This project has most definitely been a challenge from start to finish. I started off having no idea what I wanted to brand myself as or what I would be happy being represented by, thinking it would be the easiest thing in the world. Just goes to show, nothing is what it seems. For starters I didn’t actually realise just how different all my work was so it was hard to design an identity for myself which would cover all the bases. The logo I was most happy with, and still am, is the cartoon head from ‘PegLegs’, however that, so I’m told makes me look more like an illustrator. I know I am not just one thing, and this is where I’ve always had a problem as I’ve grown up being a very creative person in all areas. I always want to pursue something in all areas however I know that I need to narrow this down, and if I don’t do that, I need an identity that will clearly state I am not just one or the other.
Once I had laid all my work out in front of me, I found collage popped up a few times across a few disciplines of design, such as packaging and illustration. These collages were scanned in and worked with on screen. As this was the most common way of working for me, I chose to design my identity based on this.
I think it is more successful and in my opinion it doesn’t pin my name down as one or the other, it’s left open. I want clients to know I work in different ways across a broad range, which is why I decided against producing a split personality, which I initially thought about doing.
I believe my website is successful, I think it works well, it’s simple to navigate, and everything is clearly separated. I have tried my hardest to stick to a minimal number of clicks in order for clients or viewers to see what they are looking for. I have made each image load up on the same page using swap image, to reduce loading time meaning people will be more inclined to wait for the information to pop up.
My home page is a mosaic of thumbnails of my work, so when my site is visited, they can see that I work mainly with bright colours. This also makes it look more attractive. I have chosen to use cropped thumbnails so the entire piece isn’t shown until my portfolio is visited. The ‘home’ icon is deliberately at the end of the menu bar as it will start here, but people mainly click from left to right, if this is the case, after contact they would end up at the group of images so they stick in the viewer’s head. I have carefully designed my website to make sure that if the viewer wants to go ‘back’ at any point, it’s a simple click somewhere else on the same page, they do not have to keep visiting ‘home’ in order to start again.
The portfolio pages are pretty self-explanatory. Each image, when hovered over shows a little speech bubble saying the title of the project, and once the image is selected, a very brief explanation appears at the bottom of the screen.
My contact page is kept simple and colour co-ordinated to make it easier to navigate. My e-mail, blog and CV are all linked to open in separate windows so that the window can be closed when finished with and my site will still be up and running.
All in all I like to think I have covered every base and no one has any trouble navigating around my site.
At first I found this project a real struggle at times, but it was all made easier and put into perspective once I took an online tutorial at www.willgoldstone.com/learn/#http://willgoldstone.com/learn/#.
I was then able to begin planning and organising measurements. It helped looking at other existing websites, and I have noted important elements from a few (see sketchbook). Any advice given I have taken on board and made the necessary changes.
This project has become successful even though it started a shambles, and I feel I have come a long way. Looking at my website now, there are probably lots of elements I’d change but that’s because I’ve been staring at it for so long. I’m very happy with the work I have produced. If I were to change anything I would probably continue to work on my identity more, however in terms of navigation and ease, I am satisfied with the results.