For many years, a personal website was a must have for most creative. I mean, what better way to flash your skills and previous projects than a custom design with your very own domain name?
But with art directors and managers now trawling through social media streams for inspiration—and often finding collaborators along the way—a personal website may no longer be the best way for getting your name out there. A personal website takes substantial time to create and update, whereas social networks can quickly communicate what you’re about. So, one might ask: is a self-designed online portfolio still required or relevant?
Social media has become a natural extension of in-person networks, and a very effective for getting clients.
People you meet at gatherings like birthday parties even from ten years back, or those you went to high school with, follow what you’re doing because you post your work on your personal Facebook pages. And then some of these people you thought you would never talk to again end up in positions to hire designers and reach out to you. When you post your work online, you remind people of your existence and what you do. If they happen to be looking for a designer, they might remember having connected with your work, prompting them to reach out.
Social media has the added potential of highlighting not just what you do but how you do it. On Instagram for example, you don’t just have to upload your final work. You can share segments from behind-the-scenes of your process.
There is however an argument to keep the website culture going. A website, on the other hand, is your portfolio, and the portfolio’s design can be just as much a part of the portfolio as the rest of the content. It can set the tone for your work and it shows your direction—and if you’re a web designer, it can show off your abilities, too.
You limit yourself if you don’t have a website, because every social or portfolio platform has its limitations. On Instagram, for instance, nobody writes long descriptions of work. People don’t read on Instagram, they just look at things. With a personal website, you have your own space so you can work out how to put all of your content together and display it in the most suitable way.