Member Offer
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Portfolio Site Design

Discussion in 'Website Design Critique:' started by davewill, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Hi guys,
    Im in the process of setting up my own personal website as a place to display my work. The site will be based on a wordpress template I have purchased. Im aiming to personalise myself. The template can be seen here...

    As far as I understand, the image at the centre of the homepage has to stay where it is so I have designed around that. The plan is to show a few samples of work that run in a slideshow and then more work can be seen my selecting the 'work' tab from the top menu.

    I have attached my latest design for the homepage (which includes my new logo) and shown how the homepage would look when displaying a few different work samples. I cant decide if I need more texture/interest in the background image. Im also wrestling with the best way to display my logo (i.e top left, bottom centre) and Im not sure if the wording I have added underneath the image is a bit cheesy or maybe even in the wrong section (might be better in the contact section?)

    I also cant get happy on a colour for my logo, I see it working in black and white mostly, but that makes the overall page quite monochromatic so I thought it needed a splash of colour to make it stand out.

    Anyway, any feedback or tips would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    My initial suggestions would be to loose the horrid (sorry to be blunt) gradient background. It looks a little cheap and you don't want to ruin your image after you've spent all that time creating a nice clean logo!! Try a 'cleaner' approach with potentially a solid colour, white, light grey and black tend to compliment the presentation of photographs. Personally, matched with your purple logo, a nice light grey would suit nicely in my opinion.

    I would then look at doing something with the navigation fonts and including your logo at the top. At least add more spacing between the lettering in the navigation.

    Hope this helps
  3. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Personally I really like it. Background is a bit off and the bottom part a TAD cheesy but other than that I think it will work well once you've tweaked it some more
  4. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Chris: Don't worry about being blunt, thats fine by me! I slightly disagree with your comments though, I feel giving solid colours some mood, movement, blending and tone elevates them and adds more interest. Maybe thats just my style but Im not a fan of big blocks of colour.
    I agree with you that the navigation needs more spacing. The fonts is something I could change for the nav to make it more simple (i.e an arial/myriad etc) however I cant really change the font for my logo at the top as that needs to match the rest of my branding which all uses leger.

    Jim: thanks for the concise compliment! Do you agree with Chris' comments? Do you have any thoughts on the wording?
  5. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Hi Dave,

    I really like the new identity and the purple you're using within this design, but I have to say I think the idea of taking an existing theme and customising it to your needs is really limiting your creativity and potential with this site design. I'd highly recommend bringing in a developer to code you a custom WP theme from a unique design, it will look better for potential clients, and give you a greater opportunity to show what you can do.

    I think having the logo at the bottom of the page with the type only logo at the top detracts from the work you've done on the new logo IMO, it could look so good centered at the top of the page on a clean background! :)

    Sorry to be a bit negative, hopefully you'll take the positive from it, and if you do decide to go down the custom WP theme route drop me a PM I may be able to help you out a bit, otherwise recommend speaking to Andy (tbwcf).

  6. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    That's OK. To argue my point a little more then. The gradient does detract from the images themselves and distracts your eye from them. The vignetting also feels a little claustrophobic. Also I'm not sure if the horizon line is really working either. By all means try a gradient or defocused image or something, as I have seen t used nicely, but personally that doesn't work for me! It doesn't follow the style of the logo and it doesn't leave a good impression on me, it just cheapens the rest of the design...
  7. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    Sorry, my first recommendation should've also been to design and build your own (through outsourcing if necessary). Definitely worth investing proper time and effort if you want to gain business from this.
  8. Jimlad

    Jimlad Well-Known Member

    Ok then, to expand...

    If you're going to use a dark gradient background I think you should keep it simpler, get rid of the horizontal line. It's distracting, breaks the flow of the page and I find I'm looking at it more than the work - get rid.

    As for the wording, it's too waffly. I'd shorten it. I get where you're going with the Dave will... idea, I just don't think it works in a long sentence. Think of the PS3 "It only does EVERYTHING" ads. Short and snappy use of the idea.

    Considering all the work you put into the logo, which I've already commented on as being brilliant, it's a shame the template doesn't allow you better placement for it. Can the slideshow images be made any lower?

    Edit - Look at the layout and tilt your head upside down! That'd work nicely. The inverted layout, not making everyone tilt their head...
  9. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Really helpful comments guys.

    Greg: I did consider going down that route and I actually got a few quotes from developers but it seemed like an expensive option for the position I am in at the moment. Im sure it would be worth it in the long term but with saving for a wedding and a house at the moment I decided I needed to keep the cost down by doing a lot of the work myself and due to my lack of web skills this seemed like the best option at the moment.
    I agree that the logo would look better at the top but as you have pointed out I am restricted by the theme so Im having to work around its layout. Obviously its not ideal but thats the route Ive taken so I feel like I cant go back now Ive paid for the template!

    Chris: You make a good argument. I was wary of the vignetting closing in on the images causing that feeling of claustrophobia. I do like the idea of the site being black overall as the work I will be displaying in the gallery will stand out and give the overall site more colour.
    The horizon was added to give the site some perspective as I felt the images were floating in the centre of the page.
    Thanks for your honestly though Chris, youve given me some food for thought.
  10. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Drop me a PM with the kinds of prices being mentioned, I'll see if there's anyway I can help :)
    As already been mentioned, it seems a great shame for this to be limiting your design!
  11. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Sorry Jim, missed your post as I was replying to others. Obviously your comments agree with those of Chris when it comes to the horizontal line. Ill take a second look at it.

    The wording is waffly and I cant decide if I need it. I added it because the name DaveWill Design was created based on the idea of 'Dave Will Design, Dave Will Illustrate, Dave Will Blog' etc but Im not sure if that is obvious enough to the reader. Maybe Im underestimating people but I was looking for a way to make sure people realise the name has a double meaning as I dont want them to miss the point.
    As for the height of the slideshow images, Im unsure if it can be moved, maybe if I understood wordpress properly and CSS then I could tell you, but as far as my knowledge goes I dont see how it can be moved, but theres a good chance I could be wrong!
  12. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I would have a word with Greg and see if he can help you out an derestrict your layout options!

    I think black does everything but add colour to a website, or anything for that matter. Honestly, white would be better, but if you want something a little different than white, I would still push a light grey. The light grey and purple compliment each other and is quite trendy and contemporary. As opposed to the current colour which feels more gothic and web 1.0 ;)

    Also, on the homepage, the image doesn't have to be a photograph of just work, you could incorporate some text to say what you do in there and blend the box into the background (so it doesn't look like a box, but only achievable with a solid colour background)

    Keep on working at it though, you'll get there.
  13. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Thanks Chris. I have just popped Greg a PM to see what he thinks. I agree that the black can easily look gothic and that definitely isnt my intention. I want it to look modern, stylish, contemporary.

    When I said the gallery would add more colour I meant that the work I will be displaying shows a wide range of colours, so when they are all shown together on the gallery page then I would need a simple background (like black) to balance off against all of the colour and pull it all together. I just didnt explain myself very well.

    As for the homepage images, I was toying between the idea of showing work, or just showing my logo in different environments (i.e on a brick wall, projected into the sky a la batman,etc) I also experimented with using that space to write a short "hello" line of copy but I couldnt get happy with it.
    Thanks again for your help!
  14. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    I understand what you are trying to do with the 2 gradients (ie the floor hitting a wall) but that isn't what it looks like.

    Also photographers quite often use infinity walls (basically a curve wall to floor in one colour) so you could get away with a gradient like that.
  15. Krey20

    Krey20 Senior Member

    Hi Dave,

    Bit late to the party, but never mind.
    First off the new logo looks good. Clean, simple, compact and a really nice colour choice. It looks like your own personal 'seal of approval.'

    As for the web layouts I'm not a fan.
    I agree with Greg et al, that you shouldn't let the fact that you aren't confident coding restrain the design, or your creativity in designing for yourself. There are plenty of great coders on this forum alone that you could work with and get exactly what you want instead of settling for something half-arsed (not that the effort would be half-arsed of course!)

    The purple is such a great branding choice that you should be putting it front and centre. I always associate purple with quality, that might just be me.
    I would try to extrapolate a site from the logo you've developed. The site layout should be an extension of the identity you've developed in the logo. This means putting the logo front and centre (at least figuratively if not in reality) instead of hiding it away the bottom of the page.

    I'd be tempted to go quite minimal, solid colours of purple and white, possibly using the tints of purple sparingly as highlights.

    Sorry to be negative, but the visuals feel quite depressing, for want of a better word. The layout should be vibrant clean and modern like the logo begins to suggest.

    I think you need to take a good look at your new logo and start using the same elements to help you build page layouts. That's basically what corporate identity is, everything is an extension of the logo. You've got a good base with your logo, make the most of it!

    Hope his helps.
  16. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    On a side note, it might be pretty cool to get a stamp made of your lgoo for your stationery. This comes from Kreys comment on 'seal of approval'/ stamp of approval?! I have seen a stamp used effectively quite a few times. Adds an extra level of detail and texture.
  17. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    I promised Dave I would post some I go.

    I agree with the statements about the background.

    Also, agree move the branding, get it in a position of priority.

    Coding, ask someone else. I am still learning and probably know less than you.
  18. Greg

    Greg Active Member

    Liking that, and Ken's mention of the seal of approval, could look excellent :cool:
  19. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I really want the chance to use wax sealing on envelopes with a custom logo stamp. Real classy. ****in' like me innit! haha
  20. davewill

    davewill Senior Member

    Guys, your generosity to share your knowledge and time to help me out is amazing, I really am grateful for all the comments.

    Levi: The infinity wall is a nice idea for a gradient. I think Im definitely going to have to rethink every aspect of the background but I am a fan of gradients so thats definitely something Im going to experiment with.

    Ken: Thanks for the compliments on the new logo. Im so excited to get it "out there" on stationery, my blog, twitter page etc that maybe im rushing the website just so I can launch the new look.

    I agree that purple does often state a feeling of quality, (its quite a royal colour I guess, its always been deemed to be an expensive colour even way back into the old days of fabric dyes, it gets used alot on products like chocolate and perfume so hopefully my logo will give the impression of quality and luxury).

    Your advice about the layout and identity of the site makes sense. Ive been treating this design like a separate job when really, as you say, it should be an extension of my current branding.
    No need to apologise for being negative, I would much rather experience criticism now than at the end of the design process.

    Chris/Greg: Excellent idea about the stamp,ill be sure to look into it. Sounds like a nice idea to hand stamp some printed pieces. I could imagine now stamping business cards so each one is slightly unique.
    That also makes for interesting ideas when it comes to the design of the site. You could imagine a paper/card background with the logo "stamped" on to it. The rest of the theme of the site could also follow suit with navigation menus looking stamped etc. Ill deffo look into that as an idea and a concept for the site.

    Michael: All good points, appreciated and noted

Share This Page