When I look around the landscape of designer website portfolios, most seem to fall into one of three categories:
1. It’s great but content is completely outdated
2. It’s changed completely every time the designer gets a free weekend.
3. They gave up altogether and just rock the splash page.
I’ve went through an unbelievable number of different styles, types and builds of complex personal websites spanning across all three of the above categories. Few of these lasted more than 6 months and in between all of these were huge spans of time where I had not much more than my name and email on a blank page.
As I begin thinking about a new site for myself, there’s some things I want to keep in mind:
Do I humbly embrace the past?
I think honesty and humility as a designer begins with just showing up with what you have in the moment. If you want people to see the potential of you as a designer, it’s a hell of a lot bigger jump from nothing to that described potential than from some form of existing work then forward. In the places where I share work in real time, I’m encouraged to see how I’m growing in my ability to deliver a quality execution of whatever I’m doing.
Do I show my work?
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when I go to a designers website, click a project and simply see 4-5 images lined up and absolutely nothing said about them. The more interesting the images, the more frustrating it is.
Showing your designs without speaking the journey that brought you to this shiny conclusion you ended up with it an huge injustice to all your hard work. What was the problem you were asked to solve? What’s your relationship with the client? What techniques did you use to execute this work? Who did you work with to get what I’m looking at? What inspired you aesthetically and/or conceptually?
I never want to become that designer that talks about “design” all day but doesn’t actually do it. It’s a balance. Delivering great work but also explaining how you got there.
Do I speak to the future?
Past work only becomes limiting when nothing becomes of it. Am I constantly looking back and learning from my mistakes? For everything your work doesn’t say itself, speak to the future. I want to talk about what inspires me and what I aspire to do beyond what I’m currently doing. I realize that my danger is not showing mediocre, past work. The danger is when I stop learning - when I stop taking each project and building on what I’ve already accomplished.
My career isn’t a destination rather this crazy path of hi’s and lows in which I get the privilege of making a living making amazing things that I and the people around me can enjoy. Why should my website be so different than that?
For me, doing the three points above means publishing the work I do have and doing it in real time as I move along in my little journey as a designer. I look forward to beginning to share more of my work and thoughts in real time to anyone who cares to pay attention.
Although I understand some legitimate reasons why it happens, I’m still quite annoyed when artists release good tracks with sub par or totally awful artwork.
While I won’t commit to making something cool everyday, I did take some time today to create a alternate cover for Imogene Heap’s “Hide and Seek”.