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Designer creates “worst portfolio ever”

Warns against trends making you look like an idiot.

“I see a lot of portfolios. For reference, I made this,” remarked designer Alex Cornell on Twitter, about The Worst Portfolio Ever.

At a (very quick) glance, the portfolio doesn’t look too bad and it’s certainly clean and simple. It’s even responsive. But once you start reading, you quickly realise the entire page is packed full of cliches, questionable ‘trendy’ imagery and poor ideas. For example, the strapline says the site owner likes to “massage my hand-crafted, beautiful pixels” and claims they're obsessed with minimalism as well as kitesurfing, beers and whales.

Doubtless, the page tends towards parody when it comes to copywriting, but it’s not a million miles away from efforts .net sees daily. Cornell’s footer notes in tiny text lend some advice: “This is the worst design portfolio ever. Do not replicate this. If this looks like your website, change your website.“

Cornell followed up in a blog post as to precisely why this portfolio, and any resembling it, was so awful. He railed against biography text that’s designed to come across as “humble and approachable,” because he just wants to see work right away.

He also grumbled about designers wasting page real estate on information-sparse images of sticky notes that tell you nothing, creating “perplexing” arbitrary skill charts with odd scales (“You know all 55 per cent of logo design? What could that possibly mean”) that in reality show poor information design, and presenting “iPhone and iMac glory shots”.

Expanding a little on the portfolio’s concluding line, Cornell provided a solution for anyone suddenly feeling the need to make some radical changes to their own online portfolios: “It’s very easy to fix: stop stating the obvious and show off your work instead.”

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