Is it important for designers to have a strong personal presence online to support their brand?
Each to their own. I don’t feel any pressure to conform to a certain kind of online presence.
I do think it's very important, and to do it in a way that stands out. Counter intuitively, one of the things we learn at RISD is how important print is. We all go into RISD with a Squarespace website, and you kind of assume you're never going to have to print out a photo in your life and they quickly tell you that you're wrong, that we're not critiquing the photos on a projector and you have to learn to interact with the work in physical form. But I do think just presenting your work in a way that's engaging and will attract someone to your website is definitely important and it's a really good way to get gigs, too.
I’m not so sure this is that important, actually! Personally, I don’t pay it much mind. I still have no real use for Twitter, Linkedin is perplexing at best, and my Instagram account is private. Still, I think any of these platforms are a great jumping-off point, and they are incredibly important for some! If you’re visually-inclined (I’ve no real aesthetic to speak of, honestly), then Instagram can be a portfolio of sorts. It’s an instantly-redeeming way to connect with like-minded people. For me, email has been the greatest utility of online presence. I love to reach out, via email, to those I admire within the industry. It’s a great way to reach out directly and get questions answers regarding career paths and job responsibilities.