Thursday, June 23, 2011

Relaunching Lahiri Studios

The new (and improved) Lahiri Studios portfolio is live as of June 23rd, although we had a soft launch earlier in the week sans a few analytics features that had to be implemented.

The goal this time around was to develop a portfolio site that was less of a trash heap for everything I've ever done and instead showcase a few choice pieces in categories that I thought were relevant to potential clients. Some endearing example work from my early career days had to get axed, but may return at a future time. The positive side is that I can lay claim to a lot of fresh work that is just as compelling if not more.

I've had a blast messing with the Open Graph protocol that Facebook recently implemented. It essentially allows a site administrator with a Facebook account to treat any page just like a Facebook page, complete with it's own wall, photo section, metrics etc.  That leaves me possibly taking down the old Lahiri Studios Facebook page given the redundancy. What to do?

Another major goal with this relaunch was to incorporate more social media avenues than the current site could squeeze in. I've found linkedIn to be a huge tool in my professional life so I had to add that as well as a feed from this new blog which is turning out to be a lot of fun. Overall I'm hoping clients will get a well rounded picture of who I am as a professional and have everything they need to know at their fingertips with this revamp. Killing the popups and having a more search-indexable site was crucial this time around as well. The lightbox feature is SEO friendly thanks to the fantastic work of my developer Brendan LaMarsche.

Despite this being a portfolio site, I put the branded identity concept on the back burner for a more neutral appearance. This is not a Cargo Collective or Behance-style designer's portfolio. It's not an agency website. It's super diverse and touches on elements of UI/UX, multimedia, art and design, and even some programming. And if someone came along and gave me the opportunity to jump into video games, or mobile apps, or some experimental new technology you've never heard of, I'd hop right on it. I like to have fun, and that's what being in the digital space has afforded for me. I'm proud to have touched a lot of exciting mediums of communication over the years. Some of it is highly entertaining, multimedia ear and eye-candy, while some of it is cut and dry, usability-minded work that is challenging and engaging in it's own right. I feel like the site had to remain neutral in tone for this reason.

I continue to adhere to the belief that minimalism is the key to good information design. Years of rock star projects where I'd work with teams seeking to push the multimedia envelope has rekindled a love for simple and responsive UI design. UI/UX projects are one of my favorite lines of work, and are often just as engaging and challenging as the crazy compositing and vector illustration stuff I've been known for. I've got a few projects in this category under my belt and I've done my best to showcase them in hopes that I'll get more such opportunities. Granted, I love it all. I eat, breath and sleep the arts, and the opportunity to use my Wacom tablet to composite some crazy fantasy world together is always welcome. The Wacom stuff is a meditation that takes me back to my pencil and paper days, where realism was my ultimate goal as an artist.

I do have some thoughts on a fully branded identity using the same portfolio items but that's in the instance that I start my own agency, which I don't have any plans for at the moment. Who knows, maybe someday. It all depends on what destiny has in store for me.