Graphic Designers: How To Establish An Online Prescence

Put Yourself Out There!

No, this isn’t a post about the latest dating tips or how to make friends. This is about graphic designers and other creatives establishing a professional online presence for the purpose of promoting their work and furthering their careers.


Why Go To All The Trouble?

In the early days of the burgeoning internet (and I’m old enough to remember those heady days!) it was enough to slap up a simple website and call it a day. However, in 2017, that approach isn’t enough. Creatives need to embrace a multi-platform, multi-outlet promotional and social media mix in order to have any chance of successfully attracting attention in a crowded virtual space.

Emma Hagen of The Charm Collectiv

Emma Hagen at The Charm Collectiv states in her post Graphic Design Series: Establishing Your Online Presence,

“Establishing an online presence early on can cut down on your stress once it is time to actually pursue a job, help you network with other artists, and help you stay inspired and connected to your own artistic community.”

It’s interesting that she stresses putting yourself out there as soon as possible. This is important so that you aren’t scrambling to setup professional sites and outlets. One may think that uploading a portfolio is the difficult part, but that’s typically the easiest task. Consider the necessity of creating accounts, adding to each all of the required background information, thinking about and deciding on the “look” of the sites and organizing all of these into a consistent, professional look is time consuming.


Consistency. Consistency. Did I Mention Consistency?

Although Emma mentions being consistent in the scheduling of postings, I’d add that it’s also important that you maintain a consistent look across the your various chosen platforms. For instance, use the same profile pic and banner for your professional sites from your Facebook page to your Twitter and Instagram profiles. This is what I do and I think it helps to establish consistency in one’s brand, if you will.


Where Oh Where Shall I Go?

Collage of Social Media Logos

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the sites Emma recommends for establishing an online presence as they aren’t all the typical ones I’d expect. Her suggested sites are:

LinkedIn is an obvious choice as this has become the defacto online resume for most workers and job-seekers. Squarespace and Wix are website builders geared towards hosting portfolios. They both have a modern, sleek look that will appeal to many creatives. Behance is another obvious choice for creatives as this has been the go-to online portfolio for some time. Dribbble (I keep forgetting to add the extra “b”!) is a site I’ve not heard about but it too is an online host for work-in-progress portfolios. According to Emma, it’s more of a social sharing site for creatives to “share small screenshots (shots) that show their work, process, and current projects.”

I’d add to this list Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they are arguably the big three of social media. The fact that they are free and each continues to grow their already massive user-base make them vital pieces of an online presence.


Bringing It Back In.

So what have we learned? First, it goes without saying that graphic designers and other creatives need to establish an online presence. The earlier one gets started the better as it will save a lot of prep time in the long run when looking for a job or promoting a portfolio.

Secondly, it’s important to have several online outlets setup in order to maximize one’s online exposure. Don’t stop with using only Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. From LinkedIn to Behance, from Squarespace to Wix and even a little bit of Dribbble, creatives will have a step up if they heed Emma’s advice and add these online outlets to their promotional and social media mix. I know I’ll be doing just that!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

New Music Monday: A Song Started In 2011

Here is a song that I first started writing back in 2011, thus the rather plain title “2011 09 01”. The title and date associated with it has no meaning; it’s simply the format I use when creating project files.

Yeah, it sometimes takes awhile to finish a piece of music. 🙂

When I write, sometimes a bass line inspires me. At other times a particular sound inspires me. It’s different for every song. If I remember correctly, this one started with the bass line and grew from there.

It’s only at the demo stage and I don’t think I’ll take it any further. Nevertheless, I figured why not let it see the light of day. So here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Fleeting Moments

The other evening while walking my dachshund, Roxy, the sunset was stunningly gorgeous. There was a thick group of clouds coming in from the northwest, their tops heavy gray, their bottoms glowing purplish red. Would have made for a great picture for this blog post and social media if I’d had my iPhone with me. But I didn’t.

For a second I was disappointed and irritated that I’d left my iPhone at the house. But then I considered that what really irritates me is feeling that compulsion to digitally memorialize every moment, no matter how fleeting. It irritates me when at concerts folks are staring intently at their smartphone screens trying to record a crappy video that they likely will never watch instead of just enjoying the live performance in front of them. Instead of living in the moment, the moment of reality, the moment of actual experience, we’re trying to save it artificially for later in order to gain some online likes, shares and comments. Ugh.

I get it, the need and desire to record life’s important moments. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t at times attempt to do so. But here’s a thought: let some of life’s fleeting moments be just that. Fleeting. No picture, no video, no recording can ever truly capture what our eyes and ears and the rest of our senses can.

I guess what I’m trying to say is let’s live more in the moment rather than for the moment. Let’s experience life instead of feeling compelled to constantly document it, saving it for a later time we may not get around to experiencing.

‘Til next year.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Scale and Proportion

One of my assignments earlier this year had a goal of exhibiting distorted scale and proportion. This is what I came up with.

Okay, a surrealist I’m not. And it’s in no way a sophisticated example of photo editing/blending. But I do find it funny. Each time I go back and look at it, I get this little grin on my face. I think it’s the dinosaur riding the bicycle. Get’s me every time!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Value and Shape

This is something from a recent assignment that was an interesting exercise in shape and value. This project emphasizes the use of curvilinear shapes, specifically circles of various sizes and values. Additionally, there is extensive use of the number 75, and to a lesser extent 11, throughout the work.

Each circle is 75% the size of the next largest circle starting at 11″ for the largest circle.

Circles 1, 3 and 5 (from largest to smallest) are values of black (CYMK) that are 56, 75 and 100 respectively. 75 is of course 75% of 100 and 56 is 75% of 75.

Conversely, circles 2, 4 and 6 (from largest to smallest) are values of black (CYMK) that are 34, 19 and 11 respectively. I chose 11 for the smallest circle to coincide with the size of the largest circle. 19 is 75% more than 11 and 34 is 75% more than 34.

My goal was to achieve movement through space by placing each circle at either the 0, 90, 180 or 270 degree points of the larger circle it sits within. I did this in a clockwise manner which gives it a swirl effect. I used various values of black to bring unity to the overall design. And instead of using lines, I used value to define each shape.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Sunday Stroll

I took a Sunday stroll in the woods near our home.
I took a few photos.
Here they are.

A photo posted by Karl Whetzel (@unrelated.notes) on

A photo posted by Karl Whetzel (@unrelated.notes) on

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

Newsletter Mockup: Town of Spring Hope

A while back, I was assigned to design a mock informational newsletter promoting a rural North Carolina town. I chose Spring Hope as the primary subject and included text and stats from other previously published articles on various websites noting the source for each.

The main annual event is the Spring Hope Pumpkin Festival, held the first weekend of October, so I chose earth tones to create an autumnal feel to the entire spread. The intent would be to distribute the newsletter to residents and visitors prior to and the day of the Pumpkin Festival in order to promote living in and visiting the town.

I am pleased with the way it turned out, particularly the color selections. The text alignment was a bit tricky in spots, but with a little time and patience, it turned out rather well.

‘Til next time!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

“Self Portrait” Collage

For a recent class, I was required to assemble a self-portrait collage. The final piece shown below reflects my personality in that music is a huge part of my life and has been my creative outlet for several decades. You’ll notice that this is a symbolic self-portrait rather than a literal interpretation of my actual appearance.

Self portrait collage by Karl Whetzel, 2016.

Now for a bit of explanation of the bits and pieces:

• The large “W” in the corner denotes my last name.

• The large photo on the right is of Steven Wilson who is my favorite modern musician and artist, one from whom I draw much inspiration and whom I slightly resemble (glasses, long hair, beard). So I used him as a personal likeness.

• The spigot is representative of pouring out many ideas from my mind, capturing them via recordings over the course of a lifetime into a catalog of songs.

• Not being a professional artist/musician, I’m required to project a certain business-like persona in order to make a living.

• Nevertheless, death is the inevitable end of us all which waits at the end of the board.

I arranged this so that someone looking at it will view it from left to right, life to death. A fellow classmate suggested that this would make for a good album cover. Yeah, I think she’s right. 🙂

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+

The 60 Second Clip: #3

This is the third in a planned series of videos that I’m producing. They are limited to 60 seconds selected from a longer section of music. It’s simply an effort to “Stop Thinking and to Start Doing” and have some fun in the process.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Google+