Tag Archives: web design

Portfolio Showcase: Mike Kus

Our latest Portfolio Showcase comes from Mike Kus, graphic/web designer and illustrator. For a closer look, click on the screenshots to visit the respective area of his portfolio at mikekus.com.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a graphic designer, web designer, and illustrator. I come from a print background, but I now specialise in web design. I’m based in Bath, UK.

How long have you had an online portfolio?
I’ve had an online portfolio for a couple of years, but my current portfolio has only been up for a month or two.

What was your design process?
For my portfolio, I wanted to strip the design right back and make the page be all about the work on it. I also wanted the portfolio to be as simple as possible, hence the single page. I think too many portfolios are over complicated and I wanted people to be able to simply scroll down the page and browse my work. The site works on a 6-column grid, which I used to interlock the imagery. I think the patchwork effect of each portfolio entry works well in conveying the feel of a project.

Do you have any advice for other designers about creating online portfolios?
Keep it simple—let the work shine. It’s quality not quantity. If you only have two bits of work you’re truly proud of, only put two pieces of work in your portfolio.

Results for Survey for People Who Make Websites, 2009

A List Apart has released the results for its third annual “Survey for People Who Make Websites”, which gives professional writers, editors, designers, students, and hobbyists who have a role in web design a chance to share their experience with the field.

As in years past, what emerges is the first true picture of the profession of web design as it is practiced by men and women of all ages, across all continents, in corporations, agencies, non-profits, and freelance configurations.

A sampling of the results from this year’s survey:

  • Most satisfied: Educators. Least satisfied: Art directors.
  • The more web-related your work, the less likely you are to work less than 20 hours/week.
  • Traditional job titles (e.g. creative director, writer/editor, marketer) have the most pronounced skill gaps.

Check out the full results on the survey’s website. You can also download the raw data here.

Portfolio Showcase: Grace Smith

Our latest Portfolio Showcase comes from freelance web designer Grace Smith. For a closer look, click on the screenshots to visit the respective area of her portfolio at postscript5.co.uk.

gracesmith

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sure, I’m a 27-year-old web designer and owner of micro-design studio Postscript5, based in Northern Ireland. I work with individuals and companies based mainly in the UK and USA, on a diverse range of projects from branding and blog design to iPhone app development and application UIs. I’ve recently launched my latest personal project—The Freelance Feed—and enjoy blogging and contributing to other publications such as Computer Arts Projects and Mashable.

gracesmith-portfolio

How long have you had an online portfolio?
I’ve had an online portfolio since my first year of University, which would be approximately nine years now. However, my portfolio for Postscript5 was launched five years ago, which I would consider my first professional online portfolio.

gracesmith-services

What was your design process?
My focus was on creating a portfolio that was unique. I started with a color palette and went from there, with around 15 various revisions before deciding on the current design. I took the decision to create something that was simple, easy to update and navigate, all with a strong call to action on every page.

Creating a clean, efficient aesthetic was at the core of my process. I’ve actually started the redesign for Postscript5, with a complete overhaul of the brand and design.

gracesmith-process

Do you have any advice for other designers about creating online portfolios?
Creating a great online portfolio relies on first knowing exactly who your target audience is, what their specific wants and needs are, and then catering to these. You can start by creating an ideal client profile, then define your market by profiling it. Once you know this information, you will be in a much better place to position yourself for the best results and create a portfolio that truly connects with your audience.

I would also recommend:

  1. Only Display Your Best Work – You don’t want to give someone an excuse to say no to your work, so don’t include pieces that you don’t believe showcase your work at its best. Including too much means the viewer could easily get bored of your work, when you really want to leave them wanting more.
  2. Give Your Portfolio Context – If you’re not giving an overview of each piece of work in your portfolio, you are missing a valuable opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise on each particular project. You don’t need to write an essay, but it’s your chance to shine by giving some details that will allow each potential client to appreciate each piece not just on an aesthetic level, but on a practical client project level too.
  3. Provide Testimonials – These are an essential for any portfolio. Having reassuring quotes from previous clients helps quell uncertainty and acts as excellent ‘social proof’. Testimonials also do an excellent job of showcasing who else you have worked with and tells potential clients who they will be joining on your client list.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure it’s easy for them to contact you!

Portfolio Showcase: Kristen Byers

Our latest Portfolio Showcase comes from designer and writer Kristen Byers. For a closer look, click on the screenshots to visit the respective area of her portfolio at kristenbyers.net.
kristen-byers-about

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I work at the Monterey Institute of International Studies as the New Media Development Specialist. I mostly work with the Institute’s web and social media presences, but I get to design print documents from time to time. I also pick up the occasional freelance project, and my portfolio definitely comes in handy for that.
kristen-byers-home

How long have you had an online portfolio?
I’ve had a formal online portfolio since the spring of 2006, so for about 4 years now. You can still view the first iteration of my portfolio online. My portfolio has evolved quite a bit since then as I discovered that a content management system would make it way easier for me to add and feature new portfolio pieces. I’ve been using WordPress for my portfolio since 2008.
kristen-byers-portfolio

What was your design process?
I always start by choosing a color palette and then a typeface for my name. For some reason I see these as small, achievable goals that help me get the design ideas to start flowing. Then I seek out a WordPress theme that meets my basic needs (in terms of general layout, number of columns, built-in contact form, etc.). Determining my WordPress theme needs is probably the hardest part. Once I find a WordPress template that I can use as a starting point, I tweak the heck out of it to make it my own.

kristen-byers-header

Do you have any advice for other designers about creating online portfolios?
Remember that your digital portfolio is an ongoing process — it’s never really “done”. I have found that the best time to work on my portfolio (and resume, for that matter) is when I’m not actively seeking employment. That way the pressure is off and I feel much more relaxed about my design and content decisions. I highly recommend soliciting feedback from friends and coworkers during this time.

Also, don’t forget to create a favicon for your portfolio. It’s a great finishing touch (and often a fun challenge to try to represent yourself in 16×16 pixels!).

An experiment in crowdsourced web design

Joining a blogathon means committing yourself to a month of daily blogging—not an easy task. For this year’s WordCount Blogathon, one blogger approached the challenge with an experiment in web design.

Ron Doyle—freelance writer, web designer, and author of Blog Salad—let his readers vote on different elements of his blog’s design.

Yes, I know, my blog looks like it was created in 1994. Here’s why: For the next 31 days, you will decide the fate of my blog’s design. I’ll walk you through the stages of development and you’ll vote. I will make changes daily based on the results of my polls.

Everything, from layout and navigation to fonts and colors, was crowdsourced. Now, “design by committee” is a phrase that has come to represent the negative result of too many people having a say in a design project. It was even spoofed in “The Process“, a video that shows what the stop sign would look like if it had been designed by committee.

I admit that when I first read about Ron’s experiment, I saw it as a huge risk. I know my personal concerns would run along the lines of, “What if they choose a color I hate?” Or, “What if they insist on using Comic Sans in the logo because it’s ‘fun’?”

But while having too many opinions from people who aren’t knowledgeable about design has the potential to lead to disaster, isn’t it the job of the designer to incorporate requests, translate technical jargon for the client, and ultimately produce a design that is—while perhaps not what you would have done alone—still cohesive and professional? In his decision to hand over creative control to the internet, Ron turned a month of blogging into a month of learning how to be a better designer.

Breaking down the process this way makes me realize how complicated my job as a designer really is. For every decision that you made, I had to make three more to execute it. And there are at least 31 more things that need to be done. It’s an endless to-do list of those little details that only matter when someone stumbles upon them.

And it’s why [...] I’m more proud today of what I do for a living than I was 31 days ago. So, sincerely, thank you for helping me confirm my professional purpose.

What do you think? Good idea, or bad idea? Take a look at the transformation of Blog Salad over 31 days, condensed into 33 seconds.

In the Workplace with Abbe Tykwinski

Name: Abbe Tykwinski
Title: Print Production Coordinator
Website/Blog: abbetyk.blogspot.comWeb Design by Abbe Tykwinski
Location: Chicago, IL

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
I graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University. My track was Editing & Publishing, but I took a lot of the Digital & Technical Writing classes as well. After college I moved to Chicago and got a job re-designing the website of a writing instructor, which I enjoyed. I maintained the website until I got a job at a small publishing company that produced pages for office supply catalogs. I had a temporary job there as a proofreader and when they hired me full-time, I was given the task of re-designing their website as well as managing their image database, reporting on catalog data, and even doing some page makeup. I’ve also done a little freelance web design.

Tell us about your current job.
I currently work at CVS Caremark through a marketing/design staffing agency called Aquent. I started working here in January 2009. I work with two other people to print and assemble proposals and presentations and also a variety of marketing collateral. We run this stuff on the four digital presses we have in house.

I’ve diverged from that job description a little bit by helping design new print request forms and revamping the department’s project tracking database. When I started this job, the database we used captured no useful data other than the names of the projects and who requested them. When the VP of Marketing started to request actual reports, it was obvious we needed to change our system. Our workload had lightened substantially and we had hired a third production coordinator, so I used my downtime to build a new database in Filemaker. I’d never used Filemaker before so it was a real learning experience. I’m happy to say that today we have a functional database that captures all the cost, supply usage, and workload information that we need. Continue reading

Upcoming NYC events: Future of Web Design and 99% Conference

Future of Web Design 2009
Attention all web designers, creatives, and anyone who cares about web design: there’s still time to register for the Future of Web Design 2009 conference in New York City on November 16-17.

Future of Web Design 2009Workshops will be held on the 16th and the conference will be held on the 17th. Workshops will include designing with CSS3, best practices in web typography, techniques of modern web design, and more. There is a slew of talented designers lined up for the day of the conference, including speakers from Digg, Vimeo, and Microsoft. Click here to learn more about the conference speakers. You can opt for a one-day conference pass for $395 or a workshops + conference pass for $695.

Future of Web Design 2009
November 16-17, 2009
New World Stages
New York City
Registration

99% Conference 2010
99% Conference 2010The 99% Conference is about making ideas happen. The two-day event co-hosted by Behance and Cool Hunting brings together productive creative visionaries to offer a behind-the-scenes look at their processes as they share insights on pushing ideas forward.

Tickets are now on sale and there is a special early-bird ticket price of $399 (compared to $699 for regular tickets). The 2009 conference sold out quickly, so early registration is recommended.

99% Conference 2010
April 15-16, 2010
The Times Center
New York City
Registration

In the Workplace with Derek Moore

Name: Derek Moore
Title: Web Artist and Co-Founder of Simplify Advance
Website: http://dereksmoore.com
Location: Chicago, IL

Derek Moore

Tell us about your educational/professional background.
I am self-taught. When I was 16-years-old, I created my first website. I continued to make a few more, coding everything by hand. Eventually I started to get paid for the work I was doing. Now I get paid for all of my work or at least I’d like to think that’s the case.

Tell us about your current job.
Currently I am running my own shop called Simplify Advance. We make custom web applications for people with great ideas. We also make our own ideas come to life. You can check out http://beanvsleaf.com and http://makeapeep.com, two fun foundation apps that instigated the birth of Simplify Advance. Continue reading

Web Design Boot Camp

Web Design Boot CampThe Society for News Design is hosting a fantastic two-day course November 7-8 at the Columbia College Department of Journalism: Web Design Boot Camp.

During the course, Tyson Evans, interface engineer at The New York Times, and Dave Wright, senior interactive designer at NPR, will show how to build a compelling web design that fosters online storytelling using HTML/CSS and widgets.

This course is designed for beginners, particularly print designers who wish to transition to news design. Those who are at the intermediate level will still find value in the course topics and can work one-on-one with the instructors. The agenda includes:

  • The state of news design online
  • Understanding the web’s acronym soup
  • Making progress independently of your IT department or other restraints
  • Hands-on with HTML and CSS
  • Web design strategies on news-driven deadlines

Online registration is now open. The fee for the course is $400 for non-members and $200 for non-member students and faculty. Members of The Society for News Design, the Online News Association, the American Copy Editors Society, and the National Press Photographers Association can take advantage of a discounted rate of $300, or $150 if you are a student or faculty member. Click here for information about a Foundation training grant to help with costs.

Web Design Boot Camp
Saturday & Sunday, November 7-8, 2009
Columbia College Department of Journalism
Chicago, IL
Online Registration