Portshowlio 2020: Creative Encounters

Click here to view final Portshowlio site > 

Web design by Portshowlio 2020 Web Team

We find ourselves suspended in a vast cosmos. Separated by circumstance but connected by our creativity, we come together united by a common mission: showcasing the Class of 2020.  If you’re receiving this message, you are invited to take a tour of our galaxy and discover what makes us individual and well rounded as creatives.

Portshowlio 2020 Concept Statement
11 weeks.

Seattle Central Creative Academy (school project).
Branding, content development/strategy, leadership.
Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Miro whiteboarding, google sheets, google slides, Slack.
Andrew Magnussen
Brit Van Guilder
Chris Kaku
Ellie Tanaka
Elise Stuke
Min Yoon
Noel Sherrard
Odin Amador
Robert Wozniak
Siri Love

The SCCA class of 2020 is a wonderfully diverse and skilled cluster of creatives. Branding our ceremonial portfolio show required a unique identity that inspired curiosity and discovery, but didn’t distract from our accomplishments. This challenge is heightened by the outbreak of COVID-19. Without the physical space of a portfolio show and face to face communication across my team, adjusting to virtual meeting and sharing spaces became key.

For over 10 years, Seattle Central Creative academy has organized a celebratory portfolio show for each graduating class. It attracts industry professionals, alumni, friends, family, and anyone with a foot in the creative world. Portshowlio is about connecting us as creatives to the prospective industries we will find our careers in, and celebrate our accomplishments and growth over the past two years. We’re not having a physical portfolio show; instead, we have a unique opportunity to highlight our willingness to innovate and create effective solutions. With this in mind, we’ve built a brand and narrative that accommodates the way our audience will perceive our show by providing a concise, engaging story and welcoming, experimental visuals.
A virtual show that guides the visitor through a fun experience of discovering our work, and a joyous encapsulation of our hard work as students.

Web design by Portshowlio 2020 Web Team

Our process began with a theme. After brainstorming a handful of ideas, the class of 2020 voted on an extraterrestrial theme, the idea being “what would it look like if extraterrestrials put on a portfolio show?” It was fun, tongue in cheek, and gave an an opportunity to explain our work in a funny way. Just as we were expanding the narrative, COVID-19 put an end to our in person meetings, and our ability to tell the same story.

We had to return to the drawing board. How could we tell a similar story within the limitations of a virtual show? The way the audience would experience it was irreversibly changed.

The more we tried to approach it, the more we felt the relevance of the narrative was drifting. In fact, we all felt we were drifting. Space was on our minds as we researched inspiration for our theme, and we realized how much we related to a sense of discovery. We read and listened to stories of the Golden Disk Record that was sent into space during the 1970’s Voyager mission. A gold plated disk that “contain(ed) sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form who may find them.” 

The image of an artifact drifting through the unknown feels relatable to so many right now. And to us, the feeling of sending our work and our creativity out into space in the hopes of finding like minded creatives. Our ability to tell a story and communicate visually is our lifeline, our way of not feeling alone during this time.

With that, we had a new direction - one that told a relevant story.

From there, we filtered down our narrative until we had a story that would foster curiosity and encourage visitors to explore the experience. We broke the metaphors into five distinct conventions: Explorer = visitor. Ping they receive = invitation to our galaxy, invitation to discover us. Galaxy = our show & our collective. Planet = us, our work, our portfolios. Biomes = our specialties & personalities.
Moodboarding virtually was a new experience for many of us. In the beginning, we used google slides to collaborate remotely, copying and pasting dots across images in lieu of stickers. Eventually, we moved to Miro whiteboarding, where we were able to collaborate and attach notes remotely. After the vetting process, two primary tonal territories emerged: experimental and welcoming. Based on our tonal territories, we began collecting observations and applied these to rules. Click here to see full Miro board > 
Concept Board.

The building blocks of Portshowlio
2020’s virtual experience are contrasting typography, swirling pools of textured color, and negative space, sometimes organized by visible grid structures. These pieces overlap and alter each other, resulting in unexpected compositions. Our approach is thoughtful, never haphazard.

Student portraits and free-form gradients intermingle, showing creatives in a new light. Grids and geometric shapes can affect the type and visual elements they come in contact with. Users find blocks of type adrift in negative space and, less frequently, fields of churning color overlaid with white display type.
Welcoming Tone

The Portshowlio 2020 virtual experience is designed to entice users to explore the portfolios of as many creatives as possible. The visual design is engaging, not alienating. Soft, eye-catching gradients in three-dimensional, geometric shapes represent mysterious worlds ready to be explored. The journey promises to be pleasant, marked by simple, organic shapes, hazy texture, and subtle, unhurried motion graphics.

While overlapping elements and altered typography are featured, ease of navigation is paramount. The experience is always approachable, simple, and sparse, never chaotic or cluttered. Navigational guidance is clear and unambiguous, aided by grid structures and glyphs to draw the eye.

Interactivity should be a delight, not a chore. Every button, motion graphic, and Easter egg is intentionally deployed to keep users feeling guided and entertained.

Experimental Tone

Breathing Room

We believe in bold experimentation. We like joining ideas and elements in new combinations because it leads to exciting discoveries. The Class of 2020 has conceived a universe of interactivity and play, drawing visitors in and inviting them to encounter each creative’s portfolio.

Kyra Anderson
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