Why I made the jump from Squarespace to Webflow

Making the decision to go from templates to custom

Photograph J. Kelly Brito

I created my first website in 2015. As a recent university graduate I had secured a one year working visa to America and needed to get a website up and running to showcase my portfolio to potential employers. With a traditional graphic design degree behind me, I had zero experience in coding and turned to Squarespace to sort me out. It was awesome. I was able to get a portfolio website set up pretty quickly and hey, it didn’t look half bad either. Squarespace has some beautiful templates to choose from and this suited me just fine.

My first portfolio site with Squarespace

Fast forward three years and things have changed. I’ve changed. No longer am I the girl obsessed with print design. I’m the woman obsessed with digital. Over three years my outlook and desires changed significantly and I started becoming more interested in the potentials of digital, teaching myself basic HTML and CSS and learning the principles of UI design. These steps brought me to work at a digital agency predominantly creating the prototypes and designs for responsive websites.

On reflection

A few months ago I looked at my Squarespace portfolio. Yes I had updated it with new content, but did it really reflect where I am today? The answer was no. If you design websites every day your own portfolio website should probably be designed by you as well. So I set out on my website redesign journey.

I’d previously had some experience with Webflow and loved the fact that you could create a custom experience easily in comparison to Squarespace. I spent time going through their tutorials and did a few tests to work out what my personal limitations were with the product. This was really beneficial because it meant that while I was designing in Sketch I could be thinking about how it would be built in Webflow, and that I wasn’t creating something I wouldn’t know how to build myself.

The result

With the design complete it didn’t take long to translate onto Webflow. I know a lot of people actually design straight in Webflow, but personally I can design way faster in Sketch and get the design where I want it to be before starting development. Webflow is an easy product to use — but I think only when you have a general understanding of how a website is structured. You can’t just go in guns blazing and just try to put your copy or image straight into the body. When I look at my Sketch design and the final outcome on Webflow they look pretty near identical. I’m so happy with the outcome, especially being able to easily customise between desktop and mobile. The experience is 100% how I want it to be.

My recently launched portfolio website with Webflow

Would I have been able to achieve the same design with Squarespace? Probably not. Not with my skillset at least. And if I had tried it would have taken me an astronomically long time. The customisable benefits in Webflow far exceed those in Squarespace. Is Webflow more expensive? Yes. Do I think it’s worth the cost? To have a site that looks and behaves exactly how I envisioned — yes, it’s most definitely worth the cost.

UX Designer @ Tyk. Kiwi living in Ireland | emma-campbell.com

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