A Dark Design

Part One: The Self-Portrait

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Few content strategists will tell you this. Creating your own personal website it’s a lot like painting a self-portrait.

Writing about yourself is an exercise most writers are not used to do. We avoid it like… well, the plague.

In comparison, writing someone else’s story is as easy as taking a selfie is to a self-portrait. All it takes is years of consistent practice.

I say self-portrait because that’s what I aimed for with my personal website. A self-portrait with substance, depth, context, and meaning. One in which I, the writer, am the subject.

Yet, at the same time, I wanted to be evocative, spellbinding.
Through my self-portrait, I wanted to inspire and empower self-expression and impel individuality. It was a challenging balancing act.

As a natural storyteller, the concept of a self-portrait provoked me. It challenged me to make my personal website a cohesive visual narrative. Like painting a self-portrait, this became a crucial way to connect with my own creative self. It helped me foster a greater awareness (and appreciation) of what it’s like to be the subject of a story.

This was not going to be a comfortable exercise.
During this process of connection and self-discovery, I was inevitably forced to come face to face with my fears, my discomfort… my life-long apprehension at promoting myself.

With time, I understood that these were natural and reasonable responses. I was engaging in a deep and powerful act of vulnerability, after all.

That’s why few writers write about themselves. That’s also why you see many agencies amassing an amazing portfolio… but failing at portraying their own story.

Yet, allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a crucial conduit of your evolution as an artist.

Vulnerability is a constant companion in every artist’s journey. If you’re a writer, you’re always going to be vulnerable, even if you learn to hide it.

I adamantly believe in the power and necessity of telling your own story.

Crafting my own story proved to be an act of self-love, appreciation, and gratitude. It empowered me to connect with myself and my art.

By embracing my vulnerability — and breaking through the associated fear and anxiety — I gained a deep understanding, respect, and admiration for those who choose me to tell their stories. I managed to connect and balance the focus of my story between myself and my audience.

That way, I’ve managed to connect the necessity of connecting and balancing the focus of my story between myself and my audience.

What follows is an, admittedly biased, exploration of my personal website’s visual narrative.

By the end of this series of posts — should you last that long — I hope you feel inspired to embark on an incredible odyssey of self-discovery and artistic growth of your own.

I designed this as one article covering every aspect of my creative process for this project. Since I started writing, I’ve had the toughest couple of months of my emotional life… and that’s saying a lot, given all the weirdness I’ve been through.

Dealing with uncertainty, anxiety, panic, fear, existentialism, and mortality have drained my creativity to the point that I only got few short, ephemeral bursts of inspiration and willingness to write on a day… if I’m lucky. If I had decided to wait to use these bursts to finish, this post would still be haunting me from the draft folder.

Yet, that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned with this experience.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It never will.

I’ve got to practice letting go and cutting myself some slack. On that matter, I remember reading a quote by Leonardo Da Vinci: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” At the moment, I felt that was going to be the approach I needed to take with my personal website.

Instead, I’ve found Paul Gardner has done a better job helping come to terms with my feelings towards this project.

‘A painting is never finished – it simply stops in interesting places.’

This is my design.