Pretty much was said about Dribbble and Behance, especially about Dribbble. If you are following discussions related to web design, you probably heard or read some of the complaints and biases. One of the often mentioned was elitism attributed to Dribbble. Haters were and still are complaining about the system Dribbble use to get new users. This system is invitation only. You can register, but you can’t publish your work until you’ll get invited by someone who already was invited. This politics does not apply to Behance. In case of Behance, anyone is free to join and publish his work on his portfolio. Today, I want to outline some benefits these two sites can offer you.
Before we start let’s just note that Behance is now owned by Adobe. Dribbble was created and is by well-known web designer Dan Cederholm and developer Rich Thornett. Please don’t take this article as some kind of cheap advertisement. I am not connected with any of these two sites (except having profile on Behance).
The first benefit we will tackle is actually the same thing haters use as complain. This benefit is exclusivity or you can also call it elitism. As said above, in order to be able to publish your work on Dribbble you have to be invited by existing user who already can publish his work. Simply said, you have to find pretty good designer and be able to convince him to invite you.
You can probably understand this in two ways. Be pissed off or take it as a big advantage. To explain it furthermore … If you are closer to first option, i.e. pissed off, it says something about and it is not pretty at all. The only people who might feel it this way are those unable to cope with other people skilled more than they are and also too lazy to get better. On the other hand, if you agree with option two, you might think about it to stand out and step out from the crowd. We often talked about competition on job boards and other similar sites and how dense this competition is. Now you have the opportunity to put yourself on higher level and differentiate yourself from the noise.
Usability & Simplicity
This will probably apply more to Behance. What every web designer or designer of any kind is dealing with is the aspect of having portfolio. The answer is definitely yes. How else do you want to market yourself without proving your skills? However, this brings us to another question. Location, location, location. Should you build your own website and host it on your own? Or should you use some web builder? Another option is to use some kind of online portfolios like Dribbble and Behance. It will take you only couple of minutes to create your account and publish your best pieces to show. No worries about domain name, hosting or design of the website.
What’s more, these sites are pretty big players with strong branding and position on the market. It is much easy to prove your skills by showing your art also on Behance or Dribbble with rating gave by other professional designers to your clients. Another important benefit of sites like these is their cost. When you chose your own website with domain and hosting you have to be able to pay for it. It is important to note here that any web designer and developer should have his own website sooner or later set. However, beginners may have insufficient funds or skills to get all of this done on their own. I know how does it feel like, I was there too. By creating online portfolio on site like Behance or even pineterest you can delay the need for building portfolio on your own domain until you will make some money.
Community & Feedback
What is better for anyone in any industry than to be around people working in the same field? I guess nothing. It is great to be part of community of people sharing your interest and enthusiasm. Both, Behance and Dribbble, offers you huge community to become part of and to connect with. You can think about it like LinkedIn for web industry. These communities will also provide you professional feedback. This is nothing similar to “It looks good.” feedback you get from your friends or family. Feedback provided here goes much deeper and you will be able to make eventual actions upon it.
You can also use these sites as a source of inspiration for your own projects. Every time you will feel clueless or in short of ideas, browse through artwork done by other designers on any category you wish. Don’t believe the illusion that you have to create something completely new, something never seen before. Design is not about that at all. Design is about solving a problem and most of designs created are just iterations of something else. If you take a look at various websites, sooner or later, you will spot common patterns. Design is not about reinventing the wheel so don’t hesitate to borrow individual elements and create new art by mixing them in new and better working ways. This is how good design is create.
This is not that common, but there is some chance of being hired by some of bigger companies on Behance and Dribbble. The reason for it is, as mentioned above, great market positining and high level of quality of these sites. However, don’t fall into illusion that you will nail a job immediately after publishing some work. These sites are primarily intended for designers. They are not job boards. If you are looking for being hired, you had better try sites such as Freelancer.com, Elance.com and 99designs. These are meant to connect people wanting to get hired with people wanting to hire someone.
The only question that remains is what will the future bring. Will these sites morph into something like social network, but for designers? Will they become design-focused advanced job boards? Or will they adopt some selling features and grow to marketplaces? I guess we will have to wait for this.
You may like Dribbble and Behance and may not. The opinion you will make on sites like these is your personal thing and nobody should try to convince you against your will. No matter how stupid your reasons can be. You can either take it as an advantage and motivation to grow and get better or to complain. Decide for yourself. AD
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