Amon Focus sees the world a little differently than most people. This 2003 Digital Media grad moved back to his hometown of Queens, New York in 2009, where he’s developed his name as a freelance photographer, videographer, and graphic designer whose aesthetics thrive on the energy and motion of New York’s Five Boroughs. His company Life is Digital Media is a continually evolving outlet for both his professional and personal projects, and is a lesson in how to brand yourself as a creative entity in the visual arts industry.
We were pleased to welcome Amon back to campus this March to share his outlook on personal branding as a guest speaker in the Digital Arts & Design program’s Portfolio Creation class. One of the final courses in the degree, Amon offered his tips for upcoming graduates on how to best showcase their work to employers. His advice? Be simple, clear, and direct with their messaging.
Here’s five of the most valuable things we learned during his talk.
Try not to make people think
It’s something I was told in school. People should know immediately what you can do and what you’re capable of in a fairly short period of time. It should also be very clear and intuitive how to navigate your website. If I have to search around for your work, if I have to figure out what you do, I’m not going to stay long.
The first three things people see are your most important
People don’t always care enough to explore further in your site. People pick up on your talent in those first two or three things, if they’re engaged by it they’ll explore more. I try to keep it all short and sweet.
Never use bad or unfinished work
Don’t include stuff you know isn’t your best just to pad your portfolio out. You can’t change a first impression, and someone can immediately lose confidence in something you have on display. Also never put something that is a work in progress, and especially don’t send someone to your website if it’s under construction. Don’t even put it on your business card yet if it’s not ready.
Showcase the stuff you want to be hired to do
I’ve done work for a lot of big name companies, and I’m grateful for that, it was all a great experience, but it doesn’t really showcase my skill set the way I would want. So you don’t see much of that on my website, but it is in my demo reel I give to clients. For the most part the type of work I really want to be hired to do is up there. If you want to be known as a photographer, I should be seeing a really good example of your photography the moment I come to your site.
Finally, don’t bother giving someone a CD or DVD
Those days are gone. I’ve had people give me a CD and my first thing I ask is if it’s online. I’m not being rude, but giving me a CD, you might as well have handed me an 8-track. It’s a lot more work for me to open the case and put it in my laptop and load it up. Make it easy to view your content. I’ve had people ask to see my work and I’ve pulled up my portfolio just on my iPhone and gotten opportunities that way.