Luke Finch on tailoring your portfolio for the job you want

Luke Finch is one of 10 nominees for Best Online Portfolio in the 2014 net Awards (opens in new tab). He's based in San Francisco, works for Method and has created a unique, animated portfolio site. We quizzed him to find out more.

Give us a summary of your career so far.

My first job was working as a hybrid designer/coder for a small agency in Manchester called Elevator which got bought out by Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare after one year. I worked there for over three years on very corporate-style projects which involved mainly web designs and Flash work. It was at this point I realised that I wanted to leave Flash behind and have a career that was more design-focused.

In 2010 I moved over to Wilson Cooke where I worked as a senior creative. I was brought in to just do design! This was great and was my first real experience with branding which I found a great love for. My role here was very digital-focused and involved taking ideas from concept to final production from both a brand and advertising perspective.

My next role was art director at Firstborn in NYC. Firstborn was a studio I’d always admired, so it was a thrill to finally be working for them on some great digital projects for FisherPrice, Pepsi and Sony alongside some very talented people.

In 2012, having returned from NYC, I decided to take some time out for personal development within the industry and therefore spent that year working on personal projects, freelancing and working temporarily for other studios in the UK and US.

I'm currently working for Method in San Francisco. It’s a job I absolutely love and I'm proud to be contributing to a company that is producing some amazing design work.

Portfolio home page

Portfolio home page

What have you been working on over the last year?

Aside from my website, I’ve been working on branding projects as a freelancer for mainly UK-based agencies (this will be updated on my site sometime in March).

Since joining Method I’ve been working on brand and digital projects for all types of platforms for clients such as Google and AT&T.

Tell us about the process of designing your portfolio site.

In total, the site took three months to make (off and on). The site is an updated version of the Flash site I created three years ago. The original reason for designing the site the way I did was because at the time, I only had a corporate-themed body of work, which wasn’t going to land me the job I really wanted. So this design direction was to show potential employers that I would think outside the box and make an interactive experience that was unique and not just like the corporate work inside.

Project detail

Project detail

The same motive for the new version still applies. I only wanted to show work created in the last two years and leave all the old stuff behind me and move on. Simon and I (the developer) worked in a very agile way when it came to making the site responsive and did a lot of trial and error to see if the interactions we had put in place (such as the panning functionality on iPad which is totally different to desktop) were intuitive and easy to use. The main focus was to create the same level of experience no matter the platform or touchpoint, which I like to think we succeeded in achieving.

The artwork itself was also carefully structured and considered. A great deal of time went into making sure the storytelling side to my project pages was minimal enough to just flick through and understand, but descriptive enough for those users that wanted to know more about the rationale behind my process.

Who and what influences and inspires your work?

Like a lot of designers, I originally learnt from observing the work of the greats such as Dieter Rams, Louis Dorfman, Karl Gerstner, Peter Saville (to name a few). These days I’ve come into my own and get inspired by a lot more things outside of the design industry. Movies and music videos are the main ones, I’d say. However I still get fascinated by vintage signs and all things typographic.

Name an 'unsung hero', someone you admire who deserves more recognition for their work.

It has to be my wife Chi. Without her, I would never have had the career I’ve had, nor been able to explore the creative opportunities offered to me. There aren't many women who would actually put up with my shit, so she deserves a medal. She’s been there through every milestone of my life and always given me the confidence and reassurance that my work was good.

Vote in the net Awards!

Celebrating the best in web design and development, the 15th net Awards (opens in new tab) is open for public voting until 24 March. With a record breaking number of nominations this year, it's set to be the biggest and best yet. Have your say by casting your votes here (opens in new tab).

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