Why we made the Workingfolio web template for visual artists

March 16, 2011 Posted by workingdesign in Social Media, Workingfolio, Writing

At Working Design we love art and artists. We work with them and we play with them. Many of our best friends and acquaintances are photographers, painters, fabric artists, collage artists, sculptors or jewelry makers.

One of the main things we know about this amazing and creative crew of people is their unflinching commitment to the work. Too often, however, artists aren’t knowledgeable enough about business. (They aren’t called starving artists for nothing.)

It’s been an ongoing source of frustration for us. We know a thing or two about marketing, communication and running a business. And, over the years we’ve shared some of our knowledge with various artists in our community.

Of course, we’ve promoted the benefits and value of a good website. About a year ago we started researching some of the online artist portfolio websites and services because we thought they might be worth recommending.

Frankly, we were shocked.

The problem with many of the online artist portfolio sites
For starters, they looked bad. Very few did a good job of presenting the art or the artist. Tiny thumbnail images. Clunky image galleries. Search engine optimization was spotty because so many of the sites use Flash animation. Most of the templates wouldn’t pass muster in a basic web class.

One thing we found troubling about many of the online products is that artists do not own their site. A monthly fee is charged and once you stop paying it, the site is gone. It’s not transferrable.

Also the monthly fees go up if there are additional “features”. Some of these don’t cost the provider anything to add such as an email address or more Galleries.

Importantly, none of the sites featured the basics of good marketing language. There was no effort to help artists develop a contemporary web presence that includes social media marketing. All of the template sites we landed on were developed a number of years ago before blogging, Facebook, and Twitter became the foundation of marketing outreach strategies.

So, we thought it was time for us to develop a simple, effective web template of our own that we could recommend to artists.

A better solution for artists
We have a lot of experience working with WordPress Content Management System (CMS) to build websites. It’s simple, adaptable and easy to use. So, we’ve used this extremely popular software as the foundation for our own template.

In addition we wanted to provide a service that helps artists with the basics of marketing (traditional and online) and content development. And we wanted artists to be able to own their site and maintain it easily.

And so, here it is: Workingfolio!

This new portfolio website addresses all of the shortcomings we came across in our research.

We’re confident this template combined with our professional advice will help many artists develop a professional web presence. One that will showcase their work, raise their profile and, hopefully, their incomes as well.

Go have a look. And tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you.