Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.
Today’s site is Q & A Creative, the freelance portfolio of Doug Wollison.
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About Q & A Creative
“I can help answer all your design and development problems. Need a website for your business? A logo for your company? A poster for your event? A brochure for your product or service? Help turning your design into a functional website? Contact me, because I’m your guy!”
“If you need help promoting your business, selling products, or simply spreading your message, I can help. I can build you a website, design a logo, draw up a poster, layout a brochure, and more. I also offer consultation with all projects, helping you understand whats involved in the project, and help get the most out of whatever I make for you.”
Here is a screenshot of the homepage:
Q & A Creative is a nice little design portfolio from designer Doug Wollison. My first thoughts about the site as I load the page are mixed. From a technical standpoint, I like the site. The layout is simple and logical and the fixed sidebar works well with this content and format.
I also like that each project comes with multiple thumbnails that can easily be browsed in addition to a description. It’s nice to get such an in-depth peek at the projects that are being showcased.
From a completely personal and subjective point of view, I’m not crazy about the overall visual theme here. I’m not even sure how to explain why, I’m just not going for the big, goofy look that is at work. The Megapolis typography and color scheme make the site feel a little like I’m staring at 90s TV show graphics.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the elements.
Logo and Navigation
The sidebar of the site is dedicated to the navigation and logo. The navigation is simple enough, it’s right where you expect it to be (a good thing) and is kept basic with only three links to choose from.
Despite not loving the rest of the typography, I actually like the logo element. The way the letters all curl and conform to each other is really nice. I think as a stand alone element it stays closer to the “cool” side of retro and away from the “cheesy” side.
However, with any zany or crazy fonts, you want to be sure to use them sparingly: less is definitely more. Changing the other type on the site and perhaps even enlarging the logo would going to make a stronger statement than these elements in their current state.
As far as the pattern in this area, it definitely makes sense with the name of the site. I suggest making it a little more subtle and once again, rethinking the colors to look a little more professional.
The primary column on the left is a long, scrolling area with large previews of Doug’s work samples. This area highlights the work quite well and you quickly get a feel for Doug’s style and approach.
My main concern here is that the graphical content can get really busy. For instance, in the image above, a site is on display that mixes lots of patterns. This is placed over the diagonal pattern of the portfolio background, which also features some screened back typographical artwork. The overall effect is can be a little dizzying and could definitely be simplified.
The same effect is at work on the type in this section, I find it very difficult to read. There’s just so much going on that it’s not easy for your eyes to focus on reading. It’s really easy to lose your place, and consequently, your interest.
This typographical trouble carries over to the About page, which is primarily composed of textual content.
As far as the content on this page, most of it is great. I love that the designer’s resume makes a prominent appearance. One thing that I think could be reconsidered here is the following paragraph:
“Ontario. While I’ve only been really studying design for the last three years I’ve been at St. Clair, I’ve been messing around with web development since early high school, and have picked up a lot over the years. I’m very passionate about my work, and constantly learning and experimenting with new technologies, techniques and styles with my work.”
Frankly, I think this paragraph sells the designer short. The tone isn’t confident, it’s hesitant. It doesn’t make the author sound experienced but junior, like he’s still “figuring out” this design thing. I would suggest rewriting or ditching this paragraph completely. Stay away from phrases like “I’ve only been really studying design for the last three years”, which cause me to lose faith in your experience.
To sum up, this is a fairly well-designed site that successfully meets the goal of showcasing the designer’s work in a positive light. The site’s biggest downfall is typographical problems throughout. Both font choice and overall readability are far below what they could be. A little time and effort in this area will go a long way.
Finally, I encourage the designer to watch his language when discussing his career and experience. It’s good to be honest but never use language that could be perceived as self-depracating if you’re trying to convince someone that you’re competent enough to be hired.
Now that you’ve read my comments, pitch in and help out by giving the designer some further advice. Let us know what you think is great about the design and what you think could be stronger. As always, we ask that you also be respectful of the site’s designer and offer clear constructive advice void of any harsh insults.