Author:

James Young is a Creative Director at Offroadcode and a freelance designer and front-end developer based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire who works with a wide range of clients around the world. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Retiring The Portfolio Screenshot

The humble screengrab, staple component of a million personal and agency portfolios, can now retire with thanks for years of sterling service showing snippets of work done for a particular client or project. The screengrab always reflected a mythical state in time where the website looked just as the designer intended it, not how it typically ends up after a week or two when the client has been adding their own ad banners, stock photos of business people shaking hands or several poorly worded press releases.

Retiring The Portfolio Screenshot

As designers and developers, we spend a great deal of time and effort getting a project just right for a client, yet often we don’t do it justice when we display the extent of our involvement and the various component parts that go into the whole thing. So many personal and agency portfolios simply display a couple of screen grabs of a project along with a few hazy bullet points saying things like "HTML & CSS"; or "WordPress CMS development." These tell us very little about the effort that’s gone into a project and aren’t really very helpful to visitors who might be looking to your portfolio with a view to working with you on a project.

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Design is About Solving Problems

Recently, a couple of things happened in my design career that have made me sit down and reflect a bit on where I’m at and how I can improve what I deliver to my clients and their users. I’d noticed that my source of inspiration had changed and that I was being inspired more by clever solutions and ideas than by visual flourish.

Like many designers, my RSS feed of inspirational websites is full of great work and posts. I’m also active on Twitter, and I meet up with other designers regularly at local events. But I find that at a basic level, I actually don’t draw that much inspiration directly from these things anymore.

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