Smashing Magazine Web Design Challenge

Not sure if you knew from this blog, but I actually have a totally separate design portfolio from this site. I’m not sure why I originally separated it, but that’s just how it happened. Actually, what really happened was my friend Christian and I were considering an online business to make homemade wedding items and when she got too busy, I ended up using the domain of for my design portfolio – which actually improved a lot thanks to my short stint at SuperMedia. Later on, I got my own personal URL of – which went from iWeb to WordPress thanks to my wonderfully encouraging boyfriend Andrew.  Having multiple URL’s does get expensive in the long run, but it makes it easier to separate my thoughts from my creations. This design challenge is my attempt to briefly unify them by justifying my work. I guess they called it a crit in art or design school, which is not something I pursued because my artistic side was not as encouraged as my academic side. Another thing is that my brother wanted to be an artist, so I pushed back my creative urges to studying it from a historical stand point in college. At this point, it’s ancient history and I’m ready to move on. I’ve completed my web and graphic design studies and I’m now pursuing a creative career in web design.
  • Grid – There is a basic grid layout here despite the main background being a photo I took at Coachella 2010. I wanted to keep the design very simple and clean, while still showcasing my far reaching grasp over the internet via social media and networking. I copied the disclaimer from a Shirt Woot designer in Berkeley – if I saw the shirt again, I may remember who that is… sorry for forgetting.
  • Layout – I followed a normal website layout of Header, Content (minimal popups for About and Contact and separate page for my work), Footer (for disclaimer and links). I used DynamicDrive’s DHTML window to create the popup text boxes for my About and Contact pages.
  • Color – I kept things simple by having a black background over colorful images and icons. The sunset over Indio has a great balance of light and dark, which is something I appreciate in good designs. Most of the time, I used white text on black backgrounds because I feel that is easiest on the eyes.
  • Typography – The main text is in Century Gothic, which I liked the look of and felt it was simple and more interesting than most web typefaces. Regular text is in Times New Roman or Arial for readability.
  • Imagery – The Coachella sunset is probably the best part of the day (aside from the music). Having a great photo of this hints to my own interest in music and photography.
  • Styling – This landing page is actually a lot more interesting than my work samples – not that they’re so bad, it’s more than there’s not much there and a lot of it is my own projects or stuff I made at Fullerton College. I’m not sure if this is related to style at all, but for this reason, I think I made my landing page much more interesting than my Work – which is below. To balance out my lack of work, I found an impressive little Javascript slider from – there are newer more impressive versions, but this one did just what I wanted it to.
web & graphics
A more recent addition to my design portfolio is some of my Flash work, which simple as it is demonstrates at least my ability to use it and make simple games and animation.



2 thoughts on “Smashing Magazine Web Design Challenge

  1. Liane! I love your use of the large photo to add to the design and feel of the site. What was your reasoning on choosing that photo? What did you want people to see and feel from it? I love photography too and should add you to my flickr!

    I understand you keeping the header section with your name as simple as possible as to not take away from the photo. But I think you should reconsider changing the text effect on your name and the links in the photo. Look at as many “photoshop text effects” in Google as possible and try to find one you really like and go for it!

    As for the portfolio, it is rather plain. Google “web desiger portfolios” and get some inspiration. I find it easiest to see something I like and practice making it by hand in photoshop. Like remaking the red robin logo or anything like that. helps with exercising your design skills.

    Please take this as constructive criticism. Believe me, people have their own bull crap to say about my website, its from the 90’s blah blah blah. Whateve I say. Whateve. I like my site and I like yours too because you haven’t conformed to what everyone else is doing in the design standards world. A true artist is blind to standards and creates designs from within! Just, perfect it and you will blow everyone away!

    • Hi Heather! Thanks so much for the feedback, I rarely get other designers telling me what I should do on my websites. I chose the photo for the landing page because it had a nice balance of light and darks and was colorful without being overwhelming. It’s from Coachella last year, which is always a happier time and place for me since I’m not as worried about normal day to day life and more in a moment that is fun and exciting. I think they say Coachella is recession proof because it’s a place and time where you don’t have to worry about things that bring you down.

      I’m sure my text effects are a little overboard, I guess that’s my old school feeling from like the early days of the internet creeping back into modern style. I wanted to keep everything on one page, but I also wanted it simple. I ended up making it 2 pages and less simple with the Javascript popups and slideshow galleries. I wanted to emphasize my interest in coding with the popups and inclusion of some galleries that both have thumbnails and a slideshow. My work is not too current, so I feel I’m more of blogger or Social Media person than a designer or developer.

      Thanks for all the feedback, I’ve seen a lot of awesome portfolios and I definitely know I could use some improvements in my own work. I guess a lot of my strengths are more in editing than actually designing from scratch, and that goes for development also. Thank you also for the encouraging words, I can always use someone to help me feel more excited about doing this!

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