10 Hints to Exhibit Your Artwork Online!

by Carol Pentleton

Swedish Streets Exhibiting Performed Arts, Native Americans' Dance Music, Orebro.

Swedish Streets Exhibiting Performed Arts, Native Americans' Dance Music, Orebro.

Swedish Streets Exhibiting Performed Arts, Native Americans' Dance Music, Orebro.
Winds through the Forest Animated

Here are 10 Hints to Exhibit Your Artwork Online!


  1. Make it easy to use. Before you even design the first page, sit down with pencil and paper and map out exactly how you'd like your site to work.

    Think of all the badly designed sites you've been to where there are dead ends, broken links, confusing navigation and endless clicks before you find what you want - if you ever do! How to avoid such mishaps: Make a simple diagram showing how your online portfolio will be structured.

    Start with the home page and work from there. It shouldn't take more than a click or two for a viewer to locate the work he/she wants.

  2. Be consistent. Have a common overall design throughout your portfolio. It gives you credence as a visual artist, shows that you're organized and can think clearly, and keeps the viewer focused on your information.

    This means you should be consistent with your background, identifying graphics, if any, type fonts, color and page design.

  3. Skip the ornate backgrounds. You know the ones - busy overall patterns in garish colors that make it almost impossible to read the copy or view the images comfortably.

    These backgrounds distract and detract from the work you display, and call your taste as a visual artist into question. Stick with solid colors, gentle blends or extremely subtle patterns.

  4. No goofy type. Nothing brands you as a tyro more readily than the use of gaudy type fonts, especially when used in large quantities. Readability is key to your efforts when promoting your work online.

    So is good taste. Using a piece of unusual type to spark your page is fine, but unless you have a decent working knowledge of typography, err on the side of caution and go for a simple look. Stick with one or two of the normal web typefaces for the bulk of your information, with perhaps one or two shots of something special used as graphics.

  5. Check your readability. Once you eliminated the goofy type, make sure your information is readable. Is it large enough, without screaming at the reader? Is there sufficient contrast, and are the colors comfortable to read?

    Viewers are generally turned off by: great masses of type in huge paragraphs with long line lengths, masses of type on a black background (the gothic and star-wars looks are so dated!), color contrasts that vibrate (green type on red, for instance), ALL CAPS and bad grammar and spelling errors.

  6. Keep the load times fast. Graphics slow down load times, but hey - we're visual artists! The key is to use fast-loading thumbnails that link to larger images.

    Make the thumbnails large enough to give a sense of what the viewer is looking at. Limit the number of thumbnails on a page so that the total page size is not more than 30K. Interested viewers should then be able to click through to a larger image.

  7. Your images should be clear. Muddy or unsharp images create a prejudice against your work. Take a good look at your images before you upload them to your site.

    Even though your images will be in gif or jpg format at less than 100 dpi, they should certainly be sharp and clear.

  8. Quiet please! Generally speaking, silence is golden when it comes to artists' websites. Anyone calling up your online portfolio in an office does not want to be greeted with a tinny MIDI file of your favorite Britney Spears tune. Trust me on this.

  9. Stop dancing around. Almost equally annoying are sites that flash, jump or dance around in any way. The overwhelming comment from art buyers is "Make it stop!" Get rid of the ad banners, pop-ups and flashing type. If you can't afford to pay for a web host - and they're getting very cheap now - at least find one without pop-ups and with minimal ad banners.

  10. Make sure they can find you. Once the art buyer loves your work, he or she needs to be able to contact you. Put your contact info on every page, if possible, or at least a link to that information.


These ten suggestions should help you steer clear of the most obvious website design problems, and may even boost your reputation as a visual artist.


Carol Pentleton is a designer, artist, writer and jazz vocalist. See her portfolio at The New Place. She wrote
10 Hints to Exhibit Your Artwork Online tagged:

exhibiting arts, online exhibitions, exhibiting directories, professional presentation, thumbnails techniques, galleries


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