Responses by Fabio Carretti, freelance creative developer.
Background: As a freelancer, you need to know that your online portfolio is the way people see you; it’s not just a list for your work, but likely a digital showcase for people to understand who you are.
That being said, when I first saw designer Brijan Powell’s works—and his work on the Van Holtz portfolio in particular—I immediately thought, ‘Oh my god, hold the press; I must ask him to design my new website.’ And that’s basically how the story goes.
I always wanted to build something that could work as a watershed for my potential clients. My whole life has always been about being myself, no matter what, love it or hate it. With this portfolio, all these feelings were gathered and hardcoded into a digital essence. If you’ll like it, there’s a good chance we can work together. On the other hand, if you think it’s disturbing, there’s a 100 percent chance that you’ll find me unpleasant—and I’ll find you even worse.
Process: Brijan was immediately thrilled about my dark, mystic mood and started sending me some mind-blowing designs right from the very beginning of our collaboration. The creative process was basically like me giving him obscure and somber hints, and Brijan translating those into unrealistically awesome designs. We just wanted to push things forward and craft something you have never seen before. And I’d say we did it.
Favorite details: Personally speaking, I love the typography on the website. Brijan did a marvelous job combining different styles to give birth to a sick, insane—and at the same time perfect—symphony of bold words dancing in the crimson-blooded darkness.
There are also two amazing hidden Easter eggs: The first one is triggered by the "All that is hidden - becomes revealed" text, which upon click reveals—hence the label—some mystic illustrations all over the website (iArafath made the one in the hero). The last—definitely more hard to catch—starts after clicking on the “Let there be light” switch.
Funny story: the latter wasn’t planned in the first release. A few days before launching the website, I was gathering some early impressions from some friends—great pros in the industry that I trust the most. One of them, Eric Van Holtz, was like: “Dude, you should make the sun/moon icon trigger the light mode!” I was so excited about this idea that I spent the whole night implementing the feature right in time before launch.
Technology: After I tried different approaches, from something old fashioned like Wordpress to cutting-edge stuff like NuxtJS, I ended up building everything with a static HTML file while processing and compiling assets (SCSS/ES6 JS). All bundled by with a cool and simple Webpack config via the amazing Laravel Mix. Animations are obviously managed with GSAP.
I used a brand new and unreleased smooth-scroll library made by my good friend (and incredible developer) Jesper Landberg from Sweden. The whole scrolling experience really couldn’t be smoother than that.