02 September 2010

51

New Portfolio and Brand New Blog

mikekus

So after just over three years of building websites I finally have my own blog! I know I’m late to the party but I’m really excited about having a place where I can share my thoughts and ideas on all things design with you. I’ve also updated and seriously streamlined my portfolio.

Design choices

When it comes to designing one’s personal site there are a lot of options. For once you can do what you want, take risks and try new things. The only problem is the lack of restrictions can easily (and did) make the whole process a nightmare! So many options makes choosing a direction almost impossible. I first eluded to the fact I wanted to redesign my personal site in a talk I gave back in 2008. It’s now heading towards the end of 2010 – that’s how long it’s taken me to make those decisions!

My first thoughts were to use the opportunity to create a site that was crazy and fun. I wanted  to design a site that somehow reflected my personality. I produced a ton of rough photoshop comps to try and flesh out an aesthetic direction for my site. I had this idea that I could base my designs around the human anatomy and relate parts of the body to design… or something. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what I was doing! However, I did end up using a variation of this concept when I designed the Carsonified company website.

Below are a few of the rough Photoshop comps I first put together for the design of this site. They never came to anything but it’s fun looking back at them.

Design Idea for personal site

Design Idea for this site

Design Idea for this site

Design Idea for this site

Keeping it simple

In the end I came a full circle and realised I just wanted a platform to speak from and a place to show people my work. I’ve really stripped things back for this design. Most of my work is normally heavily styled or illustrative, so I figured what I needed was a simple, clean design for my work and words to shine from.

For my portfolio I’ve really cut down on the amount of work I’m showing. I don’t think people need to see everything I’ve ever done in order to get a grasp of what I do. I’ve also kept it to one page. So you press ‘Portfolio’ and that’s it, it’s all there, no need for clicking back and forth through countless menus.

The funny thing is, everyone kept saying to me that your personal site is the perfect opportunity to go a bit crazy, do new things and express yourself. I think this is true in a lot of cases but for me it turned out to be the perfect place not to.

51 Comments

  1. Elliot Jay Stocks

    02 September 2010 | 10:18 am

    Congrats on the launch, mate! I mentioned the site’s imminent arrival in my talk at FrontEnd yesterday. :) I think your decision to keep things simple was absolutely the best one to make and the end result is wonderful. Nice one.

  2. Michael Troy

    02 September 2010 | 10:25 am

    Wow. Your site looks unreal. A real joy to look at :)

  3. Christopher Pinches

    02 September 2010 | 10:30 am

    This is long overdue Mike; look forward to hearing your thoughts on all things design. :)

  4. Thierry Mauduit

    02 September 2010 | 10:31 am

    Your work is awesome Mike, your style is recognizable but never redundant. You’re an example for me ;). Congrats and greetings from France !

  5. David Perel

    02 September 2010 | 10:32 am

    Nice work Mike, love the choice of Courier for the body text. Your grid layout is also interesting. Excellent stuff :)

  6. Leevi Graham

    02 September 2010 | 10:32 am

    I imagine that the choice of body type won’t be for everyone but disregard them.

    Congratulations on producing a consistant design that challenges the excessive gradient, drop shadow and rounded corners “modern” web design meme on the web atm.

    Nice work, love the photos.

  7. Chris Kemm

    02 September 2010 | 10:33 am

    Looks great! Really like your work.

  8. Rajesh Pancholi

    02 September 2010 | 10:35 am

    Keep it simple and let the content shout! Nice one.

  9. Chris Young

    02 September 2010 | 10:35 am

    Very cool new blog. Love your work too, which is inspirational.

  10. Mark McCorkell

    02 September 2010 | 10:37 am

    Do you ever get that mixed feeling of admiration and jealousy all in one? I did, there now! Nice work! ;-)

  11. Kris Noble

    02 September 2010 | 10:37 am

    Looks great Mike – you’re right, the portfolio and photos really sing against the simple design.

  12. Russell Bishop

    02 September 2010 | 10:41 am

    What a beautiful style you’ve brought to this blog, and I love the new Portfolio! Great work Mike!

  13. Toby Howarth

    02 September 2010 | 10:42 am

    Hi Mike,

    Firstly great site and as a whole it feels like I am reading a magazine and the photo page and portfolio are complete win and I look forward to viewing it on the ipad.

    Also I do feel the site is similar in elements to some of your other carsonified sites but I am guessing that is just where your design head is at the moment ?

    I loved some of your early dribble ideas especially the rotating navigation that looked awesome.

    Anyway this is no way a moan or criticism as the sites awesome and really shows of your skills as a designer : )

  14. Craig Duerden

    02 September 2010 | 10:44 am

    The new site looks great! I often come to your site as a source of inspiration. I’m currenty designing my own site and certainly know what you mean about having no constraints.

    You’ve definitely nailed it though, top work!

  15. Peter Pearson

    02 September 2010 | 10:46 am

    Absolutely stunning body of work and a really effective site. Nice.

  16. Luke Lux

    02 September 2010 | 10:48 am

    The site looks so sharp and it clearly shows your print background. I would enjoy reading your post and your design. Keep doing the great work please.

    ps: The red burble at the top, which display numbers of comments, is a brilliant idea.

  17. Jason Stone

    02 September 2010 | 10:49 am

    Great work Mike, looking sexy! (The site that is, nothing personal, I just don’t swing that way) :p

  18. Anelia

    02 September 2010 | 10:50 am

    I like how you always keep your style and the colour schemes you use – Congrats on it! I wish you good luck!

  19. Laura Kalbag

    02 September 2010 | 10:50 am

    Aha! I get the whole ‘DEAD’ thing now!

    Love the hover-change on that logo, looking forward to your future posts (no pressure) ;)

  20. Becs

    02 September 2010 | 11:07 am

    I’ve admired the Carsonified site for a while and wondered who had done it. You work is very inspirational – I only wish I could draw as good as you!

    Especially love the great Mailchimp email designs you’ve done.

  21. Ricardo Bueno

    02 September 2010 | 11:16 am

    Diggin’ the clean design/layout. Love the hover effect on the “Dead” icon. And great list of work!

  22. prisca

    02 September 2010 | 12:09 pm

    Mike,
    what a brilliant new site!
    Love the portfolio page – just lovely to see it all in one place, beautifully presented and wonderful to look through ;)
    will be keeping an eye on your blog ;)

  23. Najeeb Puthiyallam

    02 September 2010 | 12:12 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I really liked your blog design. Its really simple, clean and easy to figure out the things we want. The thing i liked the most is your DEAD Logo :)

    anyways please check mine also and post your comments :)

  24. Tony Kus

    02 September 2010 | 12:15 pm

    Mike, this page looks friggin amazing.
    Next job: my website. Thanking you in advance.

  25. Bruno Passos

    02 September 2010 | 12:29 pm

    Congratulations on the launch Mike!
    Site is looking really good, I love the photography stuff!

    Look forward to see some new stuff here!

    Bruno

  26. Phil Coffman

    02 September 2010 | 3:20 pm

    Very nicely done Mike! Love the hierarchy and openness you’ve got going on.

  27. Ryan

    02 September 2010 | 4:44 pm

    Great stuff man… Raising the bar :)

  28. Andy Hobday

    02 September 2010 | 5:17 pm

    Love the look and feel of this site it really is pointing everyone else in the right direction.

    Thanks for sharing!

  29. Jodi

    02 September 2010 | 5:24 pm

    Congrats! Great pics, portfolio, and content seriously! You are now followed and favorited! OH! and love your minimalist web setup!

  30. TheFella

    02 September 2010 | 5:27 pm

    Looking good mate!

  31. Kyle Steed

    02 September 2010 | 6:24 pm

    As always, it’s great to see/read another designer’s process on how he/she arrived to the final design we are being shown. I loved the concepts you shared with us, but I think what you’ve done here is much more mature. But what really tips the scale for me is the nice little iconic “DEAD” logo you created. Reminds me of the work by the great Shepard Fairey, but not in a “copycat” sort of way. Last but not least, your “offline” design section is top notch. I like how you embrace the hand-drawn elements in each of your designs. That’s somethings I’m really drawn to as well. Cheers.

  32. Mike Kus

    02 September 2010 | 8:09 pm

    Thanks so much for your kind words and feedback guys!

  33. Ruta

    03 September 2010 | 1:31 am

    Hey Mike!
    Wow, what could I possibly say to equate to your art – it’s one of a kind. Also absolutely love your photography section too, stunning.
    Hope you can still design me some skin art. Serious :)
    Love, R

  34. Martin Jones

    03 September 2010 | 9:15 am

    Mike like your new site mate, great work! Checked it out on the iPhone and iPad it works really well. Quality!!!!

  35. Jordan Moore

    03 September 2010 | 10:55 am

    I love the focus on the content, it flows, it’s compelling, it just works. No distractions. Spot on dude.

  36. Tuhin Kumar

    03 September 2010 | 6:43 pm

    Hey Mike. Love the cleanliness and the use of courier new. The real treat is the D.E.A.D signage! Can we use this on our personal site as part of a bigger design freaks’ gang! That would be a cool thing, right?

  37. TOM MULLER

    06 September 2010 | 11:14 am

    VERY SLICK! NICELY DONE MIKE.

  38. borisforconi

    08 September 2010 | 12:05 am

    Masterpiece!

  39. Rachel Earley

    09 September 2010 | 12:04 pm

    Inspirational stuff as ever Mike. Love the new design and your portfolio work is fantastic. Congrats!

  40. David Hellmann

    12 September 2010 | 11:22 am

    great page. beige is the new black :)
    I love the Carsonified Page. One of the best websites i have ever seen!

    Great work!

  41. christopher scott

    13 September 2010 | 3:34 am

    Woah dude; this is outstanding… love the style, and the attention to detail in the typography especially. Brilliant work!

  42. John Godwin

    13 September 2010 | 10:17 am

    Very simple, not over-powering and let’s the user sample what you do best – your work…all the ingredients of a good portfolio site. Very nice sir.

  43. Ivo

    15 September 2010 | 10:34 pm

    Simple, but great.

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  50. Rafael Kent

    28 October 2010 | 3:45 pm

    Beautiful site and stunning works – A true inspiration! Thank you

  51. James Morrish

    15 February 2011 | 2:30 pm

    A designer once told me to keep your own portfolio site clean and simple – otherwise it shows you have a preferred style. Your portfolio pieces are where you show off your skills.

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