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.
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.
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.
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!).