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What do you designers use as your portfolio?

4 years ago from

So since I first started out as a self-taught designer about 5-6 years ago till now, I've always used Wordpress Themes as my portfolio to showcase my works but I am looking to step up my game with designing my own website as I feel like I'm being judged for using a theme,despite being a designer,haha.

What I currently have now is just a simple wordpress theme with a little intro about me and an option for potential clients to reach out to me via Email to receive a zipped folder of my work.

I've never been able to get my own website going before due to not having the means of hiring a developer,and always being swamped with work (and I couldn't code) but that's about to change.

Just curious to know what people's thoughts on portfolios and websites are. Do you use things like Dribbble,Behance,Cargo Collective,Squarespace,etc? Have you tried either one of these and switched out from it, if so, how were your experiences with these all, and do you find a boost in traffic from using a specific platform?

What are some suggestions you could provide to people who are looking to revamp their website and how to better showcase their works to attract clients?

/EDIT : Thanks everyone for replying! I've ultimately went with using Squarespace and using Avenue Theme. Tried it out for a month's plan, might extend it as I am enjoying it so far :)

Check it out: www.designertron.com

23 comments

  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, 4 years ago

    I'm with Thompson, learn to code your own site. I used to only do graphic design and I learned how to code out of pure defiance of the company that quoted me $500 to convert my PSD design to HTML and CSS.

    Jekyll is what I still use, for my static sites. I recently deployed my girlfriend's site to PageKit because Wordpress kept eating up resources on her server and then crashing. PageKit is a lightweight CMS and I like it a lot. I'm going to use it for client sites I work on in the future.

    For reference, you can see what my own site looks like.

    4 points
    • Helen . , 4 years ago

      Thanks for sending that along, neat website! Definitely going to look into PageKit

      1 point
  • Julian Lozano, 4 years ago

    I currently use squarespace, it's actually impressive how much you can do for just being a template. It's even greater that it's responsive. However, in the future I would like to learn how to code my own site.

    3 points
  • Alex DixonAlex Dixon, 4 years ago

    To answer your question: produce awesome content on whatever platform you feel most comfortable using. Great content will almost always trump all other factors for driving traffic to your website.

    That being said Cargo is a pretty good choice, as is Squarespace.

    If you're interested in building your own static website, I'd recommend checking out Middleman: http://middlemanapp.com.

    3 points
    • Account deleted 4 years ago

      This advice is spot on. There are unbelievable amazing big-name talents using sites like Bechance, Squarespace, and Cargo. That's because they invest all their energy into the actual work they are paid to do... and clients are coming to them specifically for what they produce.

      Think about this. If your work output was exactly what a client/employer wanted... do you think you would lose out on the job because you used Wordpress or Squarespace?

      0 points
  • Josiah DJosiah D, 4 years ago

    I had a custom site, then Wordpress, but have been on Squarespace for several years. I found Wordpress a little too much to manage constantly. Coding my own site left me with something too concrete which made redesigning or updating into a large project.

    I've also started to lean on Behance a little bit more. I'm moving towards putting my best work (or case studies) on my site, while using Behance for everything under the sun.

    2 points
    • Helen . Helen . , 4 years ago

      Interesting, I actually am beginning to feel the same about Wordpress myself. What were your thoughts on using Squarespace, did you find it easier to manage than Wordpress?

      I've thought of using Behance as my portfolio, currently using it for random design pieces but definitely should look more into it!

      0 points
  • Marcus H, 4 years ago (edited 4 years ago )

    Semplice looks like a good option, it's a modular system and built on-top of Wordpress. I currently have my own portfolio designed by me and built by a developer . I like the idea of using Semplice because I'll be able to build and update my own site in a style of my choice. The best part is I won't need any outside help!

    http://www.semplicelabs.com/

    2 points
    • Anselm UrbanAnselm Urban, 4 years ago

      I use it and it´s great! Take a look at my portfolio

      0 points
      • Marcus H, 4 years ago

        Looks great, how long did it take you to make that? Also are you able to add forms with Semplice, if I remember correctly it wasn't possible with one of the older versions.

        1 point
        • Anselm UrbanAnselm Urban, 4 years ago

          It did not take very long. The setup process is very simple and everything else is simple, too. I don´t know exactly how long it took because I´m adding and tweaking things occasionally.

          You can add forms. Just paste the HTML.

          0 points
  • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, 4 years ago

    If you want to learn code build a static site.

    2 points
    • Helen . , 4 years ago

      Actually going to be working with my boyfriend who's a developer to get my website up and running haha, will see what little code I can pick up!

      1 point
  • John JacksonJohn Jackson, 4 years ago

    I've been a bit lazy with my portfolio these past two years. My "portfolio" site just lists my hourly rate and links to my Dribbble. Most of my recent work is displayed on Dribbble. I should probably work on my portfolio site...

    I don't like it when designers use themes that they did not design. Why? Because it masks your design proficiency, which either makes you look better than you are or worse than you are at designing.

    Even if it's a simple portfolio, just design it yourself. And as others have said, pick up some basic HTML/CSS knowledge.

    Good luck!

    1 point
    • Helen . , 4 years ago

      Totally agree with what you're saying. That's the one thing I am always a little embarrassed about (though I know I shouldn't be) when it comes to me sharing my website with fellow designers. I feel like the theme I am using isn't a representation of the work I do but always just procrastinated on getting my custom site up and running.

      0 points
  • Mike Wilson, 4 years ago

    Nepotism and a firm handshake.

    1 point
  • Artur Eldib, 4 years ago

    I used behance pro site, then went to squarespace, but didn't like these options because its too limited - I wanted a system that provides more freedom for me. Today Im working on my new website on Webflow and I love it! I started simple so I can build it up from there. My site today - built with squarespace: http://artur.digital My new one: http://arturdigitals.webflow.io

    1 point
    • Helen . , 4 years ago

      Interesting, never heard of webflow before! Going to check it out,thanks :)

      0 points
  • Account deleted 4 years ago

    I'll bite. A couple questions first...

    1. Who is judging you for using a theme? Is it friends, potential clients, people at job interviews, etc? Have they told you this flat-out or is this just an assumption?

    2. What is the primary goal of the site? For example, are you a FT salaried designer that wants to have a web presence and pick up occasional freelance... OR are you a FT contractor and this site is your business?

    0 points
    • Helen . , 4 years ago

      Good questions!

      1. I was told this once by someone who worked in the design field who was checking my works out. I've always used wordpress themes as my portfolio since starting and never had any other remarks about using a theme other than that 1 guy, so maybe people are just really nice and feel bad about voicing their opinions, or they don't care about the theme and it's the works they want to see (which I'd like to believe,haha)

      2. Primary goal of this site is to get back into the freelance design scene again. I'm employed full-time at a startup and find myself needing to get some extra side projects to keep my creative juices flowing and extra cash to help with bills.

      0 points
      • Account deleted 4 years ago

        Based on the fact you are employed FT and are simply looking for more freelance, it would be much smarter to rock a template site IMHO. You need something that's clean and easy to update. Once you've done that, if you still have the time to build something from scratch, go for it, but at least you have a solid presence out there showcasing your work.

        I think the key is to use a base template where it's clear you are using it to simply showcase your work. This is why Cargo and Sqaurespace can be so good... you don't risk trying to be too cute or boxing yourself into a theme that looks dated in a year. When CD's and clients look at your stuff... it's easier for them to focus on the content. Think of it like a simple picture frame. It puts the focus on the photograph/art inside of it and nobody looks down on it.

        Whenever I've looked at priceless works of art in museums, I don't think I've ever heard someone comment negatively comment about the frame a particular work was in ... or similarly... raving about a particular painter because of the frame either.

        0 points
  • Peter Buczkowski, 4 years ago

    I have used kirby lately for my portfolio. I had no web experiece at all and it was a very good cms to use especially for a project based presentetaion of your works. They have added an online panel, to make the implementation even more convenient. That’s what came out for now my portfolio

    0 points