Bones
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Get Dunked

“A free, simple-to-use solution to allow creative folk to showcase their work.” That’s the description of the portfolio site Dunked on their homepage. They aren’t lying– it’s 100% true.“Beautiful Designs. Responsive. Retina Ready…. Create your online portfolio without learning code. For free.” Once again– no smoke, no mirrors, no bullshit, no kidding.

 

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I’ve placed three Dunked beta portfolio images in this post. The images link to the full portfolios. You can also check out the working version of the XK9 Dunked site.

Dunked went live on May Day (this past Wednesday). As of this writing, 19,523 beta testers have signed on; I registered today. Within a few hours I had assembled a nice portfolio site. I had a bit of an advantage in that I had just gathered all of the materials for the launch of the XK9 site. But any marginally organized designer or artist with digital images of their work and a familiarity with their computer can make this happen relatively quickly.

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As they say, Dunked is the product of gentlemen. Three in fact. They are Orman Clark (the designer), Gilbert Pellegrom (the Scots code monkey), and Mark “Themezilla” Southard (the builder). Mr Clark was the only one of the trio I was familiar with. He’s well-known in the world of design for WordPress. His themes (templates for sites) are among the best designed architecture for semi-pro web-building. Clark made a name for himself by giving away amazingly well-crafted illustrations, icons, and forms via PremiumPixels.com.

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This is a grand accomplishment. But as a business, it raises questions. How will they make their money? I’ve been told that it’s only free for beta testers. The site templates don’t currently allow for advertising. Perhaps they will and maybe the site-holders will share in advertising revenue? Or maybe an ad-free site will come with a small subscription fee? Or maybe there will be add-ons and upgrades, like blog tools, self-hosting options, more space, that come with fees attached. As far as I can tell, they haven’t shown their cards and their poker faces are impenetrable (especially their mascot Dutch’s ice blue stare).

If you’re considering using a host like SquareSpace or CargoCollective you owe it to yourself to give Dunked a test drive. I can say from experience that it’s light-years simpler than WordPress, and easier and less money (free) than SquareSpace.

I have a few problems with Dunked. There are variables you can adjust– colors, type, project pages– but your homepage will still resemble many, many others. This is also true of Behance, which is why I never considered joining that barrel of fish. But Dunked does a better job of showcasing the work than Behance. And my initial impression is that it avoids the appearance of an unending amateur portfolio review and the generic sameness of Behance.

Another downside, for me, is the that an artist’s work will bear the artist-name.dunked.com email convention. It’s harder to stand out in a herd. We can also become tainted by our associations. In time, Dunked may become known as something like the illustrators’ site and that might prejudice a prospective client’s impression of a given designer– in the same way an aol or hotmail email address makes a poor impression. So long as I am working as XK9, I will continue to identify my work on my own domain– XK9.com.

 

May 3rd, 2013 at 9:05 am

Wow, Thanks Bill… I’ve been dreading rebuilding my online portfolio and this is exactly the kind of simple solution I’ve been looking for the past few weeks. Hopefully they’ll make things a little more customizable as they go, but I don’t really mind the ‘sameness’ of it… at least for right now I’m more interested in displaying my work without the distraction of also having to come up with a cool site design as well. I’m gonna try it out…

May 3rd, 2013 at 9:08 am

fyi, there is a ‘Custom CSS’ box in the Customize Template area, and you can edit the default CSS style sheet also… you could go pretty crazy there if you want your site to look unique (background images and such). I can only assume there will eventually be more than one template to start with as well…
There’s also a field for your own custom url (marked ‘coming soon’), so that problem will be solved for you…

Orman Clark
May 3rd, 2013 at 9:47 am

Thanks Bill, I appreciate you taking the time to put Dunked through its paces and of course the quick review. Sounds like you enjoyed using what we have so far which is great. Hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy it as we iterate.

There are plenty of templates to come from us in the future that’s for sure. We essentially launched with just one due to time contraints. Right now we allow full editing of your portfolio’s CSS, but HTML editing is certainly on our radar. That should enable folk to avoid any “sameness”.

Custom domains are also on the roadmap. They’re a popular suggestion so we’ll be looking to add them as soon as we can.

We do have plans for monetisation but the exact details are not set in stone. As a bootstrapped company we simply couldn’t survive without some level of revenue. What we can say is that everything you have access to right now will always be free. We’ll be looking to add optional paid upgrades/features later.

May 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am

I’m all for revenue. My questions arose because I wondered how you’ll sustain such a great venture.

I was chatting with my buddy Jason about Dunked last night. I was writing this post. He was just getting to work at Google in Paris. We were add-ons, like widgets. I said, “My guess is that Clark wanted to work entirely outside the WordPress framework and create something from the ground up with his partners… Do it the way he felt it should be done.” It certainly seems like that’s what you’ve achieved.

Congratulations. Cheers to the code monkey and the builder. ;)

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