What makes a good designer’s website?

Platform. Book. Showcase. Work. Opportunity. Creative. Design. Thoughts. Idea. Venture.

These are just some of the ideas that spring to my mind when I think of a designer’s website.

When I initially started recruiting, it was in graphic design. It was mainly portfolio based but we did still attach CV’s. Now that I recruit purely in digital, I have never been asked, not once for a CV.

It’s all visual.

Obviously, this applies to this profession, and yes, experience is still crucial of where you have previously worked. But the point I am stressing is that agencies are becoming less agency + CV biased and much more focused on creative content that is produced in your portfolio.

Hence the importance of having impact on what your website showcases. I hear the all too common remark from designers when it comes to updating their website ‘I’m just too busy I don’t have the time’. I hear you. And I believe you.

Coming from a design background myself, I used to do fashion design and illustration at London College of Fashion at University, so I know the importance of showcasing your work. But also, the importance to keep it current and relevant.

Creative peeps, you may be busy now, but once your current freelance contract finishes, all you will be left with is an out of date website and work will be a wee bit harder to get. So, block out a weekend, or two, and don’t let all your talent build up into a mountain. Keep adding as you go along.

So, what really makes a good website?

A portfolio is an extension of yourself. Wouldn’t you want to look good? What would your Instagram piers think?

I look at quite a few UI designers’ websites every day. If you are a brand/ print/ artworker etc. or any creative type reading here, this applies to you too.

‘Less is more’ as Robert Browning famously wrote.  That’s a phrase I apply to all aspects of life. It’s very easy to want to showcase every piece of work you have ever made. Working in the advertising industry, its fast, clients typically spend about 10 seconds getting a good impression of your work. So, its needs to have impact and have minimal scrolling.

Have your best pieces at the beginning. It’s about being concise and selective with work. Its all about variety. Elevating different options, whether that be the sector you have worked in, or the type of design from eCommerce to responsive app design.

Don’t emphasise something you can’t do. I see it all too often with UI designers getting flirtatious with UX. They create one wireframe and suddenly they have UX Designer as their next freelance title.

Its not fooling anyone. Work your way up to it. Don’t put it as a skill set unless you have mastered it to a relevant degree.

When it comes to developing a site, you don’t necessarily need a developer. There are some brilliant website design platforms out there, I found Format or Squarespace particularly good. With so many malleable options to arrange your work, you can easily do it yourself, whilst still looking professional. There are others that I feel are a little outdated such as Behance, plus you can’t customise it to show your work to its best.

Also, don’t forget to make it mobile responsive if you can. According to eMarketers’ Time Spent with Media forecast, people spend far more time browsing their phones than their desktops, and this is only going to continue to grow.

So, what’s the summary? Keep it current, relevant, bold, concise and minimal. Be creative with all the details, look towards crafty typography, composition importantly towards negative space to offset your work with carefully selected tones and colours. It will take you far.

Enjoy the process :)

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