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Whether you’re looking for design inspiration, new creative talent, or if you’re curious about what FIDM’s Graphic Design and Digital Media programs have to offer, check back during the next couple of weeks to get fresh design inspiration from new portfolios of graduating FIDM Graphic Design Students.
Various logo design concepts for Wild Oak Records, Myth beauty product and Fruit of the Loom. Baquerizo entertainment graphics portfolio includes clever copy writing, strong concepts and beautifully executed entertainment design posters and advertising in her portfolio.
With four California campuses located in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industries, FIDM is a leading, accredited college offering specialized Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. Design The growth of the internet over the past decade and a half, both in popularity and technology, has ushered in a unique and dynamic means for creative professionals to advertise their wares and talents.
But, to borrow from the great, Stan Lee, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Your online graphic design portfolio is more than an economical advertising piece.
If we all work on the premise that your personal online portfolio is an extension of you, then how you decide to design your corner of the web is entirely subjective and to taste.
Here is one of the few moments you will be able to inject your personality, without compromise, into your work.
If you are anything like me, you have a Moleskine notebook full of undeveloped ideas and inspirations. There are some fundamental questions your portfolio should always answer for the visitor, preferably on your home page. Adding a photograph of yourself, whether a professional headshot or a snapshot from your latest vacation, is a straightforward way of personalizing and, dare I say, humanizing your portfolio.
Does this mean that you run the risk of the visitor making a negative judgement about you based on your photograph? Where you place your photo is dependent upon your level of comfort and ultimately how you are branding yourself. A photo of yourself can create a more personal touch to your portfolio, and can also give a more trusting impression. If such a brazen form of self promotion leaves you feeling somewhat awkward, you can place your photograph on any of your sub pages; such as your “About” or “Contact” page. As you can ascertain from the two examples chosen, there are no right or wrong methods here and there is nothing but upside to adding your photograph to your website. Probably the most difficult task at hand will be selecting exactly what work you will display on your portfolio website. What should you do when you are just entering the field and don’t have a wide array of portfolio content? Conversely, if you are a freelance designer just starting out, did not attend design school and have very little to no client work to speak of, feel comfortable to include your first-rate experimentation. Dustin Allen Pace’s portfolio is sprinkled with admirable work he completed as a student as well as his personal exploratory exercises in graphic design. You can take this one step further by affording the user an opportunity to see even more detail by installing any of the varied jQuery image overlay plug ins freely available, such as FancyBox.
Understand that the task of being truly objective about your work is challenging when editing your work. If you are finding it difficult to choose between all of your showpieces, find an objective person, whether friend, spouse, relative or colleague, that you trust to critique your options. Once you have gone through the painstaking process of discarding the excess, make sure your recent work is easily obtainable from the home page.
Aaron Moody’s portfolio website is a titular example of effectively displaying your latest work on your home page. Another great example of presenting your recent work on your home page is Fred Maya’s portfolio website. The one thing you want to always remind yourself is to keep your portfolio uncluttered and to the point.
The heading might seem a bit melodramatic but it is necessary to discuss what to possibly avoid on your portfolio website. Every nuance of your portfolio should go under a microscope before you release it to the wild.
Remember some 15 odd years ago when you would frequently come across a website with some intricate animated home page with a visitor counter and a large “Click Here to Enter” link?
ThemeForest, as well as any other site that sells prefabricated website theme files, is a great service for non professionals.
There is a small caveat here for those who are traditional print designers making the transition to designing for the web.
Unfortunately, as with all walks of life, there are some less scrupulous people in our profession.
Purposefully, there are no meaningful discussions about inspiring portfolio designs themselves. Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Onextrapixel. Erik Ford is the co-owner and lead designer at We Are Pixel8, a boutique graphic and web design studio located in Los Angeles and New York. Join the community and stay updated with useful design and development resources and materials for FREE.
No other graphic design program has the same unique focus on the fashion and entertainment industries, teaching creative expression in all aspects of print media, logo development, corporate identity, product branding, packaging, apparel graphics and more. FIDM has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment for more than 45 years.

She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. Virtually absent are the days of purchasing expensive portfolios and art presentation books to showcase your past accomplishments. It is an open window into your professional life that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is why it is crucial to make sure you have covered all of your bases and anticipated as many of your potential users’ questions as possible all the while avoiding some known, and often ignored, pitfalls along the way.
From textured to minimal, and everything in between, the frame you create to house your artwork should somehow reflect your viewpoint on design. You are going to have to dedicate more time to your own website than you would to a client project, which can seem daunting at the outset.
You probably have tomes filled with illegible scribbles and notes that came to you at the most inopportune moment, with the promise of becoming your next great opus.
You can obviously provide more detailed answers within the interior of your site but if your home page does not somehow address the following, you are failing on some level.
Give your visitor an easy way of getting in contact with you either via email, contact form or phone number. Probably so, if the photograph is in some way definitively offensive or you haven’t presented yourself in a professional manner. Some graphic designers, such as Leah Haggar, have opted for large images of themselves on the home page.
Sofie Hallor, a talented illustrator and graphic designer located in Sweden, has included a portrait of herself, in her “About” section, that seamlessly matches her style of work. Well, if you are a recent graduate from design school, it is a good rule of thumb to display only the creme de la creme from your latest academic year.
Never lose sight that the elements you want to communicate in your portfolio are your capabilities as a designer. This will allow you to keep the user on the current page while unveiling a comprehensive version of the image they are interested in.
Accept that you are probably very passionate about your achievements and feel a deep personal attachment to them. One of the easiest ways to do so is to dive right in and prominently display your latest masterpiece as soon as the page loads.
Once the site loads, the user is presented with three of his most recently completed projects.
Similar to Aaron, Fred has opted to super serve the user with his latest work on his home page with multiple screen shots of each project and a link, where applicable, to the live websites. Before you add any item, simply ask yourself whether the addition is necessary or superfluous. This will give you the added freedom of discussing problems encountered and solutions discovered during the course of the project. Now that we have gotten nostalgia out of the way, allow your splash page to go the way of the Dodo bird. But, if your goal is to be taken seriously as a graphic designer, do not purchase one of these themes and simply add your work.
In this case, you may not have the necessary knowledge to design and code your own personal site at this time.
And though I would think that this would be obvious, never, under any circumstance, present work created by another as your own.
In the case that you have collaborated with another professional, clearly label your contributions and give credit to your colleague.
I am including additional examples of online design portfolios that support the discussion in one way or another. Besides being an all around design addict, he is also a proud father, an ex-music biz exec and rabid NY "Football" Giants fan.
We strive to share the best web resources with the community but we are not affiliated to any other agency or company. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles. You no longer have to carry these oft-times large and cumbersome attache cases from meeting to meeting, interview to interview. The caveat here is that you will not be present to help the visitor understand who you are, what you are capable of accomplishing nor what type of asset you can potentially be to them. As long as you are not distracting the visitor from the work itself, you should feel uninhibited when it comes to the design process.
A primary reason for taking the turtle’s approach is because of just how difficult it is to design for yourself. It’s time to blow the dust off of those dog eared pages and devise a road map of what will become your portfolio. In a not so subtle way, a small personal connection has been established between you and the visitor.
This persuasively makes a link between the designer and the visitor by implicitly introducing you to the artist behind the art. A photo of yourself can also work as a great branding tool and can help solidify your business.

The simple fact of the matter is that the more pieces you have in your portfolio will not guarantee you preference over the competition.
You will eventually be able to display client work, in time, but well conceived student or personal work will speak volumes for you right now. Obviously, live working examples are essential but you cannot always assume that the user will click on the corresponding link. Clicking on any of these will enact the prettyPhoto plug in which gives the visitor additional controls over further enlarging the image or continuing to browse all of the large versions of her pieces. Remember, agency owners, Art Directors and potential clients will only scan your work looking for the gems.
This no muss, no fuss approach trims the fat and gets directly to the point with large screen shots and project titles. With case study pages you can also include client testimonials and provide a varying amount of screen shots not suitable for the home or portfolio page. If that reflection is sullied in any way or leaves the visitor with a negative impression of you and your work, you are doing yourself a grave disservice.
Of course, mistakes happen and some things do inevitably fall between the cracks from time to time. I can safely say that you will lose more visitors than you retain by employing this “old school” trick. In our search for freelance designers to add to our team, we actually received one portfolio submission, out of 200 plus, that appropriated the entire website of a fellow design agency! Doing so exemplifies a level of honesty on your part that speaks volumes to a potential employer about your character. The only person that can ultimately determine the what, how and why of your portfolio is you. But you are not going to find your “voice” by browsing a litany of feats by your fellow design colleagues. In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). In 2010 all you commonly need is a domain name, web hosting, some front-end web development skills and a vision. Otherwise, if they are making a negative assessment about you based on your appearance, race or gender you probably don’t want to be associated with them. This is especially true if your portfolio is bloated with projects that are not immediately fascinating.
If you choose to do so, you run the risk of your exemplary work being lost amongst the deluge.
If those nuggets are not readily accessible, the potential of losing your prospective employer or client just increased nominally. Essentially, Aaron has provided you with everything you need to see immediately without the inconvenience of having to search for it.
The user can also browse additional screen shots of any project, while never leaving the home page, using the ColorBox jQuery plug in.
The newer project will likely, whether you recognize it or not, show your growth as a designer and, by default, render your past efforts obsolete. Adding case study pages will mean more writing so only plan on having this aspect if you are prepared for the additional work involved.
It is incredibly frustrating to land on a website that starts blaring a random electronic tune and having to frantically search for the stop button. But don’t allow a visitor to make a negative assessment about you simply because you could not tell the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”.
Take everything I’ve stated with a grain of salt and apply what is advantageous to you and discard anything that is not. This will only happen with constant individual explorations and a willingness to fail before you succeed.
Of course, we wouldn’t be in the profession we have chosen if this personality trait wasn’t wired into our DNA but, many times, this can lead to days, and sometimes months, of procrastinating. But, whatever you do, do not launch any of the Creative Suite applications with the hopes that it will just come to you. We will discuss content later in this post but if you don’t have sterling examples to show, you will want to table the project until you do. A potential client or employer will want to communicate directly with you and not through a third party social networking application. What is unacceptable is the person labeling themselves as a “web designer” who uses purchased web design templates.
The awful truth is this approach will lead to a self imposed obstruction from your goal more times than not.
Just make sure you have optimized your images using Yahoo!'s Smush.It, or any equivalent application.
The only thing I can liken this to is a person labeling themselves as a dessert chef using cake mix from a box. This will ensure those beautiful widescreen images will not turn your page load speed into a crawl.

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