There’s a lot that goes into building a beautiful and compelling online design portfolio website—one that successfully communicates your story and highlights your point of view as a designer.
In an exclusive video with Wix, we go behind the scenes into their 3-month web design program in NYC, Wix Design Playground to learn more about how they are teaching designers to craft their online portfolio websites. Watch as Playground alums share how they learned to develop a unique and visual point of view, craft a narrative around it, and showcase it all in a beautiful portfolio website!
Vuong: Wix teaches web design. So, in the summertime, we have a program called the Wix Design Playground where we teach 40 students web design.
Miki: I started as a software engineer. I then decided when I was a year out of undergrad that I wanted to be a designer. After finishing the Wix program, I think a lot of it was based on the quality of my new portfolio that I created during the program. The interviewers were really impressed by it and I was able to get a new job right after finishing at a large tech company.
I got to apply a lot of the skills that I picked up while I was here and I think ultimately, the emphasis on experimentation, creativity, storytelling, that I really honed in while I was part of the program, was what led me to the opportunity of getting this job that I’m so in love with, and I get to do what I love every day.
Ellen: I’m in graduate school and I’ve been applying and interviewing for jobs in the last few months. I think my time at the Wix Design Playground has really helped me talk about my graphic design, web design, UX skills and it shows too. Actually, I was in an interview the other week and the interviewer mentioned, “You know, I really love that you don’t have a boring four square image website. Your website has a point of view.”
They guided us through thinking how to present ourselves online and how to develop our point of view and to communicate that through a website. And so having a portfolio that doesn’t just show my work but shows how I make my work, and why I make the work, has been pretty powerful.
Miki: I’ve never done any animation before and we were lucky enough to get a motion designer from Wix Tel Aviv to come to a workshop with us. And that was one of my favorite parts of the program, learning After Effects, thinking about storyboarding, narrative. This is like a perfect application of storytelling in design is using motion. And the other big thing was just getting to meet my design heroes—Debbie Millman, Alexandra Zsigmond, Jessica Hische. These people that I’ve been really inspired by, I was so lucky our entire cohort was able to listen to them speak and also get one on one sort of critique and feedback.
Ellen: Before we touched the Wix editor, we did at least a week of developing our visual point of view by doing these exercises where we printed references to everything from food that we like to window displays that caught our eye, typography that we love… We spent time talking about it with the group and talking about it with the Wix team and seeing really what made us stand out, what differentiated us, and crafting that into a story. And then that story allowed us to build a website where we went through this thought process before doing anything digital.
It’s such a gift to work on your own project and have mentorship and guidance in doing that because so often we put our own projects to the side and maybe get to them later. But in this sense, at the Wix Design Playground, we had an entire three or four weeks to work on our own portfolios with some expert help.
I got to meet Debbie Millman. She’s such a great writer so I had written a design manifesto in school some months before the Wix Design Playground and I showed it to her. We sat together and she helped me edit my writing and gave me great feedback, and it was just really special to just sit and talk with her.
I did a lot of fun and silly things that I thought were too silly. But then I did them and they were great! Like jumping in the ball pit for the first time, and then we would have Friday happy hours which one of the students would organize each week. So each week had a very different theme and a very different activity. One week we made slime—the thing that 10-year-olds do on YouTube but it was a lot of fun.
Vuong: Everything around here is completely free and has helped build a community. You know, a lot of them come from different schools, so they’re a little bit isolated from each other and in an instant, we bring them all together in one place and we consider this their home.