Final Portfolio Design

April 28, 2011

After receiving some feedback on my initial portfolio ideas, I then took some time to improve my designs. I changed the background, and added more colour, which makes it more interesting. I also added little extra bits, such as the doodles on the About Me page and the portfolio page.

Below are my final ideas for my portfolio website.


Home page screen design

About Me page

About Me page screen design

Portfolio page

Portfolio page screen design

Contact page

Contact page screen design

Word Count: 78


Portfolio Design

April 7, 2011

Over the past week I have started to design my portfolio website. I began this process by doodling on paper lots of different ideas that came to mind. From previous research into other online portfolios I had a clear vision of what I wanted; something creative, personal and unique.

When thinking of ideas, I thought about making my website like how you would display work at an art exhibition, by hanging the work on a wall. I came up with the idea of a wallpaper looking background and images of work in picture frames. I came up with a variety of layouts and designs based around this theme. I think this idea is the most creative.

Idea's Generation 1

Idea's Generation 2

I also have some more ideas for the website, which are based on a different theme. I have done these ideas digitally (shown below) as well as some sketchbook work. I think this theme is more personal and I do like these ideas more as they are ‘neat’ and ‘tidy’.

Idea’s Generation Work

Word Count: 172

Delivery Requirements and Competitive Analysis

March 31, 2011

Delivery Requirements

  • I will use Adobe Photoshop in order to create my screen designs, and I will design my portfolio website based on the 960 grid system.
  • I will use Komodo Edit to build the website, using HTML, CSS and PHP where necessary. Afterwards I will then fully test the website in order to make sure it complies with W3C Standards.
  • I will use my domain name, and will host the website with Hydro Host.

Competitive Analysis
I have carried out a competitive analysis in order to evaluate other FdA Web Design students portfolios and also Web Design companies websites. This allows me to see what is already out there, what can I do different to make my portfolio website unique and also it enables me to look and see what designs work well and what designs don’t.

Firstly, I have looked at Tom Smith’s online portfolio. The aspect that strikes me the most is how he has a short phrase/tagline at the top which is catchy. It is a good opener to a website rather than just a name. This phrase clearly identifies what Tom’s website will be about, and I therefore think this phrase draws you in. I have recently read an article on Smashing Magazines website, which lists the top 10 steps to the perfect portfolio website. Using a Tagline is number 2 on the list.

Tom Smith’s Online Portfolio

I am unsure as to whether I like the layout of Tom’s website. I think it’s too heavy on the right hand side, and it feels unnatural having to look to the right of the website all the time. I do however like it as it is a different layout to what you usually see, and it creates more attention towards his name as that is the only thing on the left side of the website.

I really like some of the little design features Tom has used. Such as the bright yellow colours on the dark black background. They work to add a feature to the design, but also as a solution to showing the user what page they are on. For example, it is used on the hover over on the navigation and also it is used to pick out key words on the tagline and the page titles.

I like the navigation that he has used on the website. The links are clear, you can tell what each of their destination is by looking at them. I also like how he has split up the print work from the web work. For my portfolio I would like to do this, however I don’t feel as if I have enough work to show and therefore I will stick with one portfolio page.

I have also looked at Dan Dunsire’s website. I really love the creativity of his website. It’s really interesting and makes you want to explore the site further. I love the little personal bits on the website, like the arrows and the writing. It’s a creative way of writing titles, and makes the website seem less formal. I really like the typeface he has used for the arrows and the writing. It is like his own handwriting, and this too makes the website more personal.

Dan Dunsire’s Online Portfolio

Again same as Tom, Dan has used a colour to highlight specific words in text to brighten them and draw your attention to them. This is definitely something which I would like to do in my website as I feel it is a great design effect, but also a useful technique for highlighting key points.

Dan’s portfolio, I feel, is a lot more personal than Tom’s. This possibly is to do with the fact Dan has included a picture of himself on his website, but also because Tom’s website seem’s more formal, where as Dan’s is more ‘freehand’ and creative and less corporate.

Both Dan and Tom include a comments page on their portfolio websites. I do think this is a very useful tool for any website, but especially for an artist’s website as they are able to get feedback on their work, whether it be good or bad. A comments page is definitely something that I will include on my portfolio website.

I also wanted to look at a website that wasn’t a students portfolio, but was something more professional, and I therefore looked for Web Design companies. I came across Core Design’s website which is a design company in Wakefield. There website is a little hard to evaluate at the moment, as it is only a static page while they improve their old website. However, I really liked one part of the page, the mini-me’s at the bottom. I haven’t seen that before on a website, and therefore it’s really unique, which I love. It’s really creative and makes the website more personal and less formal.

In conclusion, I have found the types of websites’s I like and aim to design for myself. That is definitely something ‘Unique’ and ‘Personal’ to me.

Word Count: 841

Online Portfolio

March 24, 2011

I am now approaching the end of my second year on the FdA Web Design course and, therefore, it is now time to put together my online portfolio of the work I have done over the last two years.

Project Goals
There are a few goals that I aim to achieve while creating my online portfolio;

  • Create a website that showcases the work I have produced whilst on the FdA Web Design course.
  • Demonstrate the skills that I have learnt over the two years on the course – including PHP, HTML and CSS.
  • Make sure that every page on my website validates to W3C Standards.

Target Audience
Persona One – Examiner and College Staff
Examiners and Wakefield College staff are going to be the primary visitors to the site. They are going to be interested in the journey that I have taken over the past two years, including what I have enjoyed and the challenges that I have faced.  They will be looking for text and image content which evaluates my learning on the course.

Persona Two – FdA Web Design Students
Other FdA Web Design students are also going to visit/view my portfolio website. Whether this be the first year students who will see the website at my end of year presentation or my fellow second year students who will visit the website to have a peek at the work I have done and see what I achieved – I aim to make the website personal in order to make it interesting for the audience.

Persona Three – Friends and Family
Friends and family are also going to be visiting my portfolio website. Although they probably aren’t going to be bothered about the visual or technical aspects of the site they will, however, be keen to look at my work over the past two years. Images of my work need to be the main focus of the page.

Word Count: 322

PPD 3 Learning Contract – Evaluation

December 1, 2010

Both learning plans proved to be a lot more difficult than I had first imagined. I set myself the target of learning both PHP and Illustrator at an introductory level, and thought this would be easy to manage considering I’m only doing the basics.

I began by researching the key skills of PHP and Illustrator. This helped me analyse and select the most valuable skills that would be useful to learn for my future on and after the course. Of course I had to bare in mind that I had no prior knowledge to PHP, and only a very small amount of knowledge to Illustrator. This meant that I really did have to start right from the beginning.

Once I had found the key skills I wanted to learn I began my learning by mainly using the books I had purchased, Adobe Illustrator Classroom In A Book and PHP: A Beginners Guide. I found it useful to stick with the one book so that I could work my way through it in an organised way, I was able to develop through the books.

Each day that I was learning I was amazed at how much I was actually learning. I went from not even knowing what PHP was, to building small tutorials including If statements and variables, and finally building my own website with PHP. I have found from this module over any other how satisfying it is when you complete something, and you’ve done it all yourself. It’s really rewarding, especially with the amount of work you put in.

I did find it hard deciding where I needed to stop learning, especially with Illustrator. I should have been starting LO3 of my learning plan – creating something with the skills I have learnt, however I would find something else that I needed/wanted to learn. I struggled to find a stopping point. I did spend just under 27 hours learning Illustrator and just under 32 hours learning php.

I think it did work well doing both learning contracts side by side as it allowed me to have a break from one or the other. Some days I was just sat down reading about PHP, other days I were creating a piece of artwork in Illustrator. It made it much more interesting. However it did also make it hard to manage. As I had both things at once, I had a higher work load, compared to if I had done one then the other. Both contracts were about the same business in the end, and therefore it worked well to do them together. I am very glad that I choose to learn two completely different things.

I arn’t very pleased with the outcome of the contract however, just because I don’t like the design. However I am very pleased with the skills that I used, and the knowledge which I show I have gained.

Word Count: 492


PPD 3 Learning Contract – Part 5

November 17, 2010

The end is in sight…

I have now learnt all the skills I set out to do, plus a lot more for both my Illustrator and PHP Learning Contracts. It’s a very good feeling to see all the work that I now have in my folder, of all the notes and tutorials I have done. My knowledge has developed greatly over each week of learning, which shows that all the hard work and hours that I have put into learning PHP and Illustrator has paid off.

However, the downside is I still have half a website to build, plus a poster to design and create. With only 2 weeks left till the deadline, it’s going to be a lot more hard work and many more hours to get everything complete.

Word Count: 131

PPD 3 Learning Contract – Part 4

November 3, 2010

More work than I can manage…

I did plan to start learning outcome 3 over the past few days, however I have come across more skills which I feel should be learnt before I proceed with the creating of the website or poster. Such as for the PHP I needed to look at validation and errors and therefore this messed up my plans for where I should be at this stage.

My PHP learning is now definitely complete and I am ready to start with the creation of my website. I aim to create a 3 page website including a contact form, therefore showing the PHP skills I have learnt.

My Illustrator is still work in progress, I still feel I have a few more skills to learn such as Type and Colour. This does worry me as I am aware there is only a month of this module left. There is also the worry that we start two new assignments this week.

I do think I am coming along better with my PHP than I am with my Illustrator. This surprises me, as I would never have thought this at the beginning of the learning contracts.  I find with PHP you are either right or wrong, however with Illustrator it is based on your own creativity.

Word Count: 217

PPD 3 Learning Contract – Part 3

October 20, 2010

I think the pressure is staring to kick in….

I have now completed quite a bit of the research part for both of my learning contracts, and it is now becoming very clear the amount of work that I have to complete. Although I do have six weeks left before the deadline, it is becoming clear that the end is in sight and I  really have to work hard in order to get the most out of the project.

Surprisingly I am managing both contracts well, and doing a similar amount of work for each. I did think that I would complete the Illustrator one, and the PHP would get left till last, so I have already learnt things about myself.

As I now have an understanding of the skills I am learning I have completed a creative brief for both contracts. For the PHP I have set myself a 3 page website including a contact form and for the Illustrator contract, a poster. They will both be based around the same fiction company.

I hope to make a solid start of both the creative briefs in the coming week.

Word Count: 200

PPD 3 Learning Contract – Part 2

October 14, 2010

The start of the learning contract…

I have now carried out most of my research into both PHP and Illustrator and have an understanding of the key skills I need to learn.

I am finding the PHP harder than the Illustrator contract, as I predicted I would. I’m finding it hard to manage as I have no previous knowledge, and therefore I am staring right from the beginning, the very basics. I have already come across a problem with my learning contract in that I said I will research job websites to see what jobs use PHP for, however from looking they don’t state this information and therefore this is no use to me. I have found useful information from different sources.

I am finding the Illustrator Learning Contract a lot easier as I know a little bit about the background of the software before I started and therefore this makes it easier with the direction of learning I have to do. I have had no problems with this contract yet.

As the research is almost complete, I now need to start looking at learning PHP and Illustrator.

Word Count: 191

PPD 3 Learning Contract – Part 1

September 22, 2010

The PPD3 task requires me to carry out a learning contract, whereby I plan and monitor my own learning.

There are a range of skills that I could study such as PHP, HTML 5, CSS3, JavaScript and Illustrator. However at this moment in time there are a selected few that are going to be key in helping me with my learning on the course. I also need to think about the future and what will be most helpful to me with my future career in the design industry.

I have carried out some research into some of the jobs that are on offer in the design industry  to see what skills are essential and desired in order to qualify for a job. Most of the jobs that I found, stated in the requirements a number of skills that they find essential for people to have. There were a few skills which I already do possess such as an understanding of InDesign, but a few others where I have no experience what so ever in such as Illustrator.

Therefore the first skill that I could learn is the Adobe program Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator is a program used to design more graphical ideas, such as logos etc. And  I would therefore find it very useful to learn the basics in this program. I am aware that we will study this a little on the course in the future, however I have no knowledge on this program what so ever, and would like to become quite used to the software, and hopefully become quite fluent at using it as soon as I can.

Another skill which I feel I should learn is PHP. (This is a scripting language that many people use to create interesting web pages). Soon we will have a WordPress module and it is therefore necessary to look into learning PHP so that we can understand the module better. I have found that PHP is more desired than essential on job advertisements and therefore I could look to getting a more intermediate level knowledge on this in the future.

I have recently studied XHTML, and now that there is the new HTML5 it would be nice to study the updated version. I have found on one of the job requirements that a skill to have is to be able to keep up with and adapt to new technology and ideas, and therefore studying this is a chance to adapt to the new improvement.

Looking back to the Honey and Mumford questionnaire that I completed in the first year I can see what my learning style was and how it has changed and therefore how I will go about learning the information for the learning contract. My learning style was a reflector. This means that I like to listen, observe, gather information and evaluate and I like to take a step to step approach. This would therefore result in me using text books and reading websites and carrying out tutorials. A couple of the books which I will use are:

I have carried out the questionnaire once again this year, and there is no real change to the way I learn. I am becoming more of a well rounded learner, however only slightly. I am still clearly a reflective learner.

In conclusion I have decided to learn two new skills for my learning contract, and will look at both on a basic level. Firstly I will study PHP on a basic level as I feel without an understanding in this I will not progress on the course well, especially with an assignment coming up in a few months which will need a bit of knowledge.

The second skill I have decided to learn is the basics of Adobe Illustrator. I feel that this is the most useful for me to learn as this is essential on most job requirements. Therefore with learning this I am becoming more employable.

Word Count: 671