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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!