I tried searching through the forums but couldn't find the topic so I decided to ask it myself: in web design portfolios, is it ok to put up design comps in lieu of the finished product for clients?
Many of the web design projects I've worked on had very specific designs that the clients did themselves and insisted I use. I offer design services as well, but for these clients, it was about 80% coding, 20% design. To be frank, I don't much care for the look of the finished sites (the code I am always proud of, however) and if I put the final look of those sites in my portfolio, it will give potential clients a bad impression of my design skills. I know it's a gray area in graphic design, but I was wondering what the standard is for web design and development.
On one hand, I am selling my design capabilities, which aren't very apparent with client-driven designs. On the other hand, it just looks better to have the portfolio image match the actual site. I guess I could also design my version of the site and host it on my website, but that can become a headache for bigger sites. What are your thoughts, guys?
One site I had seen specified the involvement in each site in their portfolio, so you could have things like "design & coding", "coding only to client's design" etc. Unless it reduces your portfolio greatly, I would be tempted not to include those sites that I felt detract from my "standards".
Thanks for your reply, Centauri. That's the tradeoff I'm debating. I've been doing contract work for a firm that handles these clients directly. So, they use their in house designer and send the comps for me to code. Out of the 8 sites I'd like to feature in my web portfolio, 5 are using their/the end client's designs, and I really don't feel it holds up to the quality in my print portfolio. Usually, I'd take quality over quantity, but I'm also weary of having only 3 pieces in my web portfolio, since I have about 20 pieces or so in my print one.
If anyone else has any advice, I'd really appreciate it.
I feel your pain, I have a couple sites in that situation.
It sounds like you have two distinct types of sites - those you designed and coded, and those you only coded. Why not just divide your portfolio into those two groups, and make it rather clear what work was yours?
Why not just divide your portfolio into those two groups, and make it rather clear what work was yours?
I agree.. Say that you do both and that you accept other's designs but also do the whole thing.. You could have the Alt. text something like 'If you'd like us to design and build the website for you, click here.' or something to that effect.
This way it's a nice, friendly way of saying that you can do both and show what it looks like if you do it all yourself.
If you create the coding for a site that is badly designed, the client could ask for a refund based on it not beng as good as some you did yourself in your designed and coded portfolio. They could argue that you could have done better but didn't.
I really wouldn't waste time designing a site that won't be used. If the client saw what you had done and then that it was different on your website, they'd want to know why it was different and ask too many questions.
Thanks for the advice, guys. When I'm negotiating with a client who wants to use their design, I always ask if I can come up with my own, and if they insist on using theirs, I make sure it's specified in the project scope. Thank goodness for contracts!