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Does Your Portfolio Make a Good First Impression?

Does Your Portfolio Make a Good First Impression?

First impressions aren't just important for blind daters!

Thomas James | Escape from Illustration Island

In the first 5 seconds that an Art Director visits your website, they are making critical judgments about you and your work, for better or worse. That’s why it’s so important to give your landing page the attention it deserves.

While I’ve always believed in the power of making a strong first impression with your portfolio website, I have gained a new appreciation for this fact in a recent Portfolio Workshop that I conducted with artist Tim Read.

Overall, Tim’s work and the layout of his website was pretty solid. One of his main questions, however, was about how to make more of an impact with the landing page (or Home page) of his site. He wasn’t quite sure what he should include, or how to increase his chances of drawing his visitors in and piquing their interest. After our one-on-one consultation, Tim’s improvements to his site, and especially his landing page, really helped to take his brand to a higher level. For me, this reinforced the importance of an evocative landing page.

I don’t have a screenshot of the “Before” picture, but you can check out Tim Read’s new Home page here.

How do you make a strong impression in the first 5 seconds?

This happens to be a question that I hear from a lot of Illustrators, which is understandable because your Home page is one of the most important parts of your website, along with your actual portfolio. After all, if you turn Art Directors off with a poorly designed landing page that makes you look like an amateur, they’ll go elsewhere quicker than you can say “Hey, wait! Come back!”

The way I like to think about the design of a landing page is to imagine that you’re an Art Director who has never been to your site before, and consider the impression that your website makes in the first 5 seconds.

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