At Artpromotivate, we have been stressing the importance of designing a personal website portfolio for online art promotion. Portfolios at free online gallery websites are great, but nothing makes an artist appear more professional than having their own self-hosted portfolio website and domain (website address).
This will be an ongoing series regarding designing and building an art portfolio of your own. We will try to make it as easy to follow along as possible, assuming you have no technical knowledge of web design, html coding, css etc.
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The best way to learn about designing a personal art portfolio (other than taking a course) is by looking at and studying the websites of other artists.
All the artists featured at Artpromotivate have a link to their personal artist websites, appearing at the end of their interviews. Look in the sidebar to find a long list of previously spotlighted artists.
While browsing through these, think of yourself as an art collector or first time visitor. Stay on the introductory page and ask yourself these questions?
- Is the artist’s artwork the center of attraction?
- Does the introductory page make you curious, and entice you to learn more about the artist?
- Is it simple to do so, through easy to find navigation links?
- Is there a way of sharing the artist at social networks?
- Can I easily find more information about the artist, all artworks, and how to purchase them?
Examples of Good Art Portfolio Website Designs
We will give you a couple of examples of a good artist website design, from past artist spotlight entries. Do not try to copy them, but use them as an inspiration for designing your own unique website, and showcasing your individuality. A lot can be learned from browsing other portfolios and noting what to include for your own.
- PIANO AS ART
When visitors first enter the Piano as Art website, they are presented with a splash-page featuring a brief summary of what Piano as Art is about, and a large banner image of one of the piano sculptures. One single link directs visitors to the main gallery.
We normally do not recommend splash pages for art portfolios, but this one looks well suited to the site.
When visitors enter the main gallery, they are presented with something very original. One image is displayed with details, but others can be found by clicking piano keys. For those who want to find all the images at one time, there is a Quick Image Finder, with thumbnails showing all the piano sculptures on one single page.
The menu at the top also includes What they are Saying, a page which has reviews and feedback. Other essential pages, which are normally a part of every art portfolio site, are Exhibition Schedule (events) and an About page, including contact information and a Youtube demonstration video.
A professional website designer created this site. Do you see any flash displays here? The design is actually quite simple, and places the emphasis on the artwork, while making it easy to view more, and find out about the artists.
- HIROKO SAKAI FINE ART
We are very impressed with Hiroko Sakai’s portfolio website. When first entering, the viewer is presented with a rotating background of some of her artworks. A brief introduction to the artist, along with a thumbnail to her online shop appears here as well. Something which we recommend at all art websites are social sharing buttons. Hiroko includes buttons for Facebook and Twitter.
Rounding out the design is the great navigation, which is organized very well. Art work is categorized into Paintings, Drawings, and Photography, and further subcategorized according to subject or theme. Her About section has everything to find out more about the artist, including Bio, Life Path, Press, and What’s New? There is lots more to explore, including shop, blog links, etc.
What really matters for a portfolio site is making it easy for visitors to either purchase the artwork, or contact the artist for more information. This site does this very well.
Go to Paintings – Gallery – Recent Pieces. Several thumbnails appear here, all in black and white. But hovering the cursor reveals full color, enticing the visitor to click for a larger version. When doing so, another page opens revealing a larger image.
The simple design of this portfolio page has everything recommended! A large photo of the artwork fills most of the page, capturing most of the attention. The right side is used to feature details, purchase links, and thumbnails for close-up shots. There is even a thumbnail here to show the artwork displayed on a wall. Purchase links for the original, giclee prints, and framed canvas prints are included here as well. Also, easily view more of her artworks by clicking the arrows.
So, you may be asking “How do I do this?” The best way to begin building a website is to make a plan. We will show you how to do this in future articles and tutorials. We will try not overwhelm you by explaining everything at once, but will keep everything in an orderly fashion - explaining how to start with your main page and build from there.
In the meantime, begin looking at other artist’s websites, and noting what you like about them, and what you would like to include in your personal online gallery.
Stay tuned for much more on the subject of artist website designing, and please comment below if you have any questions.