Course Description
ARTSTUDI 4 – Technology for Artists:
Website Design and Portfolio Construction
Spring Quarter 2011, Fridays 1:00-4:00pm, EMA lab , 2 units, no lab fee, Instructor: Megan Miller

A crash-course in website design and development, in which students will create a high-quality digital portfolio and learn hands-on technology skills. We will be working with the Adobe Creative Suite software, Dreamweaver and Photoshop, and affiliated technologies/softwares. Students will learn basic design and coding skills (HTML and CSS), trends and strategies in design and digital representation, and create their personal portfolio website. Aimed at students (undergraduate or graduate) in any visual, written, or performing arts, including photography, film, music, painting, creative writing, dance, drama, drawing, and computer arts.


How to Apply
This course has a limited number of spots. If you are interested in taking this class, please apply using the online form.

Apply by March 1, 2011 to be considered. Decisions for the course should be made within the week following the deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact Megan at meganem@stanford

Click here to apply


About the Instructor
Megan Erin Miller is Communications Manager for the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa), a freelance web designer/developer, and an MFA candidate in Web Design / New Media at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Megan designed and co-taught the inaugural TFA course in winter quarter 2009 (then known as Technology for Artists and Writers), which morphed into a four-day spring break intensive workshop in 2010. This year, the course has been listed in the Art and Art History Department, and pending its success, will hopefully become part of the curriculum for future years.


How to Apply
Download the Syllabus (PDF)

The Goal of TFA
The goal of this class is to teach the basic skills needed to build your own portfolio website. We will be using the Adobe Creative Suite software, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. You will be learning HTML and CSS coding languages, strategies for using social media to your advantage, and best practices for creating and maintaining a successful online portfolio that represents you and your creative work.

Each week we will cover a lot of material. It is essential to complete all assignments in order to apply what you are learning in the class. Assignments will be listed online at the TFA website week-by-week.

Lab Time
We will have a weekly additional lab time of 1-2 hours where our TA will be available to help you on your projects. Lab time will be scheduled together in class to find a time that works best for the most students. We will also have a significant amount of lab time in class depending on the week.

You must take this course for 2 units. You can take it for credit/no credit or letter grade. You will be graded on:

  • Attendance and Participation [20%]
  • Assignments [50%]
  • Final Portfolio Website [30%]

Required Materials
Please have the following materials ready for class:

  • USB thumbdrive, at least 1GB
  • Collection of your creative work that you want to showcase in your online portfolio – images, text, video, audio, etc.

In order to work outside of the EMA lab (which you will not have unlimited access to), you will need the following software:

  • Adobe Photoshop (CS3 or higher preferred)
  • Adobe Dreamweaver (or other HTML editor)
  • Fetch (optional – for transferring files to your webspace – can download for free at

You most likely can find this software on any residential cluster computer, or at the Meyer Media Lab (2nd floor of Meyer Library).

Alternatively, you might consider purchasing the Adobe Creative Suite, as you get a sweet discount while still a student and CS5 is awesome.

Course Outline
The class will be divided into three segments:

Weeks 1–2: Structure

  • Your portfolio concept
  • List of content
  • Information Architecture
  • Wireframes

Weeks 3–4: Design

  • Moodboards + Style Tiles
  • High-fidelity comps
  • Final design

Week 5–9: Code

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Converting design to code
  • Site template construction
  • Building out your site
  • Social media, plug-n-play web solutions
  • Site maintenance strategy

Week 10: Final Presentations

  • Final presentation of portfolio websites

Valuable Skills
This class will teach you the basics of several valuable skillsets – website design, Photoshop, and website development (the code) – that you will need in your personal and artistic endeavors, as well as (very likely) your future career and employment opportunities.

The only way for you to really learn these skills is to apply them in real-time as you are learning them. That is why it is essential to stay on track throughout the quarter as we cover various topics.

As you go, think about how you could apply these skills to other areas of your life – your student groups, your internships, your creative projects. The more you can try out your new skills in a real situation, the better.

You will find that basic technical and design skills are highly sought after in the "real world" and I hope that the TFA foundation can be something you build on in the future going forward.

Many excellent resources have been collected for you on the TFA website

Learning on your own
When you leave TFA you will no doubt have many questions and desires to learn more. The web and your peers are your best resources. Remember to Google search when in doubt, or refer to TFA links, trusted websites, or