Design Portfolio's

Nathan C

New Member
Hi Everyone,

I'm a Junior Graphic Designer currently based in Leigh with 3 Years experience. I have been at the same company for the past 3 years and it seems my time here might be coming to an end unfortunatly.

I am thinking about my next steps now, I have loved every minuite of design since I started doing it, but doing this job opened my eyes to other paths.

I have always thought about working in a print company as I have a real interest in print/production but I also have been on a Front-End Web Development course for the past few months and I have really took to that as well, my co-workers have been impressed with how quickly I have got to know code!

I'm a bit stuck on where I would go next. Where do you guys think the best oppurtunities are in the current working world?

Would love to hear your opinions/responses.

Cheers,
 

fisicx

Active Member
...but I also have been on a Front-End Web Development course for the past few months and I have really took to that as well, my co-workers have been impressed with how quickly I have got to know code!
There is plenty of work for front end developers. Working with react.js and headless CMS development seems to be the current vogue.

It's less about a portfolio and more about a demonstration of your skills. A lot of Front End Developers publish their scripts and applications on GitHub.

If you want easy money, WordPress themes and plugins can be very lucrative.
 

Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
I think we might have met at the Leigh Business Expo last year (or maybe the year before)? I recall talking to someone from CRE8, though I spoke to a lot of people at that event.

Where you go now depends on what you want to do. As mentioned, development is pretty sought after, but there's a difference between being able to build a website and being an actual developer. It's tough to be both a designer and developer, as keeping up with both industries (front-end development) in particular can be a full-time job. If you apply for developer jobs, even junior or entry-level, you'll need a certain set of skills, not just code but also tools like version control (most likely Git) and maybe even something like Grunt to automate tasks using Javascript. Basically, if you know correct HTML, CSS (and also a pre-processor version like Sass) and Javscript you're pretty set to take the dev path. That is, if you want to.

You might find you'd rather do something like motion graphics and animation. I've recently had companies ring me looking for someone with the skill to create animated SVGs urgently, and they were paying very well for the fast turnaround.

You might want to focus more on experience design. Or you can combine any of the above skills. Maybe you specialise in converting high fidelity app mock-ups into animated examples in After Effects. Or you use something like Principle (which is the tool I use) to create interactive examples. Or you can create interactive examples using Javscript in Figma. Or, you could just use raw Javascript and HTML+CSS to do them if you know what you're doing.

I'd focus on getting experience in whatever you you enjoy. If you want to do print, look for companies that do print design or look at working directly at a printers. So many skills are interchangable and just a little bit of experience in one area can really help you in another.
 

Nathan C

New Member
I think we might have met at the Leigh Business Expo last year (or maybe the year before)? I recall talking to someone from CRE8, though I spoke to a lot of people at that event.
Hi Paul,

Yeah I think I did meet you the year before last! Small world.

The training I have been doing on Front-End Development started with the basics of HTML CSS, then progressed to learn more in-depth HTML and CSS. I then learned the basics in Terminal and Git (very confusing at times). I am now working through SASS courses and the next unit is Javascript. I should be finished this learning path in August. So I think Front-End Web Development is a path I could go down.

I am really Interested in web design so maybe combining the skills I have learnt as a Junior Graphic Designer and the skills I am learning in Web-Development to work solely in web-design! I have designed websites at CRE8 and I enjoyed it so maybe that's the route to go down.

Then again I love graphic design so I sort of want to stay involved in that, ahhhhh decisions haha. I hope I can also find something as local as I am now but I guess only time will tell.

Cheers for the advice!
 

Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
I try and mainly do branding and web design, though you kind of have to do whatever comes along really. Most of the time I'm working on boring corporate documents or stuff for a social media post but that's the life of a freelancer.

The issue with offering web design as a service is there's so many other people offering "web design" that it can be hard to stand out. Design is a service but it's often sold as a commodity i.e. people want to buy a website rather than hiring a designer. My main selling point is that I design and build everything from scratch for that particular client, I don't use a framework or modify a base theme, it's all designed around them and their customers. But if you're working in-house somewhere, you likely won't have to worry about that. In fact, you probably will end up useinga framework or modifing a theme.

When looking for somewhere, try and find somewhere that already has an established development team. You generally don't want to be the only developer in a place, especially as a junior. You want an experienced senior dev to learn from.
 

Nathan C

New Member
I try and mainly do branding and web design, though you kind of have to do whatever comes along really. Most of the time I'm working on boring corporate documents or stuff for a social media post but that's the life of a freelancer.

The issue with offering web design as a service is there's so many other people offering "web design" that it can be hard to stand out. Design is a service but it's often sold as a commodity i.e. people want to buy a website rather than hiring a designer. My main selling point is that I design and build everything from scratch for that particular client, I don't use a framework or modify a base theme, it's all designed around them and their customers. But if you're working in-house somewhere, you likely won't have to worry about that. In fact, you probably will end up useinga framework or modifing a theme.

When looking for somewhere, try and find somewhere that already has an established development team. You generally don't want to be the only developer in a place, especially as a junior. You want an experienced senior dev to learn from.

Yeah I think that's the sort of thing I'm after. Where I am still able to do both design and development.

I would like to work under a experienced senior if I went down the Web Development route. I currently work with a Front End Web Developer with 6 years experience but I haven't really had a chance to go through the website build process just this minuite. I have been doing the training so not got round to that yet.

I have been building webpages from scratch as part of the learning path but I know we use bootstrap here.
 

fisicx

Active Member
I am now working through SASS courses and the next unit is Javascript. I should be finished this learning path in August. So I think Front-End Web Development is a path I could go down.
This is going to be the most important module. Nearly all sites now use JS for the much of the UI.
I have been building webpages from scratch as part of the learning path but I know we use bootstrap here.
Bootstrap is old technology. It's clunky and dated and has a lot of redundant and inefficient code. And it's not even needed for most sites. You can knock up a custom framework in a couple of hours if you really need one.

Modern websites are built using elements. This means each component is developed and tested and added to the project. For example, the responsive primary menu will be built independently of the rest of the page. Another element might be a lazy load or a login module. The days when a layout is crafted using Photoshop or some other tool and then converted to HTML/CSS are long gone.

Focus on the Javascript - it's the most important thing you will learn. HTML/CSS designers/developers are everywhere, don't try to compete with these.
 

Paul Murray

Ultimate Member
Focus on the Javascript - it's the most important thing you will learn.

This is true, Javscript is everywhere, though many developers have a love/hate relationship with it, mainly due to JS devs wanting to use JS for EVERYTHING.

Having a good grasp of Javascript is a decent basis for learning other languages too if you want to shift more towards back-end development. PHP is worth knowing as Laravel is a popular framework built in PHP that's used a lot, Python is popular for all kinds of things, and C# is required for .NET development.

Once you understand code and know how to solve problems with it, an experienced dev can pick up new languages very quickly so get the JS knowledge down.
 
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