying about in between. I'll probably try to be more on the graphical side, but I do love the minimalist style, so, I'll just have to see what works for me. As for the empty blog, I guess I'll take it down if the client has yet to use it? :confused: I think I understand how it's kind of lingering between the two, though.

    Thanks for the honesty! I'm going to address the first part of your comment, not cuz I wasn't listening to the inspirational part, but just because it was more of a general statement about design and not really about my specific portfolio. But thanks for the thoughts on improving. Oh and I created the logos for both Diligent and Inspired Musician. I guess I'll create a specific section for the designs.

    I can definitely see that "plain" is where I'm getting stuck. I'll take the inspiration advice into consideration and start trying to implement elements I like into my own design. Thanks guys. :cool:
  5. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

  6. matt

    matt Member

    Yo, Sneaks (mind if I call you Sneaks? Good).

    I know very little about site design, but here's a couple of typographic tips you may want to consider if you're touting yourself as a graphic designer of any sort:

    Your drop cap 'D' in your opening paragraph should (actually, MUST) sit on a baseline, at least one baseline below the first line of text (otherwise it's a standing cap). Unfortunately the shape of a D is going to make for some awkward kerning, so you may want to think about losing the big D altogether.

    Secondly, you have what's called a widow in your paragraph about yourself (the poor, lonely services all on its own). You might want to re-word that text, or play with the tracking a bit to get rid of it.
  7. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    Thanks for the Drop-cap information. I'll probably do what you said and change up the copy. Too many rhetorical questions anyways.

    Can you explain what you mean about the "window"? I'm not getting it. :confused:
  8. matt

    matt Member

    A widow is the type-geek term given to a very short line at the bottom of a paragraph (usually just one or two words) which makes the text look unbalanced and awkward. Your about the designer text has the word services all on it's own on the bottom line. This is a bit of a no-no coming from a designer, so I would re-word or play with the tracking to get rid of that.

    The bottom line of your top paragraph also looks a bit short relative to the rest of the paragraph, so that could be considered a widow too. But you could probably get away with that one if you want to.

    Looks like your drop-cap T is still floating above the baseline too, (the baseline is the invisible line which all the type sits on). If you bring that down a little, so the bottom of your T sits on the same invisible line as the stand out... line, then it'll sit much more comfortably in your layout.

    Also, where you've made you want yours to stand out bold, you shouldn't really make the punctuation after it bold too.
  9. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    Thanks for the explanations! I'll get to work on fixing those small things. I hadn't really noticed about the windows but now that you mention it it's irritating me, haha.
  10. berry

    berry Active Member

    Sneakyheathan , some typography info - Widows, Orphans, Kerning and stuff

    A widow is a very short line – usually one word, or the end of a hyphenated word – at the end of a paragraph or column. A widow is considered poor typography because it leaves too much white space between paragraphs or at the bottom of a page. This interrupts the reader’s eye and diminishes readability.


    The space between lines of type, traditionally measured, baseline-to-baseline, in points. Text type is generally set with one or two points of leading; for example, 10-point type with 2 points of leading. This is described as 10/12, read “Ten on Twelve” or “Ten over Twelve”.

    Like a widow, an orphan is a single word, part of a word or very short line, except it appears at the beginning of a column or a page. This results in poor horizontal alignment at the top of the column or page. The term “orphan” is not as commonly used as “widow,” but the concept is the same.

    Squeezing together characters, for a better fit of strokes and white space. In display type, characters almost need to be kerned because the white space between characters at large sizes is more noticeable. The adjustment of horizontal space between individual characters in a line of text. Adjustments in kerning are especially important in large display and headline text lines. Without kerning adjustments, many letter combinations can look awkward. The objective of kerning is to create visually equal spaces between all letters so that the eye can move smoothly along the text.

    Traditionally, x-height is the height of the lowercase letter x. It is also the height of the body of lowercase letters in a font, excluding the ascenders and descenders. Some lower-case letters that do not have ascenders or descenders still extend a little bit above or below the x-height as part of their design. The x-height can vary greatly from typeface to typeface at the same point size.

    Attached Files:

  11. matt

    matt Member

    er... thanks, Berry
  12. berry

    berry Active Member

    Ooops! sorry Matt,
    this was meant for Sneakyheathen not you, following on from your comments.
    It's a Sunday and the wine is still in the system!
  13. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    Wow! Haha, thanks for all the information. Lots of stuff to keep in mind. o_O
  14. berry

    berry Active Member

    Everything we do has 90% type in it. If you can understand the rudiments of typography then you will master the craft of being a designer, whether it web, print or ads. Ignore them and you'll be on the checkout at Tesco's with the rest of your year
  15. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    That'd be interesting because it'd mean I had enough money to fly overseas to England just to go broke and get a job at a grocery store. :p But I understand what you're saying. :) and they have good pasta.
  16. matt

    matt Member

    Blimey, that's a bit harsh. But true, anyone who wants to call themselves a designer, be it web, print, motion etc. MUST have a good understanding of typography, it's the foundation of good design. Too many web and motion designers overlook the basics of type and work suffers as a result.

    This is an interesting article and probably worth a read: A Guide to Web Typography. The Basics: contrast, size, hierarchy, space | i love typography, the typography and fonts blog and I can highly recommend adding The Complete Manual Of Typography by James Felici, and/or The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst to your Christmas list. Both are exceptionally good resources for anything and everything typography.
  17. jHouse

    jHouse Senior Member


    Wow. I've always wondered if there was a word to describe that.
  18. Sneakyheathen

    Sneakyheathen Member

    Ligature? Isn't that part of a woodwind instrument? Haha.

    I took out the dropcaps altogether and got rid of the "widows."

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