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Artist Websites

These guidelines and resources can help artists to determine their website needs, create a plan, select appropriate tools, and design their website. This guide was created for a presentation to the Artists Association of Northern Colorado on June 10, 2014.

What are the goals of your site?

  • A small, simple portfolio/promotion site
  • A complete inventory of your work for sale
  • Sell your works online (originals, prints, and/or digital images)
  • Add your work to an online art database
  • Share your images
  • Showcase your best work
  • Writing, discussion or comments about your work
  • Be found in a Google search for your name, medium, work topics etc.
  • Improve your credibility and name recognition
  • Find a job in the arts

Who and where is your target audience? (prioritize)

  • Family, friends
  • Buyers, galleries, employers
  • Local, regional, national, global

What resources and constraints do you have?

  • Your money
  • Your time
  • Your technical knowledge and skills, patience and interest in doing things yourself
  • Your availability to meet with a designer, describe your needs and site requirements
  • Your ability to provide content and edit for high quality
  • Photos of your work (camera, lighting, and photo editing software, or professional service)

How should the site present your work?

  • Gallery/Portfolio of images
    • Show your best quality work vs. everything
    • Separate current portfolio for purchase from archive
  • Work information (title, medium, dimensions, year, price)
  • Purchase buttons, how to buy, shipping information
  • Upcoming and recent events, workshops, talks
  • List and links to galleries displaying your work
  • Links to related people, organizations and sites (make sure all links work)

How should the site present you?

  • Prominently show your name and a brief tagline on every page header and title
  • Tagline can be a job title, medium or type of work that identifies you
  • Page title and main heading should also include the subject of the page
  • Artist statement - what, why, how: media, subjects, locations, motivations, uniqueness, influences, techniques, evolution, recent work
  • CV/bio/credentials - education, experience, awards/honors, galleries
  • External opinions of your work - reviews, press, testimonials, awards
  • Photo(s) of you
  • Contact information (address, phone, email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Include your website address on all communications (business card, email signature, Facebook, LinkedIn)

What features might be included in site builder software?

  • Themes
  • Slideshows
  • Galleries/Categories
  • Pages
  • Contact form
  • E-commerce (sell originals and/or on-demand photo prints through the site)
  • Visitor statistics
  • Searchable database of images/artists
  • Community (messages, chat, critiques)
  • Mobile friendly (responsive design)
  • Related artists/works are similar to you/your works
  • Web hosting
  • Your own domain name(s) (.com, .net, etc.)

What visual design should be used?

  • Keep it simple
  • Don't put too much on one page
  • Use a neutral, natural color scheme (low saturation) and minimal decoration (to focus on the works)
  • Use high contrast for readability (black text and white background is safest)
  • Navigation - easy, consistent on every page
  • Text - brief, short paragraphs, headings, lists, everyday language
  • Fonts - few, large, clear, readable
  • Test on a mobile device
  • No splash screen
  • No "under construction" pages

How should images be created?

  • Use high-quality photos (high-resolution camera, good lighting, in focus, minimize skew)
  • Get photo editing software and learn to use it (crop, rotate, levels, brightness/contrast)
  • Reduce image file sizes for faster loading on the web (500-800 pixels, 100-300KB)
  • Use large thumbnails (200-300 pixels, under 50KB)

How will the site be created and hosted? Options:

  • Create a website using an online hosting site with website design tools (website or blog or content management system)
  • Create a website with a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver and upload to a hosting account (requires the most technical skills)
  • Pay a web designer/developer to custom-build a site (most expensive)
  • Add your images and information to existing art community databases, e-commerce sites and photo-sharing sites (easiest)
    • Link these to your main website to improve your site's search engine ranking

Advice for creating an artist website

Lists of art and artist sites

Artist specific sites

Databases of artists and works

Ecommerce sites with fine art categories

Photo sharing sites


General website creation/hosting

Local web designers

Example artist websites

Lists of exemplary artist sites

Example artist websites from vendors

Here are a few other artist websites to give ideas of what is possible. These sites represent a wide range of features and quality.

Website Description Powered by
http://www.johnfielder.com/ Colorado photographer
http://www.albertbierstadt.org/ Landscape painter from 19th century
http://www.bobcoonts.com/ Fort Collins painter GoDaddy.com
http://www.davidmattingly.com/ Colorado illustrator
http://www.glennrandall.com/ Colorado landscape photographer
http://www.hillaryosborn.com/ Landscape painter
http://www.joepaquet.com/ Landscape painter
http://www.mitchalbala.com/ Landscape painter
http://www.lightofnaturephotography.com/ Colorado photographer Drupal
http://paulaspen.com/ Colorado photographer WordPress
http://julielivermorephotography.com/ Fort Collins photographer WordPress
http://billcramerstudio.com/ Arizona artist faso.com
http://landscape-art.com/ example artist faso.com
http://cmtorrez.deviantart.com/ example artist deviantart.com
http://zeana-romanovna.artistwebsites.com/ example artist artistwebsites.com
http://www.katherinekurtzpainter.com/ example artist heavybubble.com
http://anneroecklein.net/home.html example artist otherpeoplespixels.com
http://www.stephaniehessler.com/ example artist indiemade.com
http://dorianboyesen.com/ example artist openfolio
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/yuriy-shevchuk.html example artist fineartamerica.com
http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/a/arkadyz/ example artist absolutearts.com