Deepthi Horagoda has very kindly written about her brand new website and facebook page she has recently set up, along with screen captures of both sites below. We hope that Deepthi’s experiences will help other students understand a little about the process of setting up a website and Facebook page to promote their own work. We wish Deepthi every success with her online media!
Having recently begun the Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma Course I felt I should set up an online space to share my work. My initial idea was to begin a blog. However, having recently completed the LAC’s Graphic Design Diploma Course I had been considering the possibility of offering my services to an international clientele as well. Therefore I felt that a website, rather than a blog would be best to showcase my artwork.
Having created several websites for others I did not have much difficulty in selecting a web design service that would suit my needs. As I am a designer and not a programmer I need to be able to work intuitively. I also needed a service provider who would let me save a back-up of my sites content. Therefore I selected Weebly.Com’s drag-and drop website builder for creating my site. Once signed up, Weebly.Com has a methodical plan of action which makes you think and write down what you want to achieve from your site. It also encourages you to consider how the content would be separated into pages and sub-pages. This was extremely useful and would have ensured that I had my site set up quite quickly had I kept to my original plan. I had customized 2 different themes and was trying to decide between them when I became convinced that my graphic design work should be featured on the site as well.
Consequently I decided to have 2 separate pages for illustrations and graphic design with links to the relevant galleries nested within. It was at this point that I happened to read in an online article that Weebly.Com does not have alternate text enabled for images in its gallery feature. Naturally I did not want the search engine bots to bypass all my artwork in my galleries! At the same time I had progressed too far with my website to give up on Weebly’s themes altogether. So, after contacting Weebly’s Support and voicing my disappointment I ended up re-uploading and tagging some 50+ images individually. Fortunately I discovered this shortcoming before I uploaded images to my graphic design gallery!
A greater challenge, though was creating a website which would look current and professional in execution. A graphic designer’s website tends to be viewed more critically than that of a fine arts artist. The fact that I was juggling both my illustrations portfolio and graphic design portfolio together did not lessen my difficulties. I decided to take up the challenge but had one more hurdle to face!
Once again, the problem was due to how my website would be used to judge my knowledge of current web design trends and technology. What with more people using mobile devices to access online content, responsive websites have become a need of the times. Whilst Weebly.Com has several responsive themes I felt none of them quite fitted my requirements without customizations. So, after some experiments with 2 of the themes I finally got one customized to suit my expectations.
That said however, I would not recommend viewing an online portfolio’s content on a smart iPhone. The screen is too small to do justice to the visuals. A tablet device or an ipad, though is a good compromise.
I used the built-in Blog feature of the theme to highlight my latest artwork and to give access to view my preliminary sketches. The blog will enable me to share my current work easily without needing to regularly update other areas of the website.
Creating a website can be a stressful task, even if someone else is handling the technical aspects. You, as the owner of the content on the site will still have to decide on the images and write the text or provide the relevant details to be included. What’s more, search engine optimization needs careful consideration as well. Add to all that, no self-respecting modern website can shine in cyberspace without the power of social marketing. So, calls-to-action and other types of promotions needs to be pursued with single-minded clarity. However, when it’s finally all done, you have an invaluable resource for making your art known to the world!
Website – Deepthi Horagoda’s Illustration and Graphic Design Portfolio
Facebook – Deepthi’s Art Studio
Illustrating Children’s Book Diploma
Graphic Design Diploma