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The first design portfolio that’s ever made me laugh

In a good way, that is.

The first design portfolio that’s ever made me laugh
[Screenshot: Mariano Pascual]

These days, most design portfolios have an air of sameness to them–like clone-stamp copies of one another. It’s something Argentinian designer and illustrator Mariano Pascual wanted to change.

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“I was a little bit bored with my old website, as well as with other online portfolios that all look similar. I think that minimalistic style to show your work is a bit outdated, there’s a need to see new things now,” he says. “With sites like Instagram and Behance becoming more and more popular as a way to showcase work, it’s important to have a website that can tell another story.”

Pascual isn’t wrong. The spartan designs of most design portfolios today are tasteful, but they aren’t original. They’re also all the same container. Your photos and descriptions are uploaded into the same bounding boxes as everyone else’s. And if you subscribe to the theory that the medium is the message, then everyone speaking on a single platform is saying the same thing. 

But Pascual’s new portfolio, created in conjunction with the agency Achos! and covered recently by It’s Nice That, speaks in a language all its own.  

The finished site looks like an off-brand Microsoft Windows competitor from the late ’90s, complete with a File menu bar, dock, and little boxes you click to close windows. The quirkiness seeps into every level of the experience. Pascual created each component of the interface, including an “Open Explorer” button that appears to be a normal web browser before it fills your screen with illustrated alerts, scandalous body parts, and cryptocurrency ads.

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The sound design can’t be overlooked, either. It’s part of the charm. Mouse over the “about” icon and you get a curious “huh?” Scroll over the “settings” gear, and you get a clickety crank sound. The sonic vibe matches the bohemian graphic design well, reminding the viewer that, as polished as the experience may be, it still comes from the mind of a single, unique human being (if one working alongside a few friends to make it possible). For the next update, Pascual might actually change the sounds to his own vocalizations. It’s a fun detail that doubles down on the silliness while reminding you that the site isn’t born of a big company, but of a lone artist.

No doubt Pascual’s site will put some people off. It’s a statement, after all. But then again, a portfolio shouldn’t just woo the companies thinking about hiring you. It should filter out the people you’d never want to work for in the first place.

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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