An unsolicited portfolio review featuring brand designer & art director, Libby Connolly
by Tobias van Schneider
We’re here with another Unsolicited Portfolio Review, where we offer opinions on portfolios that nobody asked us for. Every week, we break down the details behind the best online portfolios.
This week we’re looking at the portfolio of independent brand designer & art director, Libby Connolly. Libby has been in the Semplice family for a while now, and we’ve enjoyed every iteration of her portfolio over the years.
Semplice makes it easy to tweak and refresh your portfolio, so we often revisit our favorite portfolios to see how they evolve with a designer over their career.
Right away, Libby’s use of typography sets her portfolio apart. I’ve said before that typography may be the most noticeable difference between junior and senior portfolios. Your choice of type, how your body text complements your headlines, how much you’ve refined the sizing and spacing – all of it can make or break your portfolio. The distinct headline typography paired with the more subtle, yet elegant sans serif here feels polished. (You'll see in her portfolio that she's designed some gorgeous type herself.)
Semplice is made for typography lovers. You can set typography styles site-wide before you begin building your portfolio. Perfect how your h1, h2, h3 and body copy appears once, then apply it everywhere with a click throughout your site. You can even set mobile type styles. This way you’re not painstakingly refining your typography on every page. It’s all defined from the start.
Scroll down on Libby's homepage and you’ll see an excellent use of the Semplice Advanced Portfolio Grid. Hover over any of her project titles and an image or GIF appears teasing that project. It’s a memorable and interactive alternative to your standard portfolio grid.
Another nice touch: The scrolling banner in Libby’s footer that reads “Now booking for 2022.” A small sign that Libby has been here recently. Her portfolio is fresh, she’s actively working on projects and she’s on top of her shit.
What I appreciate most about Libby’s case studies is the photography. Every product or print piece appears staged against complementary backdrops, elevating each project and making it cohesive. Of course, it helps that she's a brand designer. You don’t necessarily need to do a professional photoshoot for your portfolio (although, if you have good lighting at home or a photographer friend, why not?), but you should make every image as high quality as possible, and as cohesive as possible with the visual story you’re telling.