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Portfolio Site development... #2

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by GilmoreVisuals, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Home - Gilmore Visuals Home Page

    I appreciated the critical and constructive feedback I received last time I posted on here, so I thought it would be a good idea to post again.

    Bit of context:
    I'm 18, on my final year of school- plan is next year (summer/autumn) to get an apprenticeship in a design firm in Nottingham. At the moment I do freelance work (apart from my studies) through the internet and through local contacts I have, but I'm wanting to develop this site so I can send my portfolio both to possible firms who would want me to work for them, as well as for clients to see my work.

    So I made the site on joomla 1.7. Its still in development and there are a last few things to do:

    Updated 4/12/11:
    - (Done) Add a twitter feed
    - Add the photo manipulation portfolio
    - (Done) Check up the form sending email
    - (in the future a blog maybe- what are peoples opinions on this?)

    What do people think? Layout? Design? Navigation? Content (images/text)? Colours? Pages?

    Thanks in advance! :)
  2. JamesBrentwood

    JamesBrentwood Senior Member

    This is a very well done website, easy navigation, things are self explanatory, its clean, and I think you're future updates are all good ones. Blogs are a good idea only if you intend on keeping up with it. They can really help your site ranking, but if the blog goes silent for too long it will hurt you more than help.

    One thing I couldn't help but notice is that the site doesn't really represent your portfolio very well. Your portfolio is so bright and full of life, but the site is very dark and bland in comparison. I would try to work some of that life back into the site.
  3. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it :) I will however personally disagree with the idea of livening up the background (at least, for now) because I want the attention going to the graphics, rather than the site design, and I think if it was livened up it might distract people from the real content of the site, if that makes any logical sense.

    I have made some quick updates on the first post too, added the twitter feed and sorted the mail form... by the way, could someone please send a test mail to me using the form Contact ? I tried it and it works fine, but just from a different location to make sure it works? Thanks!).

    I think I will start a blog in the future, but not at the moment, simply because I know I wouldn't keep it updated if I did start one.
  4. BenJonesDesign

    BenJonesDesign Active Member

    It's a template. Sorry but asking for feedback on something you haven't actually created isn't really acceptable for critique. In terms of the template you have chosen though it's a good template. I think that if you went for a template that went with your vibrant work I think it would start looking tacky as a site with too many effects doesn't always look great. If anything I would just choose a lighter shade of blue on the header and footer.
  5. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    True, but the content and layout was decided by me, so doesn't that count for requesting a critique? After all, its the site as a whole. I'm sure the vast majority of sites are based on other templates anyway (correct me if i'm wrong though)

    I mean, for example, this site is also created with a similar template GekkoTech - Home yet because of how the developer has laid it out it, and choices of colours, it doesn't look as 'slick', imo.
  6. JamesBrentwood

    JamesBrentwood Senior Member

    Yikes, didn't know it was a template.

    Honestly, I think a site should follow a persons work to some degree, it doesn't have to be over the top tacky, but it should be recognizable as distinctly his style.
    The fact that I now know this to be a template only highlights the fact that it doesn't match his work, because it's not his work.
  7. BenJonesDesign

    BenJonesDesign Active Member

    yes you are right a lot of people do use templates, but generally those people are people who aren't designers. The best way to grab attention on a site is to show off your style, and a lot of people do that by creating their site themselves, or working with someone who knows how to. I'm not saying that templates are a bad thing but they are quite generic and a lot of the time boring. The more original your design is, the more attention you will get. I'll admit my first site was a template, but looking back on it it was god aweful and represented my work in no way what so ever. The site I am currently designing for myself will be the best yet, but only because I have learned a lot over the past few years, learning new things where ever I can to improve not just my own skills but also to improve my overall style. The weird thing for me though is that with my new site I will be presenting myself as an artist, something I've always loved doing but also had design and illustration going on at the same time so never quite found my real style. Now finding it though I am able to produce something that is right for me.

    I'm not saying you have to learn web design but it is a very useful thing to know, especially when deciding on your own website.

    (sorry for the rambling :s....)
  8. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    No don't worry, its good to hear this sort of stuff :)

    I'll give this illustration to explain why I used template:

    Just like a DJ doesn't make his music, but chooses the music to be in his mix, so do I chose a web template to show my work but don't make one myself. A big part of the skill in being a DJ is selecting the music to be in a mix; he spends time, money, researching and editing the music he gets and uses- similar to what I did as I spend time, money, researching and editing the template I found.

    I don't want to spend the same amount of time I did last time I designed my site, but rather make sure that the focus of my site is clear, as a graphic designer. I also think the template is original- as I have never seen it used and the vast majority of people on the web will also experience the site as being new and original, with the exception of one or two designers that might have seen the template being used elsewhere.
  9. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    template is kind of old fashioned and I've seen it before too... it's ok to use a template but you need to make it yours rather than leaving it as found - you haven't done much to it even though you say you 'edited it'

    The site doesn't shout out designer either, it's not clear, there's no branding, there's just nothing which shouts out design. The first image could be associated with a dancer or music label.

    the cow 'photo manipulation' - I'm pretty sure that is taken from either a tutorial or somewhere else as I've seen it before a long time ago. You really should have used something original
  10. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Well, what I mean by I have 'designed' on the site is I have decided what colours, where the text box's go, what size the images and sideshows are etc - I don't see how I could customize it any more?

    I'm adding a few more things that might resolve that- I do think it is clear... why don't you think it is? Have you looked in the portfolio or seen the slide show? They have all designed content if that's what you are looking for... but what do you mean that 'nothing which is shouting design out' ?

    I was on the Isle of Skye (Scotland) during the Easter holidays in 2010, I borrowed my friends camera and shot the photo myself- after which when we got back he said it didn't look as nice because of the grass and the house behind it, so I took it out.

    So no tutorial, no inspiration, no copying and completely original.

    In any case, i'll take it as a compliment that something I created from 0 was thought to have been in a tutorial- just shows how it's a good idea :p
  11. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    um thats what you do with ALL templates last time I checked :rolleyes:

    if you can't tell what your site is about in 5 seconds then you will get people leaving before hitting another page.... look into bounce rate etc

    I never said it was good :p
  12. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    So why did you say I needed to make the template 'mine' when I already had done?

    Ok, so I made the first slide on the slideshow the GV logo and 'freelance graphic designer' and I also added that on the sites banner so people know what it is about. Need more? Thanks tho :)

    And I never said you said it was good :clap:
  13. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    because doing what is expected with a template (ie text, pictures etc) doesn't make the template your's, it just finishes off what the author expected you to do anyways.
  14. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Ah right, so you're saying I would need to actually change the graphics of the template to say i had edited it? If that's the case I wont be doing any 'edits' because I think it's already customized and personal, even if you say that's not technically true :)
  15. DeanZappy

    DeanZappy Senior Member

    I think I said something similar on your last thread, but the copy on your site is awful e.g 'See some his past work in his portfolio.'

    As well as the grammatical errors, most of the copy doesn't read well.

    Make sure you sort it out before the site goes live.
  16. GilmoreVisuals

    GilmoreVisuals Active Member

    Thanks Dean - i'll need to go over it (and get someone else to help maybe) and make sure the text is sorted.

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