Web Design, need crits.

SublimusSublimus Artist.nowhereRegistered User regular
edited June 2011 in Artist's Corner
Hello all! I've posted some of this stuff around, but since I'm making a concentrated effort to put together a portfolio, I'm posting all of the stuff I have right now.

The long story goes like this:
So I want to be a concept artist. Don't we all? Ideally working in-house somewhere, and then freelancing some magic cards and stuff on the side as well. The way I see it, there are two ways to do this. One way is to get into the industry at any position, and then work your way up to the position you want. The other way is to start out doing the position you want but at a small/shitty company, and then basically keep upgrading companies as your skills progress.

I tried the former, and got a job as a game tester. I quickly realized that you at least have to start out on the shit end of the dev team, not just anywhere in the company. (This may just be at the place I worked, Bethesda Softworks.)

So my contract expired after working there for nine months, and I'm out of a job. My friend's mom offered me a design position at her company, which I originally denied because I thought I had my foot in the door. Once I realized that I was not going to get hired at Bethesda, I shot her an email. She handed off my resume to the right person, and then the interview process started. I scrambled to get together some web design samples, and basically only had my resume that was geared towards a concept art job. These were the samples I gave them. Not amazing, but I only had a couple of days to scrape them together.

Well, basically after a three week long interview process (during which my contract expired at BethSoft) they told me that they were going to hire someone else.

So now after realizing that webdesign is a viable career, and that I feel I'm probably qualified for at least an entry level position, I should look for a web design job.

The short story goes like this: I'm not yet good enough to be a concept artist, so I'm trying to get an entry level position as a web designer so that my day job is at least creative while I continue to build up my drawing skills.

Onto the art!

The first thing I did was make a new resume that was specifically geared towards web design. (During my last interview they had made mention that my HTML CSS experience was not listed, major mistake!)

So here is my old resume, and here is my new one. I know we could probably spend an entire thread on just the resume, but I'm more concerned with my design samples, to be honest.

Next is a portfolio website. Originally I was not planning on making a design portfolio site for myself, but If I want to be serious about it, I need one.

This is the start of my design portfolio site.


Sherwood is my middle name for those wondering. Not sure if I go with Sherwood design, or designs. I'm either going to buy the stock photo, or take a photo of my own station or something. Im also planning on putting some sort of web 2.0 vector/vexel type image to the left of the featured projects.

Next is a self assigned promo piece for a made up shirt company called 'the shirt factory'.


The grey bar would be the sub-nav. I guess it doesn't need to be on the main page? Not sure. And then I either need to make up some more bs content, or move the footer up. And then obviously fill up the footer with legal crap and all that.

This I've already posted, and got some good feedback on. If I have time/am not too lazy I'm going to experiment with having the type inset on the dirt texture. But here is what I made a while back.


And then this is the site I mocked up during my first scramble to get some samples together.


Aaaand finally, here is something I made a few years back at my last webdesign job (back when I was in school, for a shitty local company). Kind of old, hoping to not need it.


And then I have a few other things coming down the pipe, but they are too ugly to show at this stage.

Any and all advice about the designs, or about how to break into webdesign would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for the super long post! (Easily my longest on this forum.)

Sublimus on


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    MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    For me, stock photos have their place. If youre making a brochure and you need a photo of a guy with a briefcase, you can use a stock photo. However, if youre making a web page about your portfolio I would think twice about using a stock photo the way youre doing there.

    See, to me, the web page is supposed to showaces your work, not a stock photo. Yes, it looks nice, but you could get better use of that space with an image of your own. Get people interested in what youve done!

    MagicToaster on
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    You're right. Really anything could go there, but my thought process was, 'uhh I'll just show my work station....I don't have a good quality pic of it...'

    I also don't have too much content to put up yet, so I didn't wanna just repeat the the stuff at the bottom.

    Any suggestions of what to put there?

    Sublimus on
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    MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I like them Sub, also Ladys is spelt Ladies.

    Unless your target audience is people like this.

    Side note; How is it with strict search on google images I still manage to get a hit on a dude with another guys dick in his mouth? Post greasy breakfast isn't the best time for gay porn.

    Mustang on
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    EWomEWom Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    One thing I would keep in mind is that for your backgrounds, you need to keep them so that the programmers can tile them seamlessly, endlessly, and easily to account for every possible monitor configuration imaginable. Including, people who use multiple monitor setups, and people who use gigo monitors. Nobody wants to pay a programmer to figure out how to make a background work. We should be able to simply cut the layout and move on. For example we recently did a job for a client, who has daily meetings in their conference room with 50" monitor on the wall, and they wanted it to look good on that screen as well as good on everyone's individual work screens.

    I think if you're serious about doing web design, you need to get some actual jobs in, rather than just mock ups. I know we wouldn't hire an unproven graphic designer where I work, but we also don't have graphic design on staff; we use a number of contract graphic designers we call on to do work for us. But maybe it's easier to get into the field at a place that has a graphic design staff. An easy way to get jobs though is to do cheap freelance work on the internet. The point isn't to make money at it, it's to get a portfolio up, showing that you can satisfy the different needs of different clients.

    EWom on
    Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Mustang: Noted. Thanks!

    EWom: Thanks for the tips! For the textured bg's I was either going to tile them, or have them fade out to a flat color.

    First jobs are a bit of a catch 22. Since I don't have any experience (except for a being the graphic/web designer for a small local company while I was in school) I was looking for an internship or a small local type company.

    Hopefully someone will just take a chance on me, haha!

    Sublimus on
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Still need to figure out what to do with that stock image.

    But how does the text look on the left? I decided to go with Sherwood Design (singular). And I'm open to suggestions on the tag line.

    Put in some mock testimonials. I'm going to get some real ones by doing some small freelance stuff probably.


    Sublimus on
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    EWomEWom Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I would beef up the front page content a little bit, and get something to draw them in. According to many, the average time spent looking at websites is under one minute, before they move on and look for another which interests them more. So you have less than a minute to show them that you're the designer for them.

    IMO I would get rid of the stock photo, and have the whole right side be thumbnails of example work. Maybe a 3x3 grid. I would also make your email & phone number more prominent than it is. It's pretty small, and easily missed.

    Also, are you really going to have a BLOG for your graphic design business? Remember the worst thing is if someone goes to your blog, and all that is there is 2 posts from 4 years ago. It makes you seem lazy and unreliable, if you can't even keep up with your own shit, how can you be counted on to keep up with my shit? So be sure that if you're going to have a blog section, it is regularly updated. I would probably also throw in a Contact section.

    How well do you work off shitty direction? That's another thing that I've noticed happens in the biz a lot, or at least a lot where I work.

    If you want some examples (and these might even be good practice for you) I can remember 4 recently that had pretty crappy direction for how they wanted their site to look.

    1) An artist who wanted a very minimalistic site that showcased only his art. No words, no headers, no names,no logos, no nothing. And he wanted it to look cool, and he wanted it to be orange.

    2) An outfitter company who just wanted to make sure that their site looked adventurous and outdoors like to their customers.

    3) A real estate agency that just gave us their logo, which used the colors white and a somewhat grey-ish blue. With the instructions of "Just make it look good and professional.

    and the best for last

    4) an upholsterer who just said "I want people to really see my site". Oh yeah their logo was (flourescent)pink and green, but they never said anything about that, but the graphic designer who took the job used that as a jumping off point. Their directions as far as graphic design was exactly as I said above, and left the meeting.

    Maybe you can use those 4 examples as challenges to show some more web mock ups for us to crit, or give you an idea of what you may come across at least.

    EWom on
    Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited May 2011
    Wow! Thanks EWom!!!

    What a great reply. Sorry for not checking this thread, I was out of town.

    Good point about the blog. I had considered keeping one, but I think it would probably be best not to have one.

    And also, you make a VERY good point about the average time someone spends on a site. I'll have to take that into account.

    In terms of shitty direction, if I end up doing freelance, I expect that to be the case more often than not.

    Sublimus on
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Sorry for going AWOL. There was a death in the family.

    Change notes:
    Dropped the blog.
    Moved the portfolio to the home page.
    BG image now tiles seamlessly horizontally.
    BG image now fades to a solid grey on the bottom.
    Moved contact info, and made it bigger.

    Here is the home page.

    And here is what a project page would look like once they click on a thumbnail from the home page.

    Sublimus on
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    DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Sweet Rockwell dude!

    I mean website.
    It is looking a lot better!

    I'm not sure if you want to just limit this to webdesign but what about throwing some logo designs in there? Show your range.

    DeeLock on
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    NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I would consider taking that three by three grid and making one of the images larger, taking up two by two spaces, creating a focal point among the preview images.

    NibCrom on
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    DeeLock: Thanks! Yay Rockwell! And yeah, Im going to throw some logo work in there. And on the project highlight page, it will probably have the actual logo as one image, and then maybe a second image with alternate logos that did not get chosen. I'm also going to have some animation on there, too. Like web banner type stuff.

    NibCrom: I'll give that a shot! But as it is, the whole portfolio of the site is only nine things. I intend to market myself as doing design, markup, and animation. So I feel like limiting the portfolio six would make it hard to show off everything I need to, even though it might look better visually.

    Sublimus on
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    AftermathReviewsAftermathReviews Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    this could just be me but what about laying it out a little more like this?


    I like white space but when there's a solid texture background I find the white space ends of being "blank space".... I don't know, could just be my preference.

    Also those divider lines you have, it drive my eyes crazy that they dont extend to the same point as the text starts. Again, I could just be anal.

    AftermathReviews on
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    ArcaArca Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    It's good so far, try to stay away from grunge type styles as they are not often used.

    You know HTML & CSS but how well. Knowing how to code well is very important. No matter how good your designs are if you cannot turn them into a website then they are almost useless. Maybe learn some PHP, MYSQL, etc too to add to your resume.

    Arca on
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    SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular

    I know it's been forever since I've posted anything in this thread, but I want to keep it rolling. My computer died, so that was part of why it took so long to make any progress. (replies are at the bottom of the post.)

    I have a good portion of the site up right now. I sort of chopped it up and just put it up as fast as I can with out really thinking about the best way to do it. Live and learn.

    Here is the site www.sherwooddesignhouse.com. Kind of a long url, but it was the best I could get.

    Here is my to do list for the site.

    -Overhaul the services page to look something more like the image below (still a WIP but you get the idea.)
    -Learn how to embed fonts so that the site is less image heavy.
    -Other site optimization (like I said, I rushed it up).
    -Learn enough javascript to get the image gallery working the way I want (triggers on hover, but I want it to work on a click).


    Aftermath Review: Thank you so much for taking the tame to make such a nice mock up! I really appreciate it! I like how yours allows more thumbnails, but there is something bout the grid that sort of puts me off from it.

    Arca: I'm learning more and more how little I know! So right now I

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    Dayvan CowboyDayvan Cowboy Registered User regular
    For now, seeing as how you just have the four items on the home page, I'd probably reformat the grid to just a two by two. It'll make the thumbnails bigger, and won't draw as much attention to the fact that there's a relatively small selection.

    I would also consider doing something a bit different in the header section - either with the background image to distinguish it more from the background of the rest of the page, or maybe a logo or other graphical device.

    Finally, and this might just be my monitor acting up so YMMV, but I feel like there could be a better grey color for the background after the image fades out. Something with more of an emphasis on R and G, less on B, like you would find in the texture image.

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