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New portfolio website layout

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by Krey20, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Hi all, after a few months of work my physical portfolio is beginning to take shape nicely, so it's about time I began turning my attentions towards a new website.
    I've just made up a visual in Illustrator to start with, let me know your thoughts.


    I'm planning to carry on with the remainder of the site in the same style, but I have a few stumbling blocks.

    Firstly I don't code, so I'm not entirely sure how to go about artworking the layouts so a coder can take them and use them. I've only ever cobbled together previous websites using photoshop and dreamweaver, which was fine for their purposes but I want to do things correctly this time.

    I'm on the look out for a coder as well, one that will be able to take me through how they want the artwork and hopefully help explain how the integration of a blog will affect the design and eventual maintenance of the site, as I'd like to be able to maintain it myself, to a point. I'm not completely clueless, just need things spelling out to me initially.
    The full site will be the home page, 9 portfolio pages, the blog and a contact page.

    I'd be grateful for your comments, bearing in mind this is at a very early stage.

  2. tbwcf

    tbwcf Active Member

    Hi Ken,

    to be honest I don't think its particuarily exciting and based on the business cards you did, you can do better...

    It's clean and works but in my opinion unless your going to use it for showing your work loud and proud right from the home page then you could probably come up with something more interesting with the general design?

    On a function point to view I don't see why what you've got there couldn't use a wp cms / be part of a blog the main problem would be the font you've used throughout the body copy isn't a font found on most computers (arial, times, georgia, trebuchet etc) meaning to have it like that it would have to be an image, which wouldn't be good to SEO and you wouldn't be able to update through a CMS.

    for your headers go for it and use something nicer and more interesting like you have (can be images or flash text replacement etc) but for the body copy it needs to be something more practicle/.

    As someone thats started in print and move into web I've found it best not to think too hard about how your going to code it but to design first then use making it all work as a challenge and will make your coding progress quickly.

    As it stands I also think the navigation is a bit lost and would probably want to be more obvious?

    I hope that helps?
  3. tbwcf

    tbwcf Active Member

    I just wanted to add that creating your own website portfolio is one of the toughest jobs I think you can do, I've always struggled partially because its hard to find the time (which is a good thing in a way if your busy with projects for other ppl - paid projects) but also because you have no real brief...

    who are you looking to impress, other designers, prospective employers, prospective clients (a bit of all of them?) ((retorical question))

    & a designers ideas for their own site are constantly progressing and changing I guess because the job never really has an end, its always on your mind and always being developed.

    Keep at it!
  4. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    What I want to produce is a layout that is attractive and simple but will ultimately take a back seat to the work I'm displaying on it.
    I also want to use it to carry through the identity that I made a few months back, it's important to me that there is a very strong visual link between my business cards, website and pretty much everything else I put out there.

    Your suggestion of putting the work up "loud and proud" straight from the off makes a lot of sense, bearing in mind what I've just written in the previous paragraphs. It seems a bit pointless trying to fill a home page with snippets of what else is on the site too.

    I'll work on another visual, and put a few suggestions into practice.

    I quite liked the understated navigation though. I've never been a fan of massive buttons taking over the page, plus I'd plan to have active links throughout the examples to make the navigation quite intuitive and fluid. If that makes sense?
  5. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

  6. berry

    berry Active Member

    Krey, It's a layout but not a form of communication. There has to be a reason for the site and the design. It doesn't tell me anything about you, your thoughts, your ethos. Showcasing work is an design skill in itself. Too many sites resemble blogs and delete the communication elements. The work is not enough now. People need to see or understand the business benefit or proposition. There is no sell... Imagine if you saw a client - how would you communicate or form a dialogue to sell your portfolio. Or would you just slap it on the dsk and let him flick through while you picked you nose? What YOU want is of no concern to anyone, what the prospective client wants is a different issue. Advertising and Design and the sales process is very simple.- Step into the clients shoes and try and see what they want to see.

    It's not about you, it's about them ( BB book of Life)

    Step back and ask, have I communicated fully all the things that will make someone make an informed and postitiuve decision based on my design?

    Also.... that trite opener.. Welcome!!!! Welcome should be on doormats not websites. It's so obvious and overused and totally pedestrian. We are in the creative business... If welcome is the best opening gambit, then we're well and truly buggered from the off.
  7. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    I agree with berry (seam to say that a lot these days) but his words are wise. your re-design looks nice but its pretty mainstreem/boring. Similar to what berry said put yourself in a potential clients shoes, think about what you'd want to see and the reasons your on your site in the first place.

    Give them a reason to want you and more importantly a reason to choose you - one of many. your work looks great, think as cretaively as you do in your other projects and you'll soon land on a great design that communicates the brand and work in the best possible way.

    (ps dont judge me on my own site, WIP)
  8. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Thank you for your posts guys!

    And thank you for the advice. You are quite right. It seems very easy to become self-indulgent when doing work for yourself. I've always found it difficult to split myself into designer AND client.

    This is why I have loved the forums since I've been here. The advice you receive seems so simple and obvious when it is put in front of you that you wonder how you might have been blind to it in the first place. If I was a client and a designer gave me a layout without a message I'd be pretty annoyed!

    I have a few good ideas, but I'll go back to the beginning and figure out what it is I'm trying to say and the best way to say it.
  9. berry

    berry Active Member

    Hey, nobody's perfect...I'm only 98%...... I've been working on the other 2% for the last 10 years.

    Paul Arden said, "Never be precious to an idea, throw it away and start again - and a better idea will emerge". ( Paul Arden Book of Life!)
  10. Proof? :lol:
  11. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    Its hard to believe at the time, but it always turns out that way... Great advice.
  12. berry

    berry Active Member

    That good looking guy in the mirror keeps telling me that every morning.:D
  13. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Weird! I have a good looking guy in my mirror too. Then I put my glasses on. :D

    I've made more amendments, and I feel like I've made some good progress. I'm still figuring out my copy-writing, and think it's a little over the top at the moment so I'm going to try and reign it in a bit.

    I'd be very grateful for any comments you might have.

    Home Page Visual: LINK DELETED

    Portfolio Page Visual: LINK DELETED

    Project Page Visual: LINK DELETED

  14. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Any feedback would be gratefully received. Thanks.
  15. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    Wow what an improvement! Grabbed my attention and definately "communicated a message" so thumbs up for that one, have a gold star :p

    I have a few critisisms (other than my spelling) the first being on the home page - Im not convinced you need more than one attention grabber, stick with the aces amongst the jokers perhaps make it even bigger?

    Secondly, and lastly... On your indepth portfolio page (the radio) I would suggest adding some form of dimension to the grey pannel that cuts into the page.. it looks half complete but also reminds me of a failed table layout thats playing up. My recomendation would be to add some shadow fading along the top of the grey onto the white, make it look asthough its lying ontop of the white, perhaps a light gradient would also help achieve this look. Make it jump off the page in the same way the first page does.
  16. tbwcf

    tbwcf Active Member

    Miles, miles, miles better! (that's 3 miles - or 4.8km)

    You've got the fonts sorted now and I think the navigation works much better like that!

    Excellent strap line and use of your cards!

    Good work!
  17. berry

    berry Active Member

    Much better attempt at communication ( see..Paul Arden was right.....bastard!)

    Like the Ace and your card concepts from before, in this visual the Ace is upside down and you brand icon upside down. I would move the freelance descriptor away from the navigation and back to brand Id on the left. I would try and compromise and get some of the portfolio imagery in as a large slab clickable thumbnail to break up the heavy text bias. Well done.
  18. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Thanks for all of your comments.

    @ br3n: I think you might be correct about the second attention grabber, the poker chips probably aren't needed. I might well try to maximise the one idea for maximum impact.

    And thanks for the heads up about the portfolio page looking like a coding error, I'd have never thought of that one. I'll have to figue out a way of defining the page a bit more. I'm not a great fan of drop shadows, especially with the clean lines I've been using for the layout so far, not sure if it would clash a bit.

    @ Berry: The Ace and Logo will always look upside down with that particular shot because of the reflected design of the playing cards, But I made sure that the names and tag line on the Ace was the correct way up. So I'm not sure how much of that can be changed for the better. I wanted the branding of the cards to be quite subtle as well.

    I will try to introduce some of the portfolio banners onto the home page but I'm afraid it will unbalance the simplicity and impact of what I have so far.

    Thanks again for your input, it really helps.

  19. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    Love the ace/card thing! Looks good dude!
  20. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Here's the latest version of the home page. I'm really happy with it, pretty close to running with it in fact but I'd still like to hear any thoughts you all might have.


    I've put the portfolio banner links onto the page, this saves me a needless portfolio splash page, so the portfolio link in the header goes straight to the first project page.
    If this makes no sense I apologise, but it makes sense to me!

    I'm working on the portfolio pages, and contact page but I'm not sure how to approach the blog page I'll need consult with whoever is going to build the site on that one I guess.

    Cheers all.

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