Understanding the meanings of a portfolio and designing one
Photo of outer space Let us shake hands before we part ?   said Venice on Ponte dell'Accademia

Containerization of self

This might sound a bit existential, but what is a presence? Is it providing an agency to become a part of a discourse or just an observer? To participate in the norms of this place where we are present? If we are present, say somewhere, is it necessary to make our presence felt? By interaction, exhibitionism, or finding a place in the hierarchy of that somewhere? Then why should we be present at so many places ? What is it that we seek from our presence in these many lands?
These question of a multiple presence has always troubled me. I have been *present* online for about 8 years now and offline for about three times more. As many, I move to the online presence in search of things it has made me addicted to. One of those things is "reach". I can engage with many unknown presences through this containerized self, I present online. This has helped me evolve my ideas and learn and contribute to new ones. These digital artefacts can travel longer that my physical self. This may not have been possible otherwise. But as we control our presence, we have the opportunity to construct several. I will let you wrap your heads around the idea and jump quickly to a specific part I am more interested in talking about.

Where does the true self lies in these containers ? As I unwrap this thought, I would only like to talk about two aspects of these containers – expression and conformal nature. I will be rather brief to respect your time and the warm cup of tea I have.
The way we express a part of our true self, unfortunately, seems to follow the norms of the "medium". It seems to be written for easy consumption (Hemingway lines, story, structure) and greater impact (what people want to listen, what I want from them). I doubt it is a hearts out expression. Pardon my amateur philosophy, but it written more to conform rather than create space (if there is). This compulsion to conform sometimes constrains expression. This worries me the most about writing online (Metrics, claps, likes, followers) But that does not sound as terrible as "New Speak". This shared "aesthetic" is the language everyone understands. It is just not the same. So, where do I "heart out" publicly:
Telegram self-chat > concerned friends > Twitter > Blog
But not this portfolio.
This is the portfolio representing me. Not my portfolio.

Portfolio as a transactional being

Let me state with a brief a few things about my online presence containers. I started a blog to share class notes in college, then as I was learning new things in electronics I wrote a blog to share my findings with the community, then as I discovered the limitations of wordpress and made my own blog in jekyll. I have modified that to make it look like a portfolio of sorts. But somehow, it was missing prevalent aesthetics expected from a portfolio. In a world where the opportunity one gets are more dependant on one's presented self rather than true self, it is difficult to communicate beyond a few good friends, without sitting on this "vehicle of aesthetics".
There are several places I wanted to work but I could not get past the gate-keepers as I was cycling and not ridding this "vehicle of aesthetic". Then there is a "precarity" we face in this design world of ours. A "move fast, break things" world, said no design teacher ever.

So, for the last 104 hours, I have been working on this website you are looking at. As a habit, I did research on what is the best way to show things. There are several posts on telling you how to make the best portfolio online. I read a lot of them, uncomfortably, saying that is not me. But then I heard things like "recruiters have many options, they want it in a "particular" way. Hence, you will see a welcome message and containers you would expect but there are some things that are different.

This portfolio is a transactional being.
It is me sitting on this "vehicle" and saying 👋. Go to the homepage and notice the title of the tab if you switch to another page. It wants you to listen to it. The page adapts to the country the viewer is in. It tries to greet you in words you may understand and expects your friendship.

That is a brief philosophical colophon, now let us talk about the design one.


I wanted the portfolio to respect the use of type and space. It must be very readable (max 65-70 chars per line) as it presents a lot textual content. Accessibility is on top of my agenda. I tried to follow the things Massimo Vignelli talks about in his book – Vignelli Canon. So I started working on a few mockups in Figma.
Then shared them with friends to get their feedback. I noticed that they felt it is a portfolio and not a blog. But as I progressed from feedback to feedback, I realized that the design was getting cleaner and cleaner. My friends asked me a lot of "whys" and I dropped and changed elements when I could not answer.

The font i choose is a default system font. Nothing special. I try to follow gestalts to establish relationships and keep the type-scale consistent. I follow a thumb rule called "123" – 1 font , 2 weights, and 3 sizes. It serves me well on most pages.

To develop this portfolio, I used a "utility first" CSS framework called "Tachyons". Tachyons is very nice and was well suited for the webpage I had designed. The type-scale is decent and the framework is easy to get around. The better part is it kind of handles the responsive part on its own mostly. Some parts like conditional hiding had to be implemented separately.
To populate content in the page, I use Vuejs. It helps me manage the presentation and data separately from each other. I use some HTML5 DOM APIs like page visibility to build the transactional page title.

I am grateful to friends who gave feedback on this. They were : Salik, Ester, Suyog, Gustav, and Felipe. Thanks to reddit users: luxuryUX, chandra381
I present the progression in design through images.
In the end, I hope you like it. If not, please send me feedback.

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Made by Rohit using Tachyons, Vuejs, and some "Pipas con café". You are reading the Colophon. 🙏