More portfolio ethics.

More portfolio ethics.

By Dom Moreci

And while we are on the subject of ethics...

I have to say that it is really uncool when a web firm simply links out to websites in their portfolio or client list with no explanation of their involvement (or lack thereof) in that project.

There are so many facets to website design and development - planning, architecture, design, front-end production, database development, and so on - that simply listing a bunch of URL’s and linking to live websites is at best misleading. My hunch is that in most cases, it’s a dirty trick to gain credibility. The web firm or agency owes you an explanation. Maybe they simply updated the site? Maybe they just changed the flash intro? Maybe they did everything? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Now, if you’re reviewing at a top-tier firm (like Organic or Method for example) I would say you’re pretty safe in betting that when they link out to a website, chances are pretty good that they were responsible for the whole deal. It’s interesting to note however that the bigger firms don’t do that. They opt for case-studies and “real” portfolio entries with explanations of their involvement and effort. In fact it’s in a firm’s best interest to take time to share their process, or explain how they solved the problem with their breakthrough creative and team of talented branding pros.

You know, show their work.

If the agency you are reviewing doesn’t take up even a line or two to tell you what they did, how great they are, or how awesome their solution was, you should ask yourself why.