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Ideas and Thoughts about Online Portfolios

Ideas and Thoughts about Online Portfolios
Written by Magoz
5 min read 11.4k views 15 comments

During the last months, I’ve been thinking and studying the role of the website for illustrators, artists and other creatives. Last week I launched my new website introducing several changes and polishing the general appearance.

I would like to share with you some thoughts behind the redesign. It might be useful for you if you are considering creating a new website or updating it.

Basic things before starting

  • Simplicity
    The times of complex and overloaded portfolios are gone. Make your website as simple as you can. Remove everything that doesn’t add value to your portfolio.
  • Usability
    Make your website very easy to navigate and make the different sections very clear: About, Portfolio, Shop, etc.
  • Quality is better than quantity
    Publish only the best works you have and make sure they create a solid and coherent portfolio. Your clients want to have a clear idea of which kind of work you develop. Don’t confuse them with different styles and divergent projects.
  • Keep it updated
    Add new images to your portfolio every few months (ideally, monthly). It gives the impression you are active. If you have a blog, and you never update it, remove the link from your portfolio.
  • About me page
    Take time to plan and write the about me section. It’s very important since it’s the reflection of your work and personality. Besides including the necessary information like your contact information, this page tells a lot about yourself. Are you talkative? Frugal? Funny? Serious? Do you have a story to tell? While you maintain your professionalism, you can add some hints and a lot of information about yourself taking care of what you say and how you say it.

Some thoughts about how people interact with the website nowadays

  • People spend less time on the site than years ago. The bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) is higher than ever.
  • Most people use the home page to have a general impression of you and your work. Most people don’t click on any project.
  • People like an email subscription to receive updates.
  • People like small details as animations and shortcuts.
  • People leave the websites that are slow or complicated to navigate.
  • The number of users that access the website from smartphones and tablets is increasing. But it isn’t yet comparable to the desktop users.
  • A solid and unique portfolio can create the perception that your work is stronger. A bad one can make your work worse.

Changes I applied to my website

  • Home slider
    I’ve added a slider featuring my shop, articles from the blog, and including a subscription form. That’s a great space where people can subscribe to my email list and where I can announce new products, articles or whatever I want to make very visible for the visitors.
  • Homepage
    Now my home page features bigger images, and the thumbnails maintain the proportions of the original images. You can discover all my work from the home page without any click, just scrolling.
  • Single project page
    I’ve added a full-colour background to the single project page. As my illustrations are focused on a conceptual idea and most of them have a flat colour background, the full-colour background gives my images a bigger impact. The header is hidden by default, so it gives more space and focus on the images.
  • About me
    I’ve added and introduction to the about me page that contains the most relevant information. You can scroll down and access to more information as my bio, client list or awards.
  • Mobile versions
    My web is fully responsive for small desktop screens, tablets, small tablets, phablets, and smartphones. I’ve added a fixed bottom menu simulating the smartphone apps, where you can have a clear idea of the different parts of my website. I’ve also maintained the burger menu to access the different categories of the portfolio, blog and shop.
  • Details
    There are hundreds of small details or animations you can discover while you navigate the site. For instance, you can browse through single project pages with the keyboard arrows < and >, the header hides when you scroll down (and appears again when you scroll up), and animations appear when you place your cursor on top of my icon in the header. You can discover more details just playing with the website.


Conclusions

Every year the Internet evolves and the way we use it changes too.
Our websites should evolve as well to adapt to the new ways of interaction.

A professional website is the basis of any illustrator, designer or artist who wants to be professional. It’s the way to tell the clients and followers which is the work you develop, also giving them a way to contact you and showing your personality. Having an updated website is a must.

Do you have any other thoughts about portfolios? As always I would love to know your ideas in the comments!

PS: My online course Strategy & Business for Illustrators is now available for pre-order!

Magoz

Nomadic illustrator. Thinker. Seeker.

15 comments

  1. Great! Congratulations.

  2. Great job!
    I am your fan ;)

  3. Nice! Great job!

  4. very informative – thanks dude!!

  5. Very informative – starting out with my own online presence now while at uni so I have a few years to really get into the workings of it.
    Your blog is great from my mobile too.

    • Thank you, Ej.
      I wish you all the best for the new adventure you are just starting. I will keep sharing my thoughts and experience trying to help.

  6. M
    Mariam

    Hi Magoz! Que tal?
    I am curious if you worked with a developer on your site or used a service? For example, the shop integration is very pretty so was wondering specifically about that. If you’d rather not share this info, I understand!
    Hope all is good!
    Your friend from Dubai ;).
    Mariam

    • Hi, Mariam!! Hope you are doing well :-)
      My websites are running WordPress, and I coded my themes from scratch by myself. I don’t recommend that option unless you have the required knowledge and a couple of months.
      The option I recommend is using Semplice. It’s well coded, very powerful and customisable. It also runs on WordPress.

      If you need any help, let me know!

      • Hi again :)! Nice to know you worked on it, the details are very nice! I like playing around with the code and stuff as well. I have my site and love WordPress as well but I’m integrating a shop now (most probably with Shopify or BigCartel) so was curious about that. Semplice has always looked interesting to me but WordPress I always felt I can rely on more cause it has had support for so many years so you feel it will never go anywhere – will check it out though maybe on other projects!
        Thanks for the tips :)!
        M

        • Actually, Semplice runs on WordPress, it’s just a very customizable template. For the shop, I use Woocommerce plugin for WordPress, it has all the capabilities of a very flexible and powerful online shop and you maintain all the benefits of using WordPress. If you know how to code and you enjoy doing it, it can be a good option, there are hundreds of great shop templates out there.

          Good luck Mariam! And keep me posted :-)

  7. M
    Mariam

    Woocommerce, ok I’ll add it to the runners up. And will definitely give Semplice a go as well…so many fun things to do and try, that’s the beauty of digital. Thanks!
    I’ll let you know once it’s all done and if I stumble on anything interesting as well :)
    Happy and creative day!
    M

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