New Standards for Digital Art Portfolios: Part 2

October 24th, 2007 · No Comments · Education, Tools and Tech

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If web sites become the new standard for viewing artists’ portfolios, then a standard portfolio web site design protocol is needed. Some artists will prefer to create their own user interfaces, but I imagine the overwhelming majority have better things to do than learn web design or spend money hiring a specialist.

The portfolio web site should not be the art, except where it is the art. The portfolio web site should serve to easily communicate artists’ works. The more predictable the interfaces is, the easier it is for viewers to get to the art. Portfolio web sites should be invisible. Viewers should think about the art and nothing else.

A commonly used standard portfolio site design would accomplish this, however no standard will work if it is not easily available or at reasonable cost.

There are two design methods that could become a new standard for digital art portfolios. One is a lesser known feature of Adobe Photoshop and the other is Apple’s iWeb.

Few realize that Photoshop has the built-in ability to create portfolio web sites. Simply place your artwork in a folder, create a folder for the new site to be placed in and select “File”/”Automate”/”Web Photo Gallery…” A box comes up that lets you select one of twenty site styles. You then select your source and destination folders (the folders you’ve already created), surf the color and size preferences and click OK. Upload everything Photoshop sticks in the destination folder (using programs like Transmit, which is free from the Apple site) to your hosting service provider (we like which is about $10 a month) and boom: instant portfolio web site. It’s so easy I made an example with our work just for kicks (the hardest part was selecting which files to put in the source folder).

Note: if you need more text and want to use Photoshop, simply include the text under the image files (as part of the actual image file itself) or include the text as a separate image file.

Photoshop is extremely limited though, iWeb is a solid step up. IWeb is almost as easy to use and allows greater freedom in site design. It also has the advantage of being free for anyone who has a newish Mac. If you’ve bought a Mac in the last couple of years, chances are you already have it on your computer. Although it took about 5 minutes to make this — which is 4 minutes longer than Photoshop took — here is our work in an example iWeb site.

Note: in iWeb, all content is easily arrangable by dragging it around. My example site was done quickly with no real attention to spacing, etc.

Note to artists who don’t have a Mac: consider getting one. Put it on your credit card next to the Japan trip. Macs are no longer more expensive than PCs and they work the way artists think.

Read Part 1

Category: Education · Tools and Tech

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