The "art" of the artist website
Design | 1 August 2011

The “art” of the artist website

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This past week, Beth Blinebury Design launched the first website for American artist Joni T. Johnson. If you don’t know Joni’s work, check it out immediately. BBD was honored to be commissioned to create a portfolio website for this amazing artist who touched so many lives with her extraordinary imagery.

Then I got to thinking about the amazing number of portfolio or “artist websites” that Beth Blinebury Design has out there in ol’ Internetland. BBD has created unique web presences for artists of all genres including illustration, painting, photography and digital media. The trick with any artist website is to create a design that does not overshadow the artwork itself but one that supports and compliments it. And it’s easy to find design inspiration in the clients we have!

It’s an amazing time to be making art because anyone with access to technology (something we should never take for granted, by the way) can see the work in ever-changing ways. The way in which we experience art has completely changed. Most people know what the greatest works of art look like but how many can say they’ve seen them in person? And does that even matter anymore? We can see anything we want at anytime and usually on little screens we pull out of our pockets! So how should art be displayed on the web? We try our best to create high-functioning portfolio websites for a variety of devices and ones that communicate the emotional tone of the artwork presented.

In 2010, Beth Blinebury Design worked with Philadelphia-based studio Philip Gabriel Photography on a rebranding project. We also launched a brand new website for this local studio that specializes in stunning, editorial-style imagery. The studio is lead by photographer Gabe Fredericks (a fellow Tyler alum). Let me tell you… these guys are busy every weekend shooting weddings all over this fine city and beyond. For the new Philip Gabriel Photography website, both the design and functionality had to be impeccable and communicate the experience of working with Gabe and his awesome crew. Check out the wedding gallery albums that offer first an album-style view of an entire wedding and then a more intimate viewing of individual images.

So how does the look of a website change when it’s viewed on an iPad? A portfolio site like the one we created for photographer Kim Budd looks as if it was made for the iPad! Of course, BBD designed it with mobile browsing in┬ámind. Kim’s stunning, colorful images of the American landscape reference a long tradition of the photographic-road-trip. We wanted viewing her site to be like opening up a coffee table book – an intimate and classic photography experience!

For Philadelphia illustrator Jon Krause’s portfolio website, BBD had another visual problem to tackle: presenting Jon’s unique and imaginative illustrations in a simple, non-obstrusive gallery viewer while also creating a visual “tear sheet” section. For those of you not in the ad biz (watching a lot of Mad Men totally counts), a “tear sheet” is the term given to a physical page cut or torn from a publication that functions like a “proof” of an advertisement. Many commercial illustrators and photographers create tear sheets of their work used in conjunction with articles from magazines and newspapers. For Jon’s site, the tear sheet comes to life on the web page, allowing the user to easily shuffle through recent publications with the small movement of a mouse (or of a finger for those of you using Apple’s super cool Magic Trackpad!)

So in conclusion… Yowza, we’ve made a LOT of artist portfolio websites! And we look forward to making many, many more, so if you are an artist or know of one that needs a fresh and exciting web presence, contact Beth Blinebury Design!

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