Portfolio Websites


Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#1
Ever used one? What's your favourite platform?

I can respect anyone who has the time and skill to build their own website from the ground up but I'm not one of those individuals. Years ago I had a great website on Squarespace (before it was cool :p) but there came a time when I needed to kill it off. Since then I've put my work on the likes of Artstation, Behance, Weebly, WIX and all the social medias.

Weebly and WIX just don't cut it for me, and at the moment I'm wondering if I should fork out some dosh to upgrate my membership on either Behance or Artstation to Adobe Portfolio or Artstation Pro respectively.

Not sure which to use as my "proper" website, or even if I need bother. Will clients/employers really care about a "Powered By..." logo on my site? Probably. The Adobe Portfolio looks nicer than Artstation Pro, but is more expensive since it's part of an Adobe subscription (which I don't need right now).

Any thoughts?
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#2
In the past I used Behance and had a premium Dribbble account alongside a self-hosted solution. Recently I stripped my site of a CMS completely in favour of a 'static' site using Pico. It requires some coding knowledge so probably not ideal for what you need, but I can add new work by just uploading a text file and some images to a folder. There are free themes available, but again, might not be worthwhile you looking at setting it up yourself.

Depending on who your clients are, I don't think the platform will matter, so long as they can see your work and contact you easily. Just ensure it's optimised for different screens and devices, loads quickly and doesn't have hideous mobile navigation or superfluous features and you should be fine.
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#3
Yeah I think Pico is probably the wrong fit for me. But thanks for the input @Paul Murray :D
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#4
Big pictures!

A lot of portfolio sites show thumbnails which you then have to click on to see the full sized thing. It's a complete pain - especially as most non-business browsing is done on phones and tablets when people are used to scrolling.

Keep it simple. Show me big pictures I can scroll through. Use a CMS like wordpress and add captions, calls to action and other pertinent data. No cost required (other than a bit of hosting) and you can switch themes for free as often as you like. And no coding skills required.

Get it right and you can generate a lot of good leads.
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#5
Big pictures!

A lot of portfolio sites show thumbnails which you then have to click on to see the full sized thing. It's a complete pain - especially as most non-business browsing is done on phones and tablets when people are used to scrolling.

Keep it simple. Show me big pictures I can scroll through. Use a CMS like wordpress and add captions, calls to action and other pertinent data. No cost required (other than a bit of hosting) and you can switch themes for free as often as you like. And no coding skills required.

Get it right and you can generate a lot of good leads.
I've considered the one-page approach with scrolling image, but a lot of my projects require multiple images to get the point across, especially the games I've worked on, and what about the people who like to see the process behind the work?

Unless you're talking about having big images scrollable AFTER clicking the thumbnail for the project? In which case yes, totally.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#6
No. I looked at the site in your signature and is a bunch of thumbnails. I had to hover to even know what they were. Replace the thumbnails with big images and captions, Link the images to the project page. And don't use artstation. It makes it look like you are too cheap to get your own site.
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#7
No. I looked at the site in your signature and is a bunch of thumbnails. I had to hover to even know what they were. Replace the thumbnails with big images and captions, Link the images to the project page. And don't use artstation. It makes it look like you are too cheap to get your own site.
Ah I see. Nice. I have been trying out Adobe Portfolio, not published yet but this is what it looks like so far.
Do other people agree on the no thumbnails point? Portfolio Websites, , SEO, Social Media & Online Marketing Forum:
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#8
Each of the images is cropped. I have to take an action to see the full image and from there take another action to go back to the portfolio homepage.

But if the first image on the site was full sized and the best work you have ever done I'd be interested to see more. Consider also someone looking at the site on a touch screen - they won't even get the hover.

Test, test and test again. split test various layouts and see wehich one gets the most traction. Monitor your analytics to see what devices are being used to access the site and make the most popular the focus of your design.

And if it turns out thumbnails are OK, I'd still give them a bit of padding so they aren't squished together. Whitespace can really enhance a layout
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#9
Hmm... I reckon you've swayed me on the large images front. It could make the site much more immediate. Has anyone here had experience using Adobe Portfolio or Artstation Pro though? I'm looking to find out what people think about the available platforms primarily.
 
hankscorpio

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#10
I actually like the site. The thumbnails give a wide range of variety to what is on offer and the skills at hand.

I'd prefer to see all the thumbnails. And perhaps clicking on them gives some sort of a feature that you can surf through the pics like a gallery.

I'm not a web designer, but I know what I like and if I'm looking for an illustrator I want to see a broad range of skills. Not just the best work.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#11
I'm a big fan of Behance personally.

Wordpress is pretty easy to use even without any tech knowledge.

1000's of free and premium themes that are easy to customise and swap for others.
You can get hosting and a domain for as little as £30 per year as well.

When I'm looking for an illustrator I like to see contact details so I can find them and kill them to narrow the market.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#12
I actually like the site. The thumbnails give a wide range of variety to what is on offer and the skills at hand.
Which is why you need to test with and without thumbnails.
I'm looking to find out what people think about the available platforms primarily.
Wordpress. I wouldn't even consider anything else. There are some stunning portfolio themes you can get for just a few dollars.

I've used this free theme for a number of clients: http://dessign.net/unittheme/

Or if you want to stick with the thumbnail try this one is really nice: http://andersnoren.se/themes/hitchcock/
 
Paul Murray

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Hmm... I reckon you've swayed me on the large images front. It could make the site much more immediate.
If I was working with a client I'd probably want to look at creating some user personas about now to get an idea of what their target market is trying to achieve whilst using their site.

Who is most likely to view your work and want to hire you? If it's art directors/commissioners, they might prefer to see a vast selection of your work at once to get a sense of your style so they know straight away if it's right for their project. In that instance, thumbnails might be better.

Looking at your current site, you seem to have a lot of game-art work, so if casual/mobile game studios are your primary market, perhaps larger images with a short description that show off more of the project as a whole are better to entice them into reading a full case study with a call to action at the end.
 
scotty

scotty

Moderator
Staff member
#15
I personally like thumbs and especially in that kind of masonry look but I think larger images would suit your work better as there're so much lovely detail in them and it'd be good to show the quality of your work from the off.

If you did go with thumbs then you could always have a slider at the top to scroll through selected works in a larger scale.
Best of both worlds. ;)
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#17
I've considered Wordpress, never found an easy way to use it that's as easy as the likes of Behance though.
Once you get your head round the wordpress way it is really easy to work with.
That's a wordpress theme.

And while is it nice there are a number of issues with the theme. For starters is uses a hero image which umpteen tests have shown to be ineffective. And Google only scores it 20/100 in page speed - which is now becoming an important ranking factor. If you aren't interested on being found on Google then it's not an issue.
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#18
Once you get your head round the wordpress way it is really easy to work with.
I think I'll politely disagree with you on that one. Simple tasks are obstructed by a UI I personally find unintuitive, you can't edit pages in the view they'll have to the end user and all tutorials I've found appear to be out of date referencing menus/options that have either changed or moved.
 
fisicx

fisicx

Active Member
#19
And that's because it's a CMS not a drag and drop thing. WYSIWYG doesn't work because wordpress themes are responsive and the layout changes to suit the device in use. With wordpress you add the content to the page and let the theme manage the layout.

For example. If you want a gallery you click on the 'Add Media' button. then select add gallery. Insert the images, rearrange as necessary and add captions. Update and change the gallery settings (columns, image size etc). All you will see in the editor is the gallery. It's only when you publish that the theme does it's magic and make it look pretty.

Not sure what tutorials you were looking at but the best place to begin is the wordpress codex: https://codex.wordpress.org/Getting_Started_with_WordPress

If you don't want to use a CMS that's fine. But whenever I've searched for an illustrator or artist the one's I've chosen have had great self hosted portfolio sites. Those using behance or deviantart or whatever never seemed (to me) to be serious about marketing themselves.
 
Jimlad

Jimlad

Well-Known Member
#20
Ok thanks for the feedback guys. If anyone HAS used the pro/upgraded/branding-free versions of the platforms I mentioned in the first post please let me know how your experience was. I may look at Wordpress again, though I can't say it's for me at the moment.
 
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