New brand. New website.

Hello there! Thanks for sticking around and checking out my new portfolio website. I’ve been meaning to do this for such a long time that I can’t quite believe I’m actually pressing the publish button!

Building a website is no easy task! I bet you will all agree with me. But it’s a massive learning curve to those that take on the challenge. And I do love one.

First and foremost it’s all about understanding what you stand for as a brand and then it’s also to figure out what you want to achieve with your website. In my case, I want to create a space to showcase my work and build connections with people that want to work with me. If you are one of those, get in touch.

I also wanted to create a space where I can jot down my thoughts and create a creative journal where I can share my views and knowledge, and not necessary try to sell you anything. I believe creativity is key to bring new innovative ideas to this world. Design with purpose can achieve so much in our society.

Where do you start?

I touched upon it in the intro, but the first thing one needs to think about is their key brand values. In my case, we are talking about my personal brand. I had to take the time to think about what my key values are, what I stand for, what makes me unique and how I want to be seen.

Key drivers for me:

  • I’m passionate about design – I love pretty much every single industry, with a particular focus on holistic branding projects.
  • Positive attitude – For me the glass is always half full. I focus on the positives, and that is just how I choose to be, both on professional or personal situations. With so much negativity, I focus on the good stuff
  • I’m helpful – I like to help and support people around me. That might be through practical stuff or simply by providing advice.
  • I’m a foreigner – And that’s a good thing. I’m Brazilian and currently live in the UK. I speak 3 different languages and I have been collecting experiences worldwide which I believe helps me be more creative and better understand cultural differences.
  • I’m open – I am a true believer of collaboration and I pride myself of being an open minded person, building connections with people that have different views and working towards a common objective.
  • I’m a sustainability advocate – I believe designers play an important role on coming up with solutions for a more sustainable society. They can have a say on a strategy or a physical design solution like furniture, packaging or printing solution.

Knowing your values and what you stand for are they key pillars to start with.

What’s the website objective?

So now that we got the key values sorted, what will be the key purpose of building a website? So again, this will vary according to each project. In my case, I wanted to create my personal website and I want it to be that, personable. I will talk about my professional experience and shed a light on my own views.

My main objective is to showcase my work, show personality and create connections with people and businesses that align themselves with me. I also see this platform as an educational website. A place where I can share views and tips on how to better design stuff.

Website Structure

Once you know the website’s main objective, then it’s time to think about how the website will be structured. Call is site architecture or site mapping. Think about the sort of pages you need and what kind of content you need creating.

There are usually some key areas you need to cover on a basic website, then you can expand on further depending of the site complexity or need. You definitely want to have a homepage that showcases the core areas of your website, an about us section, where you can shout out about your values and your story, an area to showcase your services or products and a contact page. These are literally the starting foundations of any site.

And of course, you want to make sure it’s easy to navigate, user friendly, accessible and all that good stuff.

Look and feel

Here we go back to your core brand values and how you want to be seen. Once you got that as a base you most probably need to have a brand that demonstrates that. This will probably feed on a whole different post, but you will need to focus on key things like your tone of voice, brand identity, visual assets and colour pallets. They will play a big role on defining the look and feel of your website.

In my case, because I’m a designer and work with different projects, I wanted a website that would be neutral enough to showcase different styles of work, but that also could use vibrant colours that would represent my upbeat personality.

Work in Progress

One thing that is good to point out is that, as horrible as this may sound for long winded website projects, a website is never (ever) finished.

One needs to realise that in the digital age, websites need to change and adapt fairly quickly. The important thing is to get started. Test your waters early and adapt depending on the feedback you get. See it as a phase one, phase two and so on.

If you get the look and feel right on the first place, you probably will be able to leave the website template looking similar for a while. But you will need to have a totally different mindset for your website content. To keep your audience engaged (and to be found on search engines) you need to make sure your content is interesting and it actually giving value back to those that land on your website.

Learning curve

Every single project is unique and I think that one can learn a lot from every experience, but one needs to give themselves the time and head space to really think about it.

This project was a personal one for me and it was quite important to practice what I preach for my own clients. Taking the time to really think about the strategy and goals before diving into the look and feel.

At the same time, one needs to not focus on perfection. I’m guilty of it myself, being over cautious and postponing my own project over client work I have on the go. And I’m sure I’m not the only designer doing this. But the reality is, any progress is better than nothing.

This website is far from perfect, but I hope to keep on working on it and improve it over time. I advice you to do the same, start that project you have been delaying today.


Fernanda Rizzo