The following is my final essay for PUB101. The essay highlights my experience creating this blog and the decisions and changes I made throughout the process. You can read the essay below or download the PDF above for a more legible read.
The blog I created this semester is entitled “Melissa Hudson”. The website is a professional portfolio that showcases my work as a stylist and content creator. My website is divided into three sections “Editorial”, “Styling”, and “Posiel”. The Editorial section displays my work in graphic design and artistic directing. The Styling section shows my work in fashion styling and the inspiration behind my work. The Posiel section holds all of my work for PUB101 that is not directly related to the other themes of my blog. I created this blog to be used as a professional portfolio in my career outside of school. Thus, the posts I create are all portfolio pieces or pieces that allow viewers insight into who I am as an artist. The content is all directed to my desired field of interest and presents the blog as a representation of my brand (myself as an artist). Through the creation of this blog, I have been branding myself as a professional and therefore, my blog is intended for potential employers and admirers of my work.
My imagined audience is potential employers who are working in the fashion and art industries as well as young creatives who enjoy viewing the work of other young artists. This can be seen through my artist statement on the opening page which informs reader who I am an as artist and as a person and what my personal niche is in the industry. I have created my website so that my audience can easily navigate my work and sift through my content based on what appeals to them. This can also be seen in the design of my website as I have designed it to be very minimalistic so that the work stands out. In addition, the colour scheme (black, white, and a low opacity pink) is reflective of myself and my brand. The colour scheme is chic, fashionable, and simplistic yet bold.
My audience is also addressed through my content as the majority of my posts are accompanied by a work statement where I state the purpose of the piece, what it was created for, what my inspirations were, and why I took the direction that I did. This information is important for potential employers in understanding the work I have done and for what reasons. Other young artists are being addressed as the featured images I use as transmedia representations of my work are very artistic and true to my brand. Thus, I am catching their artistic eye through the use of this creative imagery.
I believe that I provide value to the fashion/art community as I am my own individual, with unique experiences, tastes, and interests. Therefore, nothing I do will be identical to the work of another artist. My websites value is not monetary, but it is valuable in networking. Not only can I use it to promote myself as an artist, but my audience can use my work as inspiration. They can use my Styling section as fashion inspiration/ advice, and they can contact me to collaborate or to hire me for a job. Thus, the value in my website derives from its ability to act as a driver for connections or inspiration.
My website is a portfolio intended to help with employment after I graduate in my field of interest. Since I am still a student, I have not yet been employed in my field, therefore, I do not have any professional work to showcase. In order to overcome this, I did quite a bit of research on things to include in portfolio’s when entering the workforce after graduation. An article on The Muse website argued that “Having something to show off—even if it wasn’t for an actual company or client—will still be powerful in representing your abilities” (Frost, N.d). Frost’s argument suggests that creating ‘mock’ pieces based on the type of work you want to do strengthens your portfolio. Thus, in my portfolio I have created and will continue to create ‘mock’ pieces of the type of work I hope to do. In addition, building up my online presence shows potential employers dedication to my intended line of work. This is suggested by John DiScala in the following quote about having a professional online presence; “By having one, you’re differentiating yourself and showing colleagues and potential employers that you’re dedicated to what you do. Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself either. […]Use the tools you have available to be the most engaging” (DiScala, 2019). DiScala’s quote highlights the importance in distringuishing yourself within your industry in order to stand out. He suggests that by creating a digital portfolio you are one step above the competition who do not have one.
When I first created a blog at the beginning of the semester, I had a completely different theme (Sustainable Design). However, after a few weeks I realized that this was not a good topic for me to choose for a blog. Even though I was very interested and passionate about the topic, I felt as though I had nothing to contribute to the current sphere of information regarding the topic. As I am a full-time student who is not currently working in a creative field, discovering anything new to contribute to the field was too time consuming and I did not feel motivated to do so. After much consideration I decided to change my website to a professional portfolio and fashion/design blog. As soon as I did so I found that I was much more motivated to create content and develop my website as it could potentially benefit me in my future career.
Due to this change, I found myself thinking more critically about my tone of voice and language in my content as I want to present myself as professional but still youthful and creative. I found myself critically thinking about who my intended audience was (primarily potential employers) and how I would want them to perceive me. This altered the kind of content I posted. Originally, I had intended to only post my work and nothing about myself besides a short artist description. However, after doing some research on e-portfolios I realized that allowing employers to get to know myself a little bit is extremely beneficial. This can be seen in Frost’s article as she states “While your past work is a critical aspect when someone’s thinking about working with you, it’s important to remember that said person isn’t looking to hire your work, but the person who made it” (Frost, N.d). Erin Greenawald also comments on a digital portfolios ability to help you brand and market yourself in the following quote; “As anyone who has contemplated shifting career gears knows, your resume is a great way to show off your past experiences, but it doesn’t always portray the future self you want hiring managers to see. On a personal website, however, the brand you put out to the world is totally up to you. You can use it to show who you are, not just what you’ve done” (Greenawald, N.d). Therefore, I will continue to create content that expresses who I am as an individual, outside of my work as an artist.
Going forward I would like to continue maintaining my site as a professional portfolio. However, I think I will remove the ‘weekly blog’ aspect and manage the site as solely a digital resume with posts only containing portfolio pieces. However, based on my research I can see that it is beneficial to create blog posts once in a while that are focused on who I am and my individual perspectives. This will help my ‘brand’ myself as an artist to employers and distinguish myself from other artists in the industry. I also plan to move my website to a different website builder (Wix) so that I can personalize and customize the site more thoroughly. Overall, I know that maintaining this website and continuing to develop my ‘brand’ and style through design, editorial, content, and tone will benefit me in my professional career.
DiScala, J. (2019, February 21). 5 Ways to Create a Professional Online Presence. Retrieved November 24, 2019, from https://www.inc.com/john-discala/5-ways-to-create-a-professional-online-presence.html.
Frost, A. (2015, July 6). How to Build a Portfolio That’ll Make Everyone Want to Hire You. Retrieved November 24, 2019, from https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-secrets-to-building-a-portfolio-thatll-make-everyone-want-to-hire-you.
Greenawald, E. (2014, July 23). How My Personal Website Helped Me Land My Dream Job. Retrieved November 24, 2019, from https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-my-personal-website-helped-me-land-my-dream-job.
YES! Colour’s dennote different meanings and feelings. Colours are also associated with various things based on peoples experience with them. For example, red and Green mean Christmas, whereas Black and Orange mean Halloween. Pink and Yellow are for Spring because of the flowers and dark colours are for fall and winter to mimic the weather. People have developed countless associations for colours, therefore, colour totally matters in fashion. I have created an example to demonstrate what I am talking about using a photoshop on an image of myself taken this summer.
The image on the left is the original image (which you may have seen in another blog post). I am wearing a yellow dress with black open toe heels, and a black purse with a beaded handle. I wore this look to an outdoor wedding in July. The wedding attire called for “casual dress”. I being desperate for any occasion to wear a fancy dress too, overdressed a little for this wedding (but not for a typical wedding). I chose a the dress because it felt summery, elegant, and romantic and I chose the accessories to add a slightly bold statement to the look.
The image on the right is the photoshopped version. I chose to use a colour palette that is completely wrong for this event and season. The colour palette I chose (red and green) denote winter, specifically Christmas. The look seems so bizarre given that I am clearly outdoors on a nice summer day. Perhaps if I were in a different setting this look wouldn’t seem so out of place. I find it funny that since I changed the colour of the bag to a shade of dark green, the bag almost appears to be made of velvet, which is absolutely a winter textile. Perhaps that is because my mind is relying on the visual cues to piece things together.
All in all, this simple example shows how colour completely changes the look and the message the look sends to viewers.
For my website I have implemented the community guidelines outlined below. Since my blog is mainly a professional portfolio, there is not much community involvement, however, comments are allowed (but moderated by myself). The guidelines are in place to ensure comments are respectful and that the content within my website is protected from plagiarism. These guidelines work for my blog as they are in place to keep inappropriate or harmful content off of the blog and to prevent users from stealing/ copying my work without giving credit.
By commenting on my blogs, you are agreeing to abide by the following community guidelines. I reserve the right to remove comments posted by users if they violate these guidelines.
I am one person. I am a student and an artist trying to elevate my career so please be respectful of the following;
- Keep comments relevant to the post on which you are commenting.
- Do not post anything inappropriate, offensive, or hateful to myself or other users.
- Don’t plagiarize..
- Don’t post any material which may be discriminatory or cause offence on the grounds of an individual’s sex, race, religion or belief, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or working status. (Love is love, people are people)
- If you are reposting a post for whatever reason, you must tag/cite this website or the Instagram account (@mmh_portfolio)
Take responsibility for what you post. Would you show it to your mother? If not, then maybe you shouldn’t be posting it. This world already has so much hate, I don’t want any of it here. Just because you can’t see me, doesn’t mean your words don’t have an impact. Think before you post. I want this website to be a place of community, where artists and other users can communicate and grow from one another.
If you see a comment that violates these guidelines please direct message @mmh_portfolio on Instagram and please include the following
- The title of the post the comment is on
- The username of the user who made the comment
- A screenshot or a copy & paste of the comment
- You agree that you will not use any of the content on my blog to post any copyright material or intellectual property that is not your own without the permission of the copyright or intellectual property holder unless permitted by copyright law
I reserve the right to change these guidelines at any time.
One more semester and then what? Who knows where my career will take me?
Below are some Gifs that inspired my art and styling this month. I admire the use of bold colours (specifically a large amount of primary colours), the abstract patterns, and the strong energy of the models.
I plan on incorporating more transmedia into my publication by using YouTube. Since my website is a professional portfolio incorporating other channels into my website is not necessarily integral or useful. My work is mainly text and image based, therefore my website is the best place to display it. However, I have some work that could be viewed on Youtube. In addition, I think a lot of my fashion blogging would benefit from linking to YouTube videos that support what I am writing on (interviews, runway shows, fashion vlogs, etc.) Other than this, I do not feel that incorporating more transmedia would benefit my website.
The rain trickled down the window, leaving its trail behind as it slowly made its way to the bottom of the antique frame. The window was old and outdated. Marjorie was always staring out the window, but it never made her happy. What she used to know as “Aberfield Lane” a street in Chicago Illinois that was lined with jazz clubs and restaurants and the cutest little homes, one of them being her own. Was now “Aberfield Lane” the 1989 suburb. The cookie cutter houses replaced the clubs, a new playground replaced her favourite restaurant and the entire neighbourhood reeked of Aqua net and Electric youth. The only thing that never changed was her house. Everything looked as though it was stuck in the past, every plate was chipped and stained, every wall, an antique pink and every room smelt like smoke and Shalimar. It seemed as though the 1920s never left until you stepped outside the front door.
Every time a car drove by, blasting the latest rock song, it got harder and harder for her to understand. How on earth could the world allow something as beautiful and perfect as jazz be replaced by electric guitars and painted faces? It was as though, with every passed day and every new invention, the world shed loved faded further and further away.
That night, she fixed herself a brandy and lit her cigar. She placed her favourite record on the player and watched it spin. She could feel the band moving to the music as men sat and smoked with a women dressed to the nine wrapped in their arms.
Eventually she sat down in her chair and drifted to sleep while the record continued to spin. She slept all through the night and day, dreaming of her past. When eventually she was awoken by the sound of a saxophone playing its brassy melodies outside her windows. Which she noticed looked as new as they did when she first bought the house. As a matter of fact, everything looked brand new, the only thing that seemed to be the same was the smell. She walked towards the front door to see what had happened and as she passed the front hall she was startled by a young women staring back at her. The women had short blonde hair cut into a chic bob. Her dress was sparkly and drowned in fringe that swayed every time she moved. Marjorie realized it was no women at all, but a mirror reflecting her own image. It was as if she was 22 yet again, she felt so beautiful and happy that she couldn’t help but smile and skip out the front door to see what else had changed. To her amazement, she was right, everything was as it used to be. Everywhere she looked, people were dressed in fur and top hats with gorgeous short hair and cigarettes between their lips. She could hear the jazz music coming from “The Kit Kat” the most popular club around. Without hesitation she ran towards it, smiling as the smell of brandy grew stronger. Two gentlemen dressed in suits welcomed her as they opened the doors and clouds of smoke flew out and encircled her, bringing her towards the dance floor which welcomed her like an old friend that would never let her go again. As she danced the night away, the woman in the chair smiled as the sound of her heartbeat was replaced with the sound of music, forever.
Transmedia: Representation: “I’ll be seeing you” sung by Billie Holiday
Since I was a kid I have loved fashion. I love expressing myself through clothing and playing with my identity. Somedays fashion allowed me to express my emotions, and other days it allowed me to be someone else entirely. Fashion is the visual identity you construct to display to society. You are basically determining how your want to be perceived by the outside world, whether or not it is reflective of who you really are. Fashion is a language that is filled with meaning and assumptions, and my favourite part of fashion is trying to break those meanings and mess up the ‘norm’.
I, like most people went through “phases” as a kid. My style evolved overtime because who I was changed a lot. Let me show you just how many phases I had….
The Hippie Phase…
In Kindergarten I was notorious for wearing old dirty T-Shirts and a headband around my forehead
The Colour Phase
In early elementary school I went through a phase where my entire outfit was one colour from head to toe
The Girly Girl Phase
Around the same time, I went through a lip gloss, pink clothing, and fake dog in a purse phase (we all know the one)
The Cardigan Phase
Pretty much the rest of elementary school consisted of me wearing some kind of cardigan over every outfit I wore. I was obsessed with cardigans.
The Trying Too Hard Phase
When I started high school, I was a girl from a suburb going to high school in the city. All of the city kids were so “cool” and had a very individual style. I wanted to show that I had good style (which at this point, I did not. This is what we call the “awkward teen years”). I wore dresses with patterned tights, too much makeup (done horribly), boots with fringe or sparkles, and I looked a MESS.
The Grunge Phase
Then of course, as all teens do, you rebel against yourself and who you used to be and become the total opposite. For me this meant wearing thrift store mom jeans, old t shirts with a turtle neck underneath, combat boots, and my hair up at all times. I must admit that this was the comfiest phase and I still have days where I channel this phase.
The I Just Got a Job in Retail Phase
In my senior year of high school I got my first retail job at Topshop and I felt a need to up my fashion game since the people I worked with were all very stylish and being stylish was sort of a requirement for the job. I was really drawn to cigarette trousers, boyfriend jackets, leather boots, and knitwear. This phase ended my so called “Phases” and from here on, my style has not changed drastically but has evolved with current trends and who I am as a person
The piece uses movement to express discomfort within ones body. The camera has moments of shakiness to represent the unbalanced relationship between the girl and those who view her. The abstract colouring and lighting create an unfamiliar and strange environment meant to mimic how she feels in her own skin. This piece uses choreography to portray the need for escape and the discomfort and struggle between a girl and her body.
Community guidelines are a funny thing to talk about for me, since I have not established an online community on my site. Doing the readings for this week, however, it’s very clear to see that once any sort of community does develop, it is crucial to moderate it appropriately.
In my eyes, I would implement a policy similar to that of book riot, which is not overbearing, but allows for all voices to be heard with no fear of retaliatory bigotry, shaming or abuse.
At the end end of the day, the internet should be a safe space if it needs to be, and community guidelines which allow it to be so are not only beneficial on specific sites, but on the whole of the web.
With this essay, the goal is to think introspectively on our experience as an online publisher, and reflect, really, on all that we’ve learned in PUB 101 this fall.
When I was first contemplating what exactly my publication would be, I had a lot of ideas going through my head, and not all of them were the brightest. Being tasked with building a website from scratch is a very tall order: obviously, you want to pick a topic that is naturally interesting to you, but you also want to build a space where a real audience can develop and foster, gaining something from it.
I decided on a food blog, because not only am I very interested in food, but there is a huge potential audience for food content on the web. As I’ve noted in some of my previous process posts, food has seemingly taken over Facebook and Instagram for a lot of people.
I felt that starting a food blog put me in an advantageous position, since I would be able to tap into a demographic (foodies and regular folk alike) which already existed, and that I wouldn’t have to shift too much to accommodate.
When it came to designing my website, I definitely had a goal in mind to be simplistic and easy reading, because in my opinion, following recipes online is hard enough without having to navigate overly-complex fonts, layouts and spacing. I also wanted to play to my audience, which I imagined would be those who enjoyed aesthetically-pleasing, simple layouts. A lot of my secondary design tweaks came after reading Travis Gertz’s article on “Design Machines” (2015), which was undoubtedly the course reading which I gained the most from this semester. Hearing advice on needing to make your site stand out in a world of unnoticed assimilation was very needed, and helped motivate me to add the splash of unique yellow that my site now has.
When it comes to my public, I must say that I dropped the ball in not promoting my site, or posting enough. My biggest mistakes, in my opinion, were
a) not having a pre-scheduled selection of meals which I’d write about, and
b) focusing on more complex recipes, instead of simple ones which would not only be easier to read, but much simpler and faster to draft up as content posts.
Because of these two mistakes, my postings were definitely not frequent enough, and I lost a huge chance to, in my opinion, make a website that could realistically have a great impact for students and foodies.
Having said that, I feel like if someone were to stumble upon my site at the moment, I would still be able to provide them with a couple of solid recipes, and most importantly, a smile on their face. From day one, I knew that I needed to have some cheeky, funny images to draw readers in, and I fell like Full Plate, Empty Fridge still has the potential to do so.
Looking into the past and into the future in regards to what I’ve learned from PUB 101, I can confidently say that I learned an absolute ton that will help me be not only a better publisher, but a better consumer in the future. When the question “what is publication” was asked in the first lecture we had by Matthew Stadler, my answer would undoubtedly have been something related to “putting out content”, but throughout the entire semester, I’ve become more and more aware of how Stadler is absolutely right in saying that moving from the thought process of “getting from publishing, to publication… the creation of a public” is the most important thing to understand about any online or print platform (Stadler, 2010).
Big, successful brands in every industry, from fast food to fashion, all share a commonality of having created publics, not just content.
Any type of publisher, from a Denny’s P.R guy (yikes) to someone with no more than a dozen Instagram followers, can benefit from this thinking: if you can create a public, you can be successful.
That’s not all that I’ve found useful in PUB 101, however: perhaps the most interesting topic for myself personally was the rise of data tracking and advertising’s shift into highly-personal, tailored ads. Hearing about just how much control companies like Facebook have over what we see has been unsurprising, but very unsettling nevertheless, and pieces like Suzanne’s on Amazon’s deft ability to track you no matter what were interesting and revealing (Noraman, 2015).
I hope to further establish my online presence after the conclusion of this course, and now I have the tools to do so. When it comes to Full Plate: Empty Fridge, I’m hoping to trow up a couple of recipe posts during the winter break and see if it’s something I can realistically continue to do in the future when life gets busy (funnily enough, that’s more or less the tagline of my website). Worst case scenario, I’m definitely going to show it to my friends and family, because not only is it something that I’m really proud of creating, it’s hard proof that yes, I am a publisher.
Gertz, T. (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” July 2015. Retrieved from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines
Norman, S. (2015). “Trying not to drop breadcrumbs in Amazon’s store.” Retrieved from: http://publishing.sfu.ca/2016/03/breadcrumbs-of-data/
Stadler, M. (2010). “What is Publication?” Talk from the Richard Hugo House’s writer’s conference, Seattle, WA. May 21, 2010. Retrieved from: http://vimeo.com/14888791
When it comes to transmedia integration and my site, there are a few possibilities that I can explore, namely with video integration.
One of the most popular uses for Facebook nowadays is as a platform to share recipes and food experiences. From quick-fire recipe makes to reaction videos to unique foods, social media has become a goldmine for food-related content.
Should I grow my site further and focus on certain platforms specifically, I believe that the smartest platforms to focus my efforts on would be Facebook and Instagram jointly. The two platforms also make sense as a pair because they are very cross-compatible.
Other avenues I could explore are Snapchat (valuable because their story format is very recipe-friendly) and Pinterest, which is already a goldmine for recipes and food-sharing already.
No matter what I decide to do, it holds true that transmedia integration is incredibly valuable to any website, especially those with the same subject matter as mine.
After looking at my google analytics, I was pretty taken aback. Not at how few people looked at my posts, but at the fact that somebody actually looked at my posts.
It’s not that I don’t think that quality of my work has been bad; not in the slightest. I just simply do not have enough content on website or have put enough work in to make it seen!
Hopefully, I’ll be able to have more time to put content on my site later on in the coming weeks, and my analytics numbers will look somewhat respectable.
One thing I do hope to keep, though, is the ‘time spent on site’, which at this point is pretty long, leading me to believe that people are actually using my site for its intended purpose: making delicious recipes!
For this peer review, my task is to assess Ivan’s website, Ivan So Sweaty, for its overall marketability towards his intended audience group.
There are a million different ways one can assess marketability, and Ivan’s website is a very interesting case because whereas many websites have an overarching theme to go off of, his is more of a personal blog on which he speaks about poetry, his thoughts, and even delves into his insecurities.
The writing on Ivan’s blog is very personal. It’s absolutely the best part of his website, and what really sets it apart from others. I feel like, from glancing over his website, Ivan is someone whose website is purposely ad-free for now. It’s definitely a fine line to walk: monetizing a space which you’re trying to draw readers into with the authenticity of your work is a slippery slope. Is it immoral to do so? How do you make decent income from a project you put so much time into without ads?
If Ivan does eventually decide to put ads on his website, he has a very good base to work from. The aesthetics of his website are very clean and professional, and he presents his personal logo very well, setting the tone for the rest of his site.
When it comes to marketability, I feel like Ivan’s site could be more marketable if he chose to go with a solid-coloured background instead of the current prism-like design. While the current design looks very, very good, his site would be far more accessible to marketers with more negative and plain space. As a viewer of his website, it’s perfectly ‘busy’ right now, but could.
This is perfectly in-line with what Travis Gertz says in his article “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse”: It’s very tough to be simplistic while still maintaining originality in an age where templates are becoming more and more repetitive.
Another avenue that Ivan could explore when looking to make his website more marketable is using sponsored content within his posts. At this point, the large majority of his content is POSIEL posts (exactly like my site), but if during his posts he happened to name-drop certain brands in exchange for sponsorship, he could find decent income without having to clutter up his website.
All in all, Ivan has done a very good job at making his website marketable, and although it’s evident that he’s chosen aesthetics over ad-friendliness, the premise of his site combined with his layout mean that should he decide to ‘make the switch’, he’ll have no trouble at all.
When it comes to monetizing my site, I see a lot of both positives and negatives.
Obviously, it’s nice to make some extra moolah, and my site has a layout which is very accommodating for ads, so it should be a no-brainer to have ads on my site. For some reason, though, I feel like it would make my site seem un-authentic with ads blaring down the side, and I’m wary of colourful ads becoming the focal visual point of my site, instead if my content.
I did try out Google ads, however I got an email back saying I didn’t have enough content to do so (you’re bang on, Google). I may try again once I’ve got more content posted, but for now my focus is definitely on just getting posts up (which has been hard with my schedule!).
When it comes to analytics, I definitely see both sides of the coin as well. I personally run the social media accounts for my workplace, and the data which Facebook ads provides to me is crucial in the marketing decisions I make. Realistically, though, I know that it’s ridiculous how much info these sites provide to advertisers: I’ve heard many stories about creepy specific ads and even have a few myself.
In regards to my footprint, I only really make a concentrated effort to alter my data trails when I know it directly affects a purchase I’ll make. For example, I’ll delete all of my cookies from travel sites after I visit them in order to get better deals once I do decide on a trip. I’ll even sometimes purposely over-search for certain topics in the hopes of getting an ad which is relevant to me and I haven’t seen yet: for example, I’ve been shopping around for hoodies recently and am looking specifically for some sort of soccer-themed one. I made sure to google “soccer hoodie” and other variants multiple times in hopes of getting relevant ads from brands and stores I may not have seen before. In this case, I’ve not only thrown in the towel: I’ve dumped my entire laundry hamper in.
For this process post, the task was to ‘remix’ something. Unfortunately, I’m not the best music or video creator, however I am a whiz at editing pictures on Microsoft Paint.
For my ‘remix’, I decided to make a thumbnail for my ‘happy pasta’ recipe using Microsoft’s most brilliant invention.
I started with a copy of this copyright-free image on freeimages.com. To remix it, I decided to make the photo exponentially better by plastering my ugly mug on it.
I went into Word and copied/cropped/removed the background on a photo of my face, coloured it to match the background, and then used everyone’s favorite artisic tool, Word Art, to slap some text on the picture.
Just like that, a simple picture of spaghetti was transformed into a beautiful thumbnail.
The end result is pretty inspiring if I do say so myself: