Coroflot Takes Another Flight

Core77 just announced its revamp of the Coroflot portfolio and job site. The other day I asked the Core77ers to tell me more about why this site is different from all other sites. They didn’t pass over any question.

Sample of a new portfolio page.

Core77 has been active for 15 years. Just briefly, tell me how you got started?
Well, Core77 has been going for 17 years—it started as a resource site for design students, and almost from the beginning, one of those resources was design job listings. The volume of postings kept increasing and we spun Coroflot off in 1997—so it is 15 this year. Its first version was just job postings but then we added portfolio hosting in 2000.

Coroflot reminds me of Aeroflot. Was that intentional? And what are the criteria for this service?
The name is in fact a play on the Russian airline name. At the time we liked the iconography they used, and also liked the idea of your portfolio as a tool to help your career “take flight”—your career as a journey. It also seemed to be a seat-of-the-pants operation, something which resonates with us.

Coroflot is an open system—no invites needed and no specific criteria for joining. We try to keep the platform simple and direct—essentially bring the two sides of the creative career together and let them make connections on their own. Showcasing outstanding member portfolios is the best way to illustrate how to use the site, and what kind of talent you can find here, so we put a lot of effort into reviewing and featuring great projects.

Portfolio sites seem to have considerable traction. What makes yours different?
The unforeseen (remember this was pre-Myspace, pre-Flickr) outgrowth of hosting portfolios and work was that people really used it to connect peer-to-peer. This started almost immediately and continues to fuel a large part of the activity to this day. We have members who posted work as students in 2000 and who now return to hire for their own firms and design departments. Our longevity is one of our strengths. Coroflot attracts designers looking for design careers, and we have a significant audience of creative recruiters and hiring managers that regularly use the site to source creative talent.

Sample of a new job-post page

You just revamped Coroflot. What are you hoping to achieve with this redesign?
With this launch we have gutted our backend systems and rebuilt them all from scratch. We also took the opportunity to look at our overall user-experience: completely revamping the UI, branding, and layout of the site and at the same time cutting extraneous features in order to simplify the tool-set we have on offer.

Our new design is focused on ease of use. We really worked hard to make it dead simple to use, both in publishing your work and in viewing work published by others. We put the emphasis on the visual display, and on creating a clean and uncluttered interface and navigation. We display information only when needed, which makes the site feel interactive and responsive. We’re also using a lot of modern UI elements—drag-and-drop organizations, transitions, flexible layouts, overlayed frames, and more. The result is a great looking presentation and an incredibly easy to use system.

Would you say this is the high point of online portfolios or are there more frontiers to tame?
It does seems like the online portfolio space is “hot” and has more options for designers everyday—each new site has some interesting ideas and the state-of-the-art is pushing ever forward. Having been in the game for 15 years does give us some perspective though, and when we look for frontiers to tame we are generally peering inwards, asking ourselves as designers what it is that we’d like to see and use!

Specifically, we’ll be looking at the mobile presentation and tool-set as an area of focus for us in the near future. More detailed profile information, more ways to search and find people and projects, and more ways to connect with people are all areas we intend to focus on as we move forward.

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Designers looking to hone their portfolios can find lots of help at MyDesignShop.com–in the book Creating Your Digital Portfolio, the video “Creating an Effective Digital Portfolio,” the MP3 presentation “Self-Promotion and Portfolios in the Digital Age,” and several more print and digital resources.

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