Sketching your Portfolio’s Menu & Site Map
We all know what a menu is: that thing across the top or down the side of a website.
As I’ve mentioned to a few of you, I hate menus that say:
To me this says
I’m not gonna tell you what I do yet. You have to click this button first, and then when you get there I’ll finally tell you what I do.
You know from your own web surfing how quickly you will leave a site that isn’t what you want or is too confusing. A web project that’s a puzzle box for a viewer to solve can be a cool virtual artwork – if it can find an audience willing to explore it – but it’s not a portfolio. Our mission is to provide a Clear, Concise, and Compelling view of what we have to offer. Instead of a non-informative menu like “Projects” or “Works” or “Portfolio”, let your menu be an outline of your portfolio.
A Graphic Designer’s menu could be something like:
- Branding • Packaging • Typography • About • Contact
- Figurative Works • Abstraction • Sketches • About • Contact
- Identity Projects • Social Groups • Longform Documentary • About • Contact
Your Portfolio Home Page
Here’s the top of a Home Page that I don’t like:
HOME – WORK – ABOUT – CONTACT
I don’t like it because, as described above, “Work” doesn’t tell me anything. It makes me click before you’re willing to tell me what you do. Also, a surprising number of artists don’t have their name at the top of their website!!! That’s crazy!!! “Artistic Journeys” tells me nothing. Let’s not make our viewers do so much work.
Here’s a top of Home Page that I like better:
HOME – BRANDING – PACKAGING – TYPOGRAPHY – ABOUT – CONTACT
- My name is Vicky Meurent – bam!
- I am a Graphic Designer – bam!
- An outline of my Graphic Design focus is: Branding, Packaging & Typography – bam!
No secrets, no forever clicking, just BAM! This is me. Here’s what I do! BAM!
If that’s not what you need, you’re free to go. But, most importantly, if I am what you’re looking for, it’s immediately clear!
Here’s another home page:
HOME – PERFORMANCE – INSTALLATION – PUBLIC ART – SITE-SPECIFIC WORK – ABOUT – CONTACT
Again, Who I am, What I do, and an outline of my focus are all immediately there for my audience.
The menu you just created is a lot of your Site Map. A Site Map is what it sounds like, a map of what’s in your Portfolio and how viewers can get from place to place.
Your Site Map is a chance to look through all the work you have to show and plan what goes on what page. You might also find that the pieces you have, while good, don’t entirely cover the work you’d like to be doing as you move from the Art Student Chapter of your life, to the Emerging Artist/Career Building Chapter of your life. This is an invitation to create a few pieces that show you working in the areas and styles you’d like to be working in.
- You don’t have to wait for a class to assign a piece to you!
- You don’t even have to wait for a Client, Collector, Design Shop, Curator, Boss, or anyone else to ask you to create something!
If your Site Map of what you want to show in your portfolio reveals that there’s a hole in the work you have to show…
- Make it!!!
Post your Menu & Site Map on your Etherpad page! 😀