Friday, 16 December 2011

Website Research

Over the summer I started to build my website. I suppose I had always seen the website as being something of an afterthought, a means of showing your portfolio to the world. I quickly discovered however that this is not the case, a poorly designed website will let down work of even the highest quality. There is an art to creating a website, as there is to any other form of design, and if I want to sell myself as a creative designer then I need to have a website with a creative design behind it.

In my opinion, a successful website for an illustrator (essentially an online portfolio with contact details) should be simple, professional, beautiful to look at and be easy to use. The idea is to give a potential client an overview of your work in a way that is interesting and represents your work well.

An example of a website that successfully achieves all of the above is the website of illustrator Gemma Correll. Her website opens with a charming start page that consists of a selection of her unique drawings and typography, each providing a link to various sections of the website (portfolio, blog, etc). I love this website design because every last detail of it its in her style, every page and every link has her personality and carries her 'voice'. I think that this is all important, because when constructing a website you want to sell yourself to a potential client as quickly as possible and with this website from the moment you enter you are entering this illustrators own quirky little 'world'. This is something that I need to incorporate into my own website, just having my work on the site isn't enough, every detail needs to carry with it a sense of my style to sell to a potential client. I could learn a lot from this example by Gemma Correll.

On the subject of making that first impression count, lets turn our attention to Chris Madden's website. Madden's website opens straight onto a page on which is his entire portfolio containing thirty pieces of work. Much like the website mentioned previously, when we enter this site we are entering a 'world' that is filled with the Madden style and voice. We get to know the artist instantly, right from the beginning. Gaining such an overview so quickly is no doubt just what a potential client is looking for and Madden's site does this perfectly.

As my website has been built on Cargo, it makes sense to look at sites using Cargo well. I very much like the way that Jack Teagle has set up his site, in a way that gives us an overview of the entire portfolio on the start page but also leaves room for plenty of white space so as not to feel cluttered. The same can be said for Alex Westgate's site, again we get all his work upfront but because he has stuck to a simple layout it is still easy to navigate.

My favourite website layout however has to be Malika Favre's site. The layout is simple, bold and confident; its all about using big, simple shapes and flat colours that coordinate well. It goes to show how effective a sophisticated use of minimalism can be, the website feels exciting and bursting with ideas and yet is easy to navigate. 

I could do well to learn from all of the above with my website, I want mine to be easy to use and yet bursting creativity and personality like these all have.

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