New design

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by flavr, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. flavr macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    Tired of working for the man and decided to be the man! Started a new design business...along with a new website. Feedback welcome!
  2. lucidmedia, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015

    lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Congratulations on the new studio! Here are some quick impressions as someone who has spent a lot of their design career evaluating portfolios:

    Scale: Are you freelancing, or starting an agency? The content reads more like a one-person shop trying to sound like an agency. It would sound more authentic to be one or the other.

    Focus: What are the goals of this website? As a creative director with experience in several large markets, I would expect your personal network is secure enough to not need a website to generate unsolicited new business. How does this site function in the context of how you are planning to grow your business?

    Aesthetics: You want to convey that your strengths are in brand experience. Why does your agency site look like every other Bootstrap / Squarespace site out there?

    Technical Foundations: You state "responsive desktop / mobile website" under services. That implies that you can deliver both design and implementation. Having a Squarespace hosted site speaks to a lack of technical resources. In my opinion it is fine for a designer to not have dev skills, so rephrase your services to focus on your design strengths and emphasise your partnerships with those who add to your capabilities.

    Collaborations: You have a lot of big-brand agency work in your portfolio, projects that are often done in collaboration with others. Were you the CD for each of these projects? If so, awesome, who worked under you and assisted you? If not, be open about who was providing creative direction. You have every right to show work you worked on, but be clear about your roles and responsibilities in each project. This is the honest and ethical thing to do. This is particularly important in an industry as small and interconnected as ours.

    Please take my comments as an honest and open critique. I wish you the best of luck in this endeavour.
  3. flavr thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011

    Absolutely fantastic advice! Thank you
  4. Dubadai macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Great website!

    I rather see a "standard" bootstrap website that is easy to read and navigate than something that isn't as straight forward. While it isn't that original, design wise, I think that it's more important to convey the correct message and reach out rather than have some flashy website!

    A few ideas:

    Maybe change the background photo? Maybe have something that is more creative or show off what you have created? I can't see the connection between the photo and the website. Like lucid media said, it makes it difficult to know if its a agency or a one man thing.

    Maybe try to put these beside each other? As someone who is currently sitting on a 13" computer, having to scroll back and forth between these two wasn't optimal. Maybe try to merge the two?
    Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.40.25.png

    And at the bottom, there was some empty black space under your footer:
    Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 18.40.08.png

    Otherwise an awesome job! :)
  5. flavr thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    Thank you! Much appreciated. I made some/will be making some of the changes you both suggested and its looking much better.
  6. flavr thread starter macrumors 6502


    Nov 9, 2011
    Its funny...I didn't post for this reason, but out of the hundreds of people that have checked out my site design not a single solitary person has contacted me or recommended me to anybody to do some design work for them. Maybe it's not clear what services I offer or the site isn't as good as I thought.
  7. olup, Aug 26, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015

    olup macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    If I were a potential client, I would like to know what your role in those projects was. Why things were done by you, the way they are done. Perhaps a case study would be beneficial.
  8. SpinThis!, Sep 5, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015

    SpinThis! macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2007
    Inside the Machine (Green Bay, WI)
    As lucid media touched on, you should have a good network of people you know. Odds are, some of them are going to be at different companies now. Referral is going to be your biggest source of income. I would get on the phone, linkedin, etc. and see who you know that might be a position to hire you in some way. Let them know you're on your own!

    The biggest myth in this industry is design sells itself. Your website is just evidence of past work but you didn't really elaborate on how it solved the client's problem or what the brief was. What did the client like about the work? I don't know if you've read Mike Monteiro's Design is a Job but I highly recommend it.

    What do you really want to do? Who is your website targeting? Creative Directors of agencies? Marketing Directors? What kind of clients are you actually after? Figure out who you're speaking to and then tailor your site for them. You can't be everything to everyone. Agencies typically are multi-faceted. As lucid mentioned, are you a freelancer or an agency? It doesn't look like you do copywriting or photography or website design. Those are 3, huge skills in making websites, yet you have "Responsive Website Design" listed as a serivce.

    Looks like you've done a lot of food and design work? Maybe focus on that? I'm still confused at to what you're really good at. So you can design, so what? I know 20 other people who can do the same thing.

    I think one of the biggest problems is you're showing big brand work that's representative for someone who's worked at an agency. Companies tend to hire agencies based on how they've solved design problems for a similar company. Nestle and Pfizer aren't likely going to knock on your door; big companies tend to hire big companies—like an agency with multiple competencies. That's fine, if that's who you want to be but I just don't get that big agency vibe from your site. If you're just a guy, be just a guy. Put the human element back into it. You're selling you.
  9. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    It is a wonderful site. Some thoughts from my personal experience, being on the other side as a client.
    lucidmedia had some very useful comments, suggestions.
    You have to concentrate on what you are selling, making it crystal clear. And you have to sell yourself or your studio, but through the website itself (design, looks, logic etc.) which represents your experience and expertise. For me it felt that you try to sell yourself with ("I'm currently available and accepting new clients", "Contact me now"). You don't have to do that. If the potential client likes what he sees, he would contact you w/o being called for doing it.
    I wish you good luck from the bottom of my heart!
  10. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004

    I wonder if websites actually do generate much in the way of new business for designers.
  11. laurim, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2015

    laurim macrumors 68000


    Sep 19, 2003
    Minnesota USA
    I've had a website for about 15 years and have never gotten a job from someone randomly finding it. I HAVE gotten annoying email inquiries from people wanting to sell me THEIR services, though. And occasionally I get emails from people wanting a job. It's really just a place for me to refer people to if they want to see examples. Every single one of my clients were acquired by a referral from a satisfied current customer. Really, my design skills aren't that stellar or unique. People hire me mostly because I'm reliable, easy to work with, reasonable cost and calm under pressure. None of those qualities can be conveyed through a website but CAN be relayed by someone who has experienced them.

    A note on your website. I don't like that static text AND links are the same color blue. Had a hard time knowing when something was clickable and that's a big NO NO in web design.

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