Building an Online Portfolio

While I learned a lot of technical and creative skills earning my A.A.S. in Digital Prepress Print Production at College of DuPage, we merely hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to putting together an online portfolio. In the Graphic Design department’s Typography class, my professor, Mr. Chu, had us spend a couple hours at the C.O.D. library in a session giving an overview of available resources at the library. One topic that was discussed was the ease of using WordPress.com to create an online portfolio.

Before any formal training, my employer, JMI, asked me to build a basic website for the company. They already had a web domain set up and included in their business package through Yahoo!, so I taught myself to use Yahoo! Site Builder to create the JMI website,  www.jmi-associates.com.

In my Web Production class at College of DuPage, we created a couple of websites using Adobe Dreamweaver. Both of those can be seen in my portfolio: Julie’s Site and College of DuPage Graphic Arts Technology Information Website.

I’ve come across several job descriptions in my hunt for employment that specifically mention WordPress knowledge as a requirement/bonus skill. The “free” aspect of it doesn’t hurt either. I decided that for these reasons, along with the suggestion from the C.O.D. librarian, I would give WordPress.com a try. Fortunately, with access to www.lynda.com, it was relatively easy to learn to create this site.

Of course, aside from the technical aspects, I also wanted to make sure my online portfolio was aesthetically pleasing. I found a fantastic blog post at http://www.graphicdesignblog.org that informed me about key elements to have in my online portfolio.

I’ve tried to incorporate these elements into my online portfolio. I’ve found that the templates for WordPress.com definitely limited what I can do creatively with the site; choosing a template requires some compromise on some elements in order to get the most critical elements included in the template.

Perhaps my next endeavor will be changing my WordPress.com site into a site through WordPress, which allows for much more customization.

Teaching myself to create an online portfolio has been quite an enlightening experience. Fortunately, I love to learn and am excited to continue to explore my new career field as I grow in this new-found profession!

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