Website/Portfolio Redesign Critique

Hi guys, I recently updated my work/website layout.

www.alexanderfrankdesigns.com

I’d love some honest feedback on the work, the layout, the messaging, etc…trying to make some good changes here.

Thank you

I’ve only read the opening message at the very top, and I’d say you need to think harder about the exact meaning of the words you write…

  • You are based IN Los Angeles, not “out of” Los Angeles.
  • “Quality work? Nothing like it.” Means you do nothing like quality work.

If you really are working with “clients across the globe,” you must consider how your messaging will be interpreted by people who don’t speak English, and avoid colloquialisms. “Nothing like it” could easily become “no one likes it” in places like Singapore or the Philippines, for instance.

I’ve gone back and done some more reading, specifically the latest blog entry, and again I’d advise you to be more mindful of your words. “They’re making bank, hand over fist.” and “facepalm” may seem like witty ways to express what you mean, but it’s exactly the kind of phrasing that defies universal understanding. Remember you’re writing for people who don’t talk like you.

And, you need to get someone you trust to proofread your writing. The introductory paragraphs contain an instance of “than” that should be “then” and “imaged” where you intended to say “imagined”. Both are perfect examples of how relying only on spellcheck can fail you. Perhaps it would be considered unfair or nit-picky by some, but if I was considering hiring you, I’d close the browser window and move on after finding those mistakes. In this business, there can be no compromise when it comes to accuracy and attention to detail. One error is too many, and finding two in under one minute of reading is fatal. Without reading further, I’d assume there are many more.

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You do nice work, and, overall, I like the visual of the website.

If I were to offer any criticism or suggestion it would be that the use of Photoshop mockups feels a bit heavy handed. It gives off the sense that you found a website with a bunch of mockup templates and just went crazy with them. For example, on the Canndeavor page, there is no place where I can just see the logo by itself.

HotButton brought up some good points regarding the copy and messaging.

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Your work is very nice — no question about that.

However, your portfolio seems to focus on everything around your work rather than your work itself. I read your descriptions of the various projects and they don’t seem to match up to what you’re showing.

You show photos of buildings, aerial photos, logos for events, smartphones, abstract images, meeting rooms and dozens of mockups of various things that I’m at a loss to say whether or not half these things really had anything to do with the project.

It’s great to show your work in action and how it looked in use, but what do photos of architecture and empty meeting rooms have to do with the branding project you did for Canndeavor Capital Group? What does a lead image with a bunch of spark-like objects have to do with Evermore? You designed a display for a Google event, but some of your main images have little to do with that display and show, instead, the outside of the building, the event’s logo, Google’s logo and a smartphone. It’s almost like you’re trying to exaggerate your projects by associating them with things that aren’t really yours or are only marginally associated with what you did. It’s confusing trying to separate your work from everything else you added.

That criticism out of the way, I love booklet you apparently designed for the Google School for Leaders.

To Steve’s point about the writing, I agree. The writing is generally great, which makes the few mistakes really stand out. I also agree with needing to scale back the colloquialisms. Friendly, informal writing is good, but it needs to be business-like and not subject to misinterpretation.

The quote below is a good example. I count at least six separate mistakes or bits of awkwardness.

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Ahh this is great info. Thanks Just-B. Its weird, whenever I put together work for a client, i seem to get most of the things right but when it comes to my work, its all over the place haha. Never understood that. But i appreciate the comments, I’ll definitely get to work on editing this info.

In terms of presenting the work, is there anything you’d recommend me doing? The google one for example, I didnt want to lay out 84 pages of a style guide, and rather than just do flat images, showing it in its physical form as best as possible is what i went with; actually, its mainly what I did with most of the projects haha. Put them on mockups to get the feeling of how they did/do/would look in its proper environment.

Again, much appreciated!

OOOF. The harshness :confounded: But thats what I requested haha I appreciate this. Ill need to rework the messaging and read things through a handful of times before sharing. I appreciate this my friend, thank you! Definitely going to take a look and update my copy!

Thanks Steve-O. Is there something you’d recommend me do instead of using the mockups? I think I went ham on those because like I explained to Just-B, I wanted the viewer to have an idea of what the items looked like in their actual environment when I wasnt able to get a copy of the physical items myself.

I think some of it is a matter of hierarchy. It’s probably good to show context, but when the contextual images, like a building or an event logo or an abstract image isn’t clearly subordinate to your work, they tend to come across, not as support pieces, but primary images that compete with and confuse what you’re really trying to show.

I’m not so concerned about the mockups. Very often they’re necessary to supply context of how the work might appear in use. Showing the real thing along with mockups might help to suggest that it’s a real project and not something just made up for the sake of a portfolio piece. A logo, for example, is rarely seen in the wild as a stand-alone composition, so it makes sense to create a mockup showing how it would appear in a real-life situation, but I think it’s also important to show it as a flat piece of stand-alone design work and, if possible, a real photo (doesn’t have to be a great photo) of it being used.

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Makes sense! Good to get some insight on that, thanks!

Totally agree with @Just-B

My initial impression when I visited your site was that I’d misread your post and you were showcasing photography.

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