Back to Basics with Your Online Portfolio

Before you rush to social media, or create business cards, you first need a home base. Somewhere to channel everyone to go to and see your work. I’m not going to go into too much details about websites and designs, but I do want to just raise a few points for you to keep in your mind while you go through this process. Below are a few pointers for illustrators and artists to keep in mind when creating your online portfolio.

    1. Functionality – There are so many websites out there that have amazing information and works of art, but the functionality is terrible. Think about the user who is coming to your site. Who are they? What do they want? Do you have different things to offer? Users want to come in and within a few seconds find what they want.  They don’t want to jump through loop-holes and look for hidden menu items two thirds down the page. They also don’t want to read much. Keep text short, links must be obvious and make sure it’s clean.
    2. Portfolio – most people come to your site to see your portfolio. You might have other things to offer, like maybe products with your art on, or prints available – maybe you have a blog, but your portfolio must always be first. This is your primary reason for being on the internet, so make sure it’s the primary object on your website.
    3. Contact details – so often you go to an artist website and you think everything is amazing. But then when you want to contact them, either you can’t find the details, or you have to register and join newsletters, fill out forms, give your bank details, sacrifice your firstborn, and jump through a fire circle five times backwards, with underpants on your head, before you are able to submit. You want people to contact you. So supply that email address!
    4. Keep it low resolution! – Computer screens are built to be 75dpi. Even if your art is at 300dpi, the person will always see it at 75dpi, as their screen, which is displaying it, is 75dpi. Most screens are also 1366 pixels wide. Minus the edge of the browsers, and scroll bars, you are generally looking at about 1000px in width. But then that’s one image, filling that whole space. I would highly recommend you place thumbnails of your work at 80dpi and 300-400pixels on your website in a grid type format. If people want to see larger versions, then try make it so they can click on the image and a larger one will shop (but no more than 900px in width, at 80dpi). You don’t want your images to be overly large, as a) the image will take far too long to load, the potential client will get bored and move on, and b)  your hosting company will announce you need more space and then charge you a kidney.
    5. Fresh content – Search engines like your website to have fresh content. People also visiting your website like you to have fresh content. Later on in Module 2, we talk about content, but it might be good to also think about this for your website and create some sort of outlet for fresh content on your site, such as maybe a blog feature, or a way to post your photos. What ever content you are comfortable adding.

When it comes to designs and colour, the world is your colour palette. As long as it is still fairly clean and legible, then do what you want. Make it yours.  Obviously using your branding colours, etc on your website is good idea. If you have a banner on your website, then you can use the same on you are planning to use on your social media.

I hope these five basics pointers give you a good start on what to cover when creating your portfolio!

If you have any other tips on functionality to share, please do so in the comment section below 🙂 There are some great illustrators with some wonderful websites that I will share soon!


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