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Portfolio site in the third person. Does it add gravitas or seem a bit pretentious?

over 4 years ago from , Independent designer

Working through my new portfolio site. Design done, pieces of work to showcase selected, writing copy… structure's there, most of it completed but I'm on the cusp of changing everything to the third person.

It sort of adds an extra something to me, it evokes a sense of experience and authority but at the same time, it just feels a little pretentious. I've seen other examples dotted around and haven't taken that much offence.

Would honestly love to hear your views on this especially from a hiring perspective.

12 comments

  • Scott ThomasScott Thomas, over 4 years ago

    Scott recently read someone's about section in 3rd person... and it annoyed him very much. Scott thinks it is your site, it should about you, your team, and the client. If you were a company that would make more sense. However, that is just Scotts 2 cents.

    8 points
  • John Moore Williams, over 4 years ago

    At the end of the day, it's your call, and your choice should be shaped by how you want to present yourself. Though you'll definitely want to consider your audience in the decision.

    To over-generalize, the third-person format tends to be used in more traditional, "professional," and academic spaces, but the first-person is rapidly becoming more accepted, and IMO, sounds more natural.

    I personally find it a little pretentious outside of the aforementioned spaces. From a hiring perspective, it would turn me off, as I tend to look for writers with a more personable, conversational style. (But it wouldn't be a candidate-killer, by any means.)

    6 points
    • Dean Hayden, over 4 years ago

      Agree. In the past I have worked on a knee surgeons and building conservators site, made sense in those instances and it was also the norm within their fields.

      For a freelance designer it makes less sense, unless they're exceptionally renowned (which I'm not).

      1 point
  • Fran RosaFran Rosa, over 4 years ago

    General trend is to address the person visiting your portfolio directly instead of using third person writing.

    Unless you are using it to write in a novelistic or journalistic tone, and it has a reason — for example if your body of work has been designing books or newspapers — there is no reason to use third person.

    Sometimes people find it more easy to write about themselves that way because it feels less aggressive, but in the same way some less experienced designers try to use lighter color contrast trying to hide the fact that they are not good with composition, and it doesn't fix anything, just make it worse, if you think talking directly you're being aggressive, just work on your tone.

    Also, writing copy is hard, and if you're not good at it, just consider hiring a professional writer.

    3 points
    • Dean Hayden, over 4 years ago

      Copy writing is hard and I think when you're writing about yourself it's even harder. Definitely think I'll get some friends who lean more towards that discipline to have a look and get additional advice.

      Tone, is the tough one to crack and part of a designers job is to solve the visual side of this.

      As mentioned, I have structure sorted and I think the tone should be worked on so it reflects my work and personality.

      Thanks for the help.

      0 points
  • Account deleted over 4 years ago

    Pretentious. Also it makes no sense. If it is your portfolio site that you have made, why would someone else be talking about you?

    3 points
  • Account deleted over 4 years ago

    Like others have said, I think it depends on the goal of your portfolio... what is its use and what kind of impression do you want to give.

    If your goal is to simply have a portfolio to say "Hey, I'm Dean, here's some stuff I've done"... keep it 1st person.

    If your goal is to say "Hello and welcome to Hayden, a disciplined agency with decades of collective experience and recipient of over a dozen awards"... go 3rd.

    There is kind of a subtle, tonal distinction between a business that wants to earn a another company's business and a designer offering up his skills to help another company out.

    I prefer being me and rocking first-person, but if I was part of a collective or had even one other employee, I'd be rocking the 3rd. The only exception to that would be if I was decent enough where I had name recognition in the industry... and had an agent representing me. In that case - 3rd all the way.

    2 points
    • Dean Hayden, over 4 years ago

      Have to agree. I'm not part of a collective, it's just me. So, third person isn't right on reflection but overall tone needs addressing (covered in another comment)

      0 points
  • Simone Simone , over 4 years ago

    Third person is only appropriate if you're relevant enough that someone else actually wrote your bio.

    0 points