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Tommy Spero’s Portfolio

Looking at designer Tommy Spero’s portfolio, www.soultooth.com, you see the identity of the designer shines through. The Web portfolios style is highly effective and meets the goals of the author by explicitly reaching out to a targeted audience of advertising agencies and high-end design shops. The site is unique because it does target the user by specifically presenting categories relating to the user. The main navigation categories include: on-air, online, off- line, and contact.


From the start, this site is easy to understand and easy to navigate. Usability is high due to an integrated interface that provides a wealth of work that is easily viewed and easily accessed. The interface is elegant while somewhat edgier in its theme and identity elements. The use of color, including brown, pink, and magenta with retro photography on the homepage give this site a memorable look and feel. The site content includes dozens of samples of design work created for broadcast, print, and new media.


Tommy Spero’s Web portfolio, soultooth.com was built using Macromedia Flash. The simplicity behind the operational features of the site can be attributed to thoughtfulness during the content development, information architecture, and design stages of the project. The site is a great example of individualized, audience appropriate style with exceptionally usable functionality. The com- plexity of this site design cannot be seen from screenshots or even from visiting the site. However, soultooth.com is an advanced Web portfolio in the produc- tion methods used to create it.


Special educator and kindergarten teacher Kimberly DiMarco had specific goals when she created her Web portfolio. As a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. DiMarco wanted to have a Web portfolio that was fun and showed a thematic metaphor that included crayons. Creatively, Mrs. DiMarco used in interface in a Web portfolio made of crayons. When rolling over the crayons, a line rolled out with the navigation text. This clever idea is a good example of paying close attention to a style that will appeal to a target audience.The style of the site was important to Mrs. DiMarco for several reasons. When discussing the history of the site, Mrs. DiMarco explained that the site was needed to act as evidence of professional growth and lifelong learning and would be submitted in the future when she applied for tenure and promotion.


Also, the site would be viewed by parents in order to get to know her and to get a feeling of her style as a teacher. Because she understood her audience, Mrs. DiMarco was able to gather the appropriate content to meet her goals. Included in her Web portfolio are her teaching philosophy, examples of web design lesson plans, photos of her and her students (which she receive parental and district permission to use), a resume, and a short biography.


This site was instrumental in helping Mrs. DiMarco when she graduated from student teaching and applied for real-world teaching positions. She explained, the advantages of showing a Web portfolio were evident in the positive comments she received during interviews. Having the Web portfolio gave her a competitive advantage when pursuing a teaching position.


Rick Mills is an artist and educator who is highly active in public art projects. When setting out to develop a Web portfolio, Rick was concerned with exhibiting the proper style that aligned with his personal mission as a public artist and appealed aesthetically to himself and his audience.


The site opens with a simple flash animation showing a sequence of images complemented by a soothing soundtrack. The theme of the site resides in nature, and the natural feelings, emotions, and curiosities elicited by the art of Rick Mills. Visual content and its tasteful yet efficient presentation was paramount to Professor Mills when he planned the site.


A fluid style is achieved through the use of color that uses soft tones on different pages. Photographs of art work alone and with natural environments constituted a large portion of the site’s content. Professor Mills uses simple navigation which included contact, history, projects, a professional section, and finally a link to important resources. Additionally, a resume rounds out the site to make it an effective vehicle to communicate the accomplishments, ideas, and artwork.


When I interviewed Professor Mills about his experience during the Web portfolio design process he stated that, as an artist, style and content were critical. As a professional designer, Professor Mills was able to create navigation and sub navigation that was elegant and simple. Rick Mills’s Web portfolio site is a success because it fits the needs of an artist, educator, and designer while providing a visually beautiful and intuitively engaging experience.


When planning your Web portfolio, think about your strengths. How can they be evidenced? What is the most important message left behind from your content? In my case, I want the user to feel that my site portrays a professional educator who has strong design sense and has paid attention to make his Web portfolio a great user experience. In addition, I need the user to navig ate through my Web portfolio with a feeling of intuitive confidence while enjoying the work.


To achieve this, I tried to impart a style that is organized and clean. My stylistic focus will be on integrating images and other work into an open portal with strict typographic and design consistency. Header graphics for each page will include a personal logo. Each page will have a consistent Web safe color for the page backgrounds. You might want your portfolio to utilize a style that is based on your personal themes. Maybe you like nature and want to use earth tones and nature images to provide a theme throughout the site. Maybe you want classical music to load with the site and play throughout the user experience. That might be good if you are a music teacher. Either one is okay, but it should fit the context of your audience. If you are trying to land a job as a recording artist or a production person, a rock theme might work well. However, if you are a preschool teacher, that would not help you persuade and communicate with your audience in a positive fashion.


Using a metaphor that relates to teaching would be more persuasive. Remember, the style should appeal to the audience in some way. Otherwise, no one will have a chance to learn about your skills and experience because they are turned off by the theme of the site. Think about style seriously. Don’t worry if you feel like you don’t have a grasp on a style yet, you still have time to make stylistic decisions. In fact, your style decisions may be altered during the Web development process.


It is okay to be without a concrete theme at this point. You will create style identity by using consistent visual elements including color and typography and themes. Thinking about certain elements in the site, you can focus on one common theme and then extended through at the site. As with the site examples that we showcased previously, you too can develop a style based on a theme.


These examples portrayed styles of cutting-edge popular culture of a designer, the postmodern artistic vision and multimedia prose of a professor and artist, the fun and creative kindergarten teacher, and a beautiful exploration into the life and public art of an artist in residence and professor. Use these cases as inspiration in developing your own style. Venture out on the Web and seek out styles that appeal to you. From your research, gain vision and insight and then make decisions about your own style.


Style is great and it gives a look and feel that comes memorable to your Web portfolio. Now that we have discussed style a bit, let’s move on to composition and some visual desi gn principles to get a better foundation for arranging our Web portfolio pages. Style is useless if composition is weak. When composi- tion breaks down, order is lost and ultimately so is the user. Composition Web pages becomes challenging because there are multiple elements which need to be included in the arrangements.The development of each of these multiple


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