My corner on the internet
New portfolio! Releasing the 5th version of my personal website.
Check the website at martinjancik.me
2022 is the year of fives. As I’m approaching my fifth year at Kiwi.com and we are organizing the fifth edition of Global Travel Jam, I freshly finished the fifth redesign of my personal website.
Going back, I deducted that I had published my first portfolio 9 years ago. Over the iterations, I realized that consolidating my track record into a website became a mental exercise for me. I will bring you closer to my thinking behind the latest version in the paragraphs below. Let’s start at the beginning – brainstorming the 5.0 concept.
As hinted in the 2021 recap, the central theme is – My corner on the internet. Creating a place that doesn’t scream self-promo but can be used as a crossroad in my life. Express in the simplest essence my consistency, organization, and progress. A place to gather all the milestones while showing my personality. A view into an essential, minimalistic person who changes his grey sweatshirt for a black T-shirt from time to time.
As I was thinking about this direction, I found inspiration in my daily work. Recently, I have been hiring a lot for our design team and therefore reading through resumes. A CV (or resume) became the inspiration artifact when sketching the website. It is simple, fast to read, aimed toward clarity and common understanding. Structured the same as I want my website to be. The concept seemed flexible enough to address the key issues I faced with the previous version.
During the lifetime of the 4.0 website version, I tried to work on its flaws, but the version had a couple of significant conceptual shortcomings.
Responsive version was an afterthought. It was visible that the design had been created desktop first. It is challenging as Webflow, the ecosystem I use to develop the website, uses the desktop breakpoint as a baseline. With 5.0, I spent more time in Figma tweaking the mobile layout to ensure I was not biased during the development.
Old website contained content I had not updated regularly. The website had sections that were important in the storytelling of who I’m. Especially the after-hours page of my previous website showed me beyond the design world. Unfortunately, this content has been clunky to update, and I struggled to keep it relevant. Going forward, I had to streamline how to show myself as a person primarily by linking outside of the website. For example, my Instagram running diary.
The teachers taught us that the best resumes are one-pagers. Nobody is going to read a long CV. I took this as a challenge and tried to center the website into a single main page.
With all the simplification, the website had become a pdf document. It didn’t express me as a creative visual thinker. Therefore, I introduced small visuals that don’t interfere with the website’s core content but bring sparkly moments of joy to the reading. This led me to re-tweak the headline letter spacing a couple times and introduce subtle CSS animations across the website. One example is the current mission section which has a recording animation. To illustrate, it is going live – happening right now.
The font selection stayed the same as in all my previous versions – Work Sans. I kept it as it provides me almost unlimited flexibility. At the same time, its personality fits nicely with the idea that this website is about hours of grinding.
I decided to switch my main domain. Starting this version, the default domain is martinjancik.me. However, the redirection from mjancik.com will work. There is a simple reason. I don’t consider this website’s primary use for business .com (company). This is a personal site about .me.
Showcasing case studies on design leadership is a challenge. Many times I don’t produce clear, tangible outputs. The leadership role comes with many hats. On any particular day, I can be a strategist, politician, scout, manager, designer, just to name a few. With this in mind, I selected projects that show my contribution in various areas. A product design case study, my personal managerial framework (coming soon), an event I have been organizing for the last couple of years, and the current operations of the team I lead.
I can guarantee that 2 years from today, I will look at this website and ask myself: “How could I have done this? I need to rework it into a new 6.0 version.”
I continually strive to evolve as a design leader and person. It comes with a side effect that new, previously invisible shortcomings appear before my eyes. The only thing I can do is embrace it. Tell myself that to do a 6.0 version in the future, I first needed to release this. It is not about the release but the mental exercise behind it—an exercise to be honest with myself at this time and at this moment.
A note for future MJ: I’m so sorry I did this; I tried my current best.
List of great designers whose portfolios inspired me:
I have exciting news to share: You can now read People Over Pixels in the new Substack app for iPhone.
With the app, you’ll have a dedicated Inbox for my Substack and any others you subscribe to. New posts will never get lost in your email filters, or stuck in spam. Longer posts will never cut-off by your email app. Comments and rich media will all work seamlessly. Overall, it’s a big upgrade to the reading experience.
The Substack app is currently available for iOS. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can join the Android waitlist here.