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October 8, 2013
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Profile Presentation: Tips and Tricks

Your profile page can say quite a bit about what kind of person you are, and having a well-designed profile page will help ensure that your visitors leave with a good impression of you and your work. And if you do a remarkably fabulous job at designing your profile, people will not only be impressed, but they will also keep coming back to take another look. In this article, I will go over some useful tips and tricks for making your profile look professional but also personalized! :heart:

This article is mostly directed towards Premium Members, but non-Premium members can still use some of these concepts to personalize their page.

:note: In addition, for those who are new to profile decoration, I highly suggest reading my Decorating Your Profile tutorial first, as it goes over important basics of profile decoration. 

Basic Design Concepts

Before we get started, I first want to go over some basic concepts you should keep in mind when you are designing your profile:

1. Text

If you want people to read the text that is on your profile (whether it's a short About Me section or important information about your commissions), make your text easy to read. Always make sure that there is enough contrast between the background and the text. If you are using a dark background, make sure to either use a light text color or a light-colored Content Holder. (See CypherVisor's Colored Text codes).

Also check to see if your font is too small to read. Usually using one <small> code is alright, but adding more than one makes your font quite difficult to read.

2. Browsers/Monitors

While your profile may look absolutely fabulous to you on your browser, there's always a chance it may not look so great on others. In general, most of the text and content holders look the same on the different browsers. The main thing to care about here is that Custom Box backgrounds now look significantly different on Firefox and Chrome. On Firefox, the background retains its original size, and any overflow is hidden. On Chrome, however, the background size matches itself to the size of your Custom Box Widget.

People also have a variety of monitor widths, which can greatly affect the look of your profile to other people. To ensure that your profile looks fine to all of your visitors, I suggest using wide Custom Box backgrounds (at least 800px across).

3. Content

Finally, try to keep your profile to a reasonable length. You may have an epic computer that can handle the hundreds of thumbs and gifs that you have on your profile, but many of your visitors will not. If your page does not load on people's computers (or worse, if your page crashes their internet), they will not feel particularly inclined to look at your gallery, check out your commissions, drop a comment, etc. 

One way to condense the size of your page is to use scroll boxes on your Widgets (see my tutorial for Scrolling Custom Box Widgets), but you should also think about whether you may just have too many things on your profile. :P

tl;dr What may look pretty to you may not always look pretty for your visitors! Make sure to think about how others may see your page.

Useful Codes

Custom Box Backgrounds

<div class="popup2-moremenu"><div class="floaty-boat"><br><img src="IMAGE URL HERE">div>iv><div class="gr-box gr-genericbox"><br>TEXT HERE</div>

Adding Images

<img src="IMAGE URL HERE">

Adding Linked Images

<a href="URL"><img src="IMAGE URL HERE"></a>

Floating Text/Images

<div class="al">Floating something on the left</div>
<div class="ar">Floating something on the right</div>

For more codes and info, please read CypherVisor's CustomBox + Journal Tips and Tricks.

Creating a Unified Theme

One of the marks of well-designed profiles are a unified or matching theme throughout the page. Premium Members can achieve this through using matching Custom Box Backgrounds, Content Holders, Journals, and Image Decorations

1. Add Custom Backgrounds

By far the most useful tool for profile customization, Custom Box backgrounds can create a completely new look for your profile. It is unfortunately limited by the fact that it can only be applied to Custom Box Widgets, but with a little bit of extra work and some cleverness, you can transform the drab, default green of your regular widgets into something new!


Say that I wanted to feature a few of my favorite tutorials and also have an About Me section in the Deviant ID widget. Unfortunately, my background is the default dA green, which ruins the pink theme of the rest of my profile.

Before by SimplySilent


I added this
Pink Hearts Custom Box Background to my widgets to present the same content, but in a way that matched the rest of my page. In this example, I used the same widgets (the Favorites Widget and the Deviant ID Widget) so that they stayed at the top of my page, but Custom Box Widgets work perfectly for this as well.

After by SimplySilent

For Custom Box backgrounds, browse through:

Backgrounds at DazzlingDecorations
Custom Box Backgrounds at CustomizeYourProfile

2. Match Content Holders

Using matching Content Holders throughout your profile typically makes it look neater and more cohesive. Here are just a few of the many Content Holders that you can use. To find more, browse through the Custom Box Resources folder at CustomizeYourProfile

White Content-Holder Boxes by CypherVisorBlue Content-holder boxes by CypherVisorSharp Sup Text Boxes by TaNa-JoWarning Content-holder boxes (Red N Green body) by CypherVisorLight Yellow Box by SimplySilent

3. Match Journals

If you like displaying your journals on your profile page, then it's probably a good idea to match the design of your widgets with the design of your journal. Journals also offer a much wider variety of designing than regular widgets, and if you know some CSS, you can code awesome designs and hover effects to make your page look fancy!

4. Use Images Decorations

Header Images

While you can use a few different font faces and sizes on deviantART (see LabLayers' dA Font Formatting Guide or Gasara's Basic HTML Formatting Guide), you can create a more personalized look on your profile by using your own header images. With custom header images, you can use any font in any color, shape, or size! Here are some free-to-use examples, but you can always create your own as well:

All you need is an art program that allows for transparencies and text. Save your image as a .png or .gif and upload to your, scraps, or any other image hosting site. Then use the IMG SRC code to add your header images to your widgets.

Divider Images

Repeated use of the same divider images can help create a more unified theme for your profile. Here are some examples of free-to-use dividers. To find more, browse through the Dividers folder at DazzlingDecorations.

Artwork and Profile Navigation

This is where things start getting a little more complex. You've created a nice, unified theme with your profile. Now what?

Well, if you want to take your profile to the next step of awesomeness, you could work with Artwork Directories and CSS Directories. Instead of working with regular old thumbs, buttons, or links, try your hand at something unique!

Artwork Directories

Creating your own menus and directory widgets for displaying your artwork is a wonderful way to not only show off your artwork but also give your page a highly unique and personalized look. While the Featured Deviation Widget or the Newest Deviation Widget can also display your work, making your own directories gives you a lot more freedom with your display.

Here are some examples of wonderfully designed artwork directories. Notice how these sort of displays are significantly more appealing than the regular Deviation Widgets.

Resake by SimplySilent

:iconsambees: (left) and :icontincek-marincek: (right)
Sambees by SimplySilentTincek-marincek by SimplySilent

:iconnaochiko: (left) and :iconmikaley: (right)
Naochiko by SimplySilentMikaley by SimplySilent

The above examples used Content Holders and Custom Box Backgrounds as part of their designs, but non-Premium members can create Artwork Directories (or links to Social Media sites) as well by using only images. Notice once again how these are much more interesting

:iconbunyeol: (left) and :iconmuura: (right)
Cathy2728 by SimplySilentMuura by SimplySilent

CSS Widget Directories

For those who have some experience with coding CSS, CypherVisor's hack for adding CSS to profile widgets can prove to be enormously useful for making your profile uber fancy. Here are just some examples of what you can do:

See the live version on his profile!
Cyphervisor by SimplySilent

See the live version on my profile!

New! Here's a resource and a tutorial for those who would like to create their own Profile Directories:

Make a Profile Directory v.2 by SimplySilent

Learn how to display journals in a Featured Deviation Widget. You'll have to learn how to code a journal on your own, but if you have do some experience with CSS, then I highly suggest trying this out!

Learn how to create a profile directory that links to the widgets on your page. This is very useful for those who have long profiles with a lot of different content because it allows viewers to find exactly what they are looking for without having to scroll through your entire page.

Some free, installable codes for creating one or two columns of buttons.

Examples of Fabulous Designs

Here are some of examples of well designed profiles that I managed to find. All of these use several of the design tips for a unified theme listed above, and they are also clean, simple, and easy to read.

*These screenshots are actually rather old, so the current profiles of the following deviants may look different from the images here.

:iconkawiku: Kawiku uses a very unique, pixelated background that goes wonderfully with the image on the left side. She also consistently uses the green-outlined content holders to give her page a unified look, and the leaf divider as well as the custom header images make her page pop and appear more interesting.

Kawiko by SimplySilent

:iconarichy: Arichy uses a personalized custom background with a fancy image of her username. The repeated snowflake decorations and the white custom box give her profile a very unified look, even with the deviantID image on the right whose color scheme does not match the rest of the page. The use of the blue cursive header images also add a touch of fanciness to the page.

Arichy by SimplySilent

:iconkezzi-rose: Kezzi-Rose takes a very interesting approach to her custom box backgrounds, using different variations of the same two shades of pink. This makes her profile look more dynamic while still maintaining a very cohesive theme. In addition, she uses matching custom boxes, buttons, and header images, and also includes several well-displayed samples of her own artwork.

Kezzi-rose by SimplySilent

:iconscatteredsnow: scatteredsnow does a very nice job of matching her widgets (on the left) to her journal (on the right). By using the same background for both, she ensures that her whole profile matches. The use of her own images add a touch of personality, and the repeated use of decorative borders helps make her profile consistent and matching.

Scatteredsnow by SimplySilent

:icongasara: Gasara does a fantastic job with matching her entire profile page to one color scheme. Note how she uses the Featured Deviation Widget on the left side to format her links and text using CSS. Overall, her page is not only interesting, but also very clean and easy to read.

Gasara by SimplySilent

:iconrosuuri: Rosuuri creates a very unique look to her page through the clever organization of her own images. She uses a bright and bold color scheme that is attention-grabbing and refreshing, and the overall presentation of her page is very clean, sleek, and professional.

Rosuuri by SimplySilent

As you can see, it does take quite a bit of time, dedication, and creativity to pull off a page as remarkable and unique as the ones featured here, but it can certainly be well worth your time if it keeps visitors coming back to see more!

More Resources

Here are some great groups to browse through for profile-decoration resources:

:icondazzlingdecorations: :iconcustomizeyourprofile: :iconpretty-pages: :iconcustombox:

Related Articles and Tutorials

Thanks for reading, and I hope this article was helpful for you! :eager: If you have any questions for me, please feel free to leave a comment below! :heart:

Related Articles:

PE: Decorating Your ProfileDecorating Your Profile
Your profile page is the first thing people will see when they click on your name, so it's very important to leave a good impression! This article will provide some useful tips and tricks for both premium and non-premium members who want to convert their profile into their own, unique page. First off, some Do's and Don'ts of profile decoration:
Use dA's profile widgets-- there are lots of great options to chose from
Show off some art (that's what people are here for!)
Express your personality through colors, stamps, gifs, etc.

Add so many images that your profile takes forever to load
Use garish or headache-inducing colors
Make text difficult to read with dark backgrounds
Non-Premium Widgets

While many widgets are restricted or locked for non-premium members, there are still a variety of great widgets that you can add to your profile, even without a membership.
Gallery: Featured De
PE: A Guide to Gallery CSSA Guide to Gallery CSS
Learn the basics of Gallery CSS with this easy-to-follow guide! :dummy:
In this tutorial, we'll cover:
Adding gallery CSSCoding gallery skinsSome useful resources

Adding Gallery CSS
First of all, some important facts about Gallery Skins:
Only Premium Members are allowed to add CSS to their galleriesSkins can be added to both the Gallery and the FavoritesSkins can only be added to the Gallery folders and Favorites collections (shown in the sidebar) but not the main page itself
Step 1: Click on one of your Gallery or Favorites folders in the sidebar.

Step 2: Click the button called "Folder Options" or "Collection Options."
This button is located at the top right of
Add a Comment:
MissBlackNails Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014
When my PM ends (I want to be ready and learn and practice this stuff now that I can), I want to add a background to the widgets like you did in the part creating a unified theme<add custom backgrounds<after
I love how the widgets look, I know how to put a background but I can't find how to make the things on the widget visible like you did, the problem is that when I put a background everything on the widget seems to disappear under the background. Can you help me please?
Mellemon Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
Can I ask how you figured yours out ;w; I can't seem to fix that problem also. Everything disappears underneath the background.
MissBlackNails Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
Sent you a note :)
triplet99c Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
Gee.. I am pretty confused right now... I found a background I like to use on my favorites widget and stuff like you did. I added the background, and the images are gone, just the text...

Is there anything I can do to fix that?
AMorticianToDIEFor Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am trying to redecorate my profile again, but no matter what custom box background I use I keep getting the symbol for broken links instead of the background, do you know why? :)
Giyb Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry but, I still can not know where the option to have a custom background to my widget.
DigiSprinkles Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2014  Student Digital Artist
there isn't, you just put it in the little box, and you can only add BG's to custom widgets
TheDarkXelloss Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How can I do artwork directories as a non-premium member like :iconbunyeol: and :iconmuura: did? 
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
Yes. All you need are the images and the links.
TheDarkXelloss Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Never mind! I know how to do it, I just didn't knew I could add codes in a regular text box, I though I couldn't find the code box Sweating a little.... Now that I know that, I can take advantage of what I know about coding here in DA! Thanks for writing this! it's really useful! and sorry for bothering you
Add a Comment: