Earlier this month, the popular online portfolio platform 4ormat underwent a rebranding and relaunch.
Since 2010, Toronto-based 4ormat—now Format—has been the choice for tens of thousands of creative professionals across 125 countries. Showcasing work is a vital part of every creative’s business and life, so the platform becomes an extension of what the person does. Like a suit for a businessman, the webpage needs to look good and feel good.
Many web-building applications have immerged on the scene since then, and users are beginning to identify new demands: mobile flexibility; fluid, clean and speedy presentation and enhanced managing features. Format, of course, is all about accommodating those needs.
“Our goal was always to run a sustainable business,” Lukas Dryja, CEO of Format, told Techvibes, “and by having that goal, we needed to innovate everyday, so that we are building the best product possible.”
Still Format stresses the importance of customizability and simplicity, understanding that most photographers, illustrators, painters and artists aren’t fully capable of designing, building and managing a website without a little handrail to guide them.
“Late last year we reviewed every interface inside our app. Based on our findings we decided the best solution is a fresh start,” said Dryja. “Basically, we looked at the entire system holistically and designed the solution that appealed to users as well as provide a framework for us to use down the road.”
Format prizes itself by having a shallow learning curve and an easy to grasp usability. Users begin by selecting a theme, a style in which the work will be displayed. It could be a slideshow, an album of thumbnails or an interactive scrolling feature. Included in the interface is the theme editor, a feature that enables users to fine-tune detailed elements of the portfolio. Not only is the background and colour customizable, but also the size of images, how visitors interact with the content and what the padding, spacing, etc. looks like when published. And all that is accessed through a simple drag-and-drop design that makes adding and modifying works quick and easy.
“The need was always to create a professional website,” said Dryja, “and the way that someone would have to get there—previously to Format—was a very long and rigorous process. With Format, someone can have a website up in five minutes. And that was the unprecedented jump for people.”
So how does Format balance the demand for more customizable features and the straightforwardness of the application? That is a question the team at Format ask each other, and that is the fine line the design-oriented company walks on a daily bases.
Artists are known to experiment and try new things, and Format is taking some inspiration from their users. The platform’s relaunch, coinciding with the rebranding and redesign, is a wonderful reminder of what artist, entrepreneurs and designers can do when they all work together to present truly moving works and create new standards across all industries.