Monthly Archives: May 2017

Inspiring Web Design Portfolios

Being a web designer, you’ve all probably seen those outstanding portfolios designed by your competitors and always look back at them for inspiration. I’ve got a few that really inspire my work because the designs are modern, popular and have a great user experience. There’s so many amazing portfolios, but I’ve decided to pick out 5 of my favourite ones that I always look up to in no particular order:

Ben Sky

A very inspirational portfolio by Ben Sky, a freelance web designer based in Leeds, Yorkshire. He designs websites to a very high standard in terms of graphics, functionality, optimisation and accessibility. All his work is compliant with the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). It is indeed a long checklist to go through but it’s not as complicated as it looks. There is software out there that can assist with website accessibility testing as it is a big area in the design field.

He has built his own CMS for his clients known as Skypanel, you will not find a single flaw in work; building websites to high standards such as this does has it benefits.

Nick La

Nick La is a very successful web designer at works under the name of N.Design Studio. He create great content, tutorials, websites, networks and popular CMS themes. He’s based in Toronto and is extremely skilled in graphics design; mainly vector graphics in Illustrator which adds that special touch to his work. These websites preview beautifully on a wide range of mobile devices like Blackberry, iPhone and iPad.

Kev Adamson

Kev Adamson is very original and specialises in a wide variety multimedia design including illustration, web design, graphics and animation. He has a unique touch to his work which has helped him win so many awards. Awards are the only way to go when you want to make it big as a freelancer, it shows you have out-performed everyone else and that you are an elite designer within the community which will attract you all the clients you can imagine. Nevertheless, I like how his website is easy to use and everything you need is on one page instead of separate ones.

Ella Design

And last but not least we have Ella Design. With her passion to start building on her HTML5 and CSS3 skills, she has designed a one of a kind website which is very appealing – with the right browser that is. We know well that it is not fully supported by all browsers just yet as it looks best in Google Chrome. But with the effects on the clouds floating in the background and other various features, her work could become quite popular. Being an early starter using code that is not yet complete can have its consequences as the W3C validation service constantly work on updating their service and code can become invalid in an instant. It is still definitely a portfolio to feature.

Elevated Web Design

Whether you are a freelance web designer or looking for a salaried position business sense is important. What to wear, what to say, how to price, how to hire; these are all things you will need to know. Below are a few helpful business tips related to the web design industry.

  1. Be Professional

For the freelancer the need for professionalism is as important as in the white collar world. First impressions are everything, if you’re gaining a new client or applying for a job some things are everlasting. You will need to be clean, dressed nice and mind your choice of words and topics. The handshake is important, not too soft not too firm. Looking and speaking in a concise, polite manner is key to executing a great first impression.

  1. Be Prepared

Being prepared isn’t easy, but the benefits are great. First if you’re applying for a job, make sure you have researched everything about it. Going into a job you should know what the job is, if and why you’re qualified and have all of the important paper work and identification. Make sure to have pens and possibly spare paper. Being prepared means you’re organized and careful and this speaks volumes on one’s character. It seems like common sense but make sure you have gas in your car, directions to meetings and plan your time well. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

  1. Pricing & Contracts

To get a rough idea of what you should be charging do some diligence. The occupational handbook is a good place to start. Check out your local competition and get a few quotes. This will help guide you towards a pricing model. Also consider you talent level and personal costs. How much is it going to cost you at a minimum to do any given job? Can you fulfill all of your promises? If not then perhaps you should reconsider. Also make sure you understand what any contract you use means. Know what you’re signing, and make sure your clients understand what they are shining.

  1. Stay Smart

Some opportunities are great but others should be avoided. A bad job or client can rob you of precious resources; your time and money. A lot of customers will haggle with you on prices and try to underbid you, be wary of this and stand strong in your pricing model. The old adage “give them and inch, they take a mile” applies here. Don’t discount largely for these customers and insist that your pricing is fair and work excellent. Also as a web designer your reputation is everything. Never do a job poorly to spite a rude customer and never talk bad about an employer.

  1. Network

Networking is one of the most important things in business. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You could be the best designer in the world but web design doesn’t sell itself. Personal marketing and branding is the key to success, people have to be able to find you and for freelancers word of mouth is often their bread and butter. Knowing people also presents rare opportunities. When you know someone you can often gain inside offers, deals or tips. And when you’re in need having a strong base is always helpful.

Where To Find Ideas For Web Design

When it comes to starting a project, some have no idea where to start. You need to think about how the navigation is going to be laid out, how text will be styled and how the design will look once its all put together. Here I’m going to explain where to get those mad ideas for the website your clients will just love. There’s no looking in just one place, you need to have a look at a variety of media before you can get some ideas for your design and hopefully get it transferred to paper or your favourite editor.

Web Designer Mag

Get a cup of tea ready and relax, you’re a web designer! Now I believe this magazine is only available in the UK, if you’re somewhere else in the world where you don’t have the privilege to read this magazine you should perhaps go for the next best thing available. I invest in a subscription for this magazine because I just love it. It is packed with amazing websites, reviews, tutorials and the latest web trends. All the best content from the web packed into a little booklet, it’s just great and worth it too.

Pattern Tap

This is one of my favourites and it’s a great one for UI designers too. They have chosen some of the best interface designs for the following categories: forms, sign up, lists, borders, thumbnails, buttons, backgrounds, login, web application, articles search, navigation, layout, icons, typography, images, distinction, eCommerce and to be honest the list goes on for a couple of pages so they definitely have a bit of everything and personally I think the quality of work on the site is very inspirational indeed.

Quick Google Searches

Google is your friend. I have definitely learnt a lot over the years using this powerful search engine, in fact I learn almost everything from Google, I use it to my advantage because it is a quick way to access the world’s information, it’s all yours and very easy to use so don’t ever under-estimate Google, it has answers to all your questions (and whoever said if you type Google into Google the internet will break is just plain stupid; private joke for viewers of the IT Crowd, a funny TV series about an IT support team, definitely worth a watch).

Competitors

Working as a freelancer is just like any other business, you have competitors so if you were designing a website for a Chinese restaurant for example; view the top Chinese restaurant websites and see what ideas you can take from each one then use your own ideas as well as the clients’ thoughts to come up with something better. Knowing the standards in an industry helps you go a long way so make sure you do you research and think like any other business or agency would, keep your professionalism to a top level.