Build it and they will come

Having a well-designed website can make all the difference when you graduate

We asked one of the masters of self-promotion, designer Anthony Sheret
of Brighton-based studio The Entente, for some tips on how best to promote yourself online. Sheret has been in touch with cr since he was at college (his earliest portfolio site is shown, right) and here he offers some advice on how to ­display your work on the web and why a certain degree of etiquette is important when keeping in touch with those all-important contacts.

Your website
——– The reason for your site is your work: it’s the key focus therefore design the layout and grid to give it maximum attention. Consider size, type (colour and size), grid, thumbnails or other images and their relation to the other work shown.
——– Take time to decide how to present your projects: try and keep coherence between project pages and how the work is shot (eg on a grey background, coloured background etc). How the work is shot and displayed is key to your portfolio.
——– Edit what you show: the strongest port­folios show a diverse and wide range of projects that a designer and design studio can apply itself to. Take out what you don’t think is your strongest work – it’s better to have five strong projects, rather than ten average ones.
——– Naming: keep it clear. Are you a studio or an individual? Are you searching for clients or employment? Keep your domain short and easy to spell if you can – but make it something that will easily be remembered.
——– Keep your profile brief and to the point: but list your education, internships and publications that you’ve been in. Write a small amount about what you believe in – your ideas about the medium you work in and your own philosophy.
——– Keep the navigation simple and easy: if you can, have a link to your profile info and contact details on every page.
——– Compile a mailing list: it’s a useful tool for keeping track of those interested in what you’re doing, but who don’t necessarily want to talk to you directly.
——– Email addresses: steer clear of Hotmail, Gmail or any free email addresses. Don’t
be lazy if you have bought a domain name. Take the time to work out how to set up your own mail@yourname.com.

Working relationships
——– Keep in touch with your contacts: tell them what you’re doing, what your plans are and send them hard copies of what you have finished.
——– Don’t pester: most designers and design studios are busy so keep in contact, but don’t over do it – there is nothing worse than being chased.
——– Send thank you notes: if you have interned somewhere, keep in contact. The personal touch always goes down well.
——– Be patient: not everything will happen at once, so have patience and maintain a belief in what you’re doing.
——– Contacting studios: if you can, send something physical and ensure that you address the letter to the right person (if you need to, ring up and ask) – spelling their name correctly. Follow up with an email or phone call within a week of them receiving your package.
——– Invest in your work: if you’re working on a piece of self-promotion, put your money behind it, get it off-set, silk-screened etc. The final production of a piece of work is as important as the design.

More advice: Check out designer Ben Terrett’s post ‘7 ways to be a graphic design student online’ at noisydecentgraphics.typepad.com. Very informative

More of Sheret and Harrington’s work at the-entente.org

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