Who are you as an artist, and is there such a thing as a “best design?” Who’s to say? What you think may be the best might not be the smartest.
First, consider the style of the work itself – your “product”- and what would best support your visual message. It’s like framing a photograph – you’re probably not going to put a big, heavy, black metal frame around a soft, illustrative image; for example – it has to complement the work. The same is true with your website and marketing promotions – let the branding support and enhance the images, rather than contradict or conflict with them.
When I worked with photographer Jade Albert, the goal was to create a new website and branding that highlighted her wonderful photographs, particularly of babies and children and captured the charming, feminine, and whimsical personality that is Jade herself.
Jade’s Portfolios (portfolio shown: Babies)
A while back, I worked with fine art photographer Barry Steven Greff, who wanted to separate his work into two different websites, with two different looks and two different messages, but with the main goal of elevating his fine art work in particular, to the next level. The stock website was more utilitarian and functional, while the fine art website, the new one, was like a breath of fresh air – light, airy and expansive, which tied in with the beautiful images of land and seascapes. Barry wanted the website to look like a gallery as if the images were hanging on a clean, white wall.
Once the new site was in place, Barry focused primarily on pursuing the fine art and high-end commercial markets that utilize fine art – his real passion – and he eventually phased out the old website, thus refining his message back down to the one singular website. After that, to keep up with the social networking trends and add another dimension of creative self-expression, he added a new blog to compliment the website.
In this case, yes, it does! It just doesn’t work these days to be showing small images.
You’re selling beautiful images – this is your visual art online, not postage stamps! So show them to their fullest advantage and use as much of the screen area as you can – why wouldn’t you?
Keep your message simple and don’t have too much text – you’re selling images, not your life story. And, people are generally lazy about reading. Their attention spans can be short, especially if they’re looking for images. If you are in the business of image-making, and this is what you want the viewer to see – then show it off and let the work do the talking.
To answer the question of how an artist gets their message out there, photographer Chris Crisman is a good example. I worked with Chris a few years back, and I have watched both his business grow as well as his work development since that time. In the beginning, we completely updated the look of his website and branding and edited the work into portfolios. We then created an initial set of mailing lists, and a template for his email promotions that matched the branding of the new website. All he had to do was insert new images into the template each time he wanted the next promotion to go out. This set up gave him more time to continue shooting new work. Over the years, Chris has changed his branding to represent his latest work, while consistently promoting to the people he wants to work with.
After spending a number of years in the commercial photography industry, Louisa Curtis now works to help photographers refine their vision, target the appropriate audience, and create and implement internet-driven business plans.
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