Dribbble: Show and Tell for Designers

By December 29, 2013Visual Inspiration, Web

“What are you working on?”

It’s a common question for designers. It’s not only asked by our bosses, projects managers and account execs,  but we also hear it from our clients, peers and even our spouses. Well believe it or not, there’s a social media hub for designers that asks just that, and gives you a chance to shut them all up and show everyone exactly what you are working on. It’s Dribbble – a site dedicated to UI designers, graphic designers and illustrators.

If you are like me, you are all “social media-ed out.” But what if you still want to stay connected to designers and illustrators you admire? Well, Dribbble is a social media site that may still be worth a damn. It’s a place for you to scope out what people are working on, give them a critique, and post some work of your own. It’s essentially the non-committal, instantly visually gratifying approach that Instagram has become famous for.

Dribbble Feed Example

In a nutshell, here’s are my personal likes and and dislikes about Dribbble.

The Good:

  1. Design Delivered to Your Front Door
    Discover, follow and interact with fellow artists and be inspired daily. There is a ton of killer art and design and it comes to you in an easily digestible subscription feed.
  2. Self-regulated Creative Community
    So you’re a designer eager to join? Not so fast. To post your work, you first have to be drafted by a current player. The good thing about the drafting approach is that it’s a self-regulated quality assurance for the site and its community. Players don’t get many invites, and they are judged by their draftees, so there’s actually decent quality control with the type of work and skill levels of individuals who contribute.
  3. Rebounding
    Engage with other artists and share or “rebound” off your own work to keep a path or project completion for others to follow.
  4. Finding Local Talent
    For those who actually want to move outside the digital realm, you could always go on an awkward designer’s “blind date.”
  5. You Finding Jobs and Jobs Finding You
    Dribbble allows companies to post ads for positions and even allows them to contact Dribbble users directly if they have a Pro account.
  6. Awesome Search Tools
    Dribbble search tools can help you look for specific visual themes, color schemes and tags when looking for inspiration.
  7. Like and Archive your Favorite Shots and Collections
    You can create projects and save shots to them for collections. You can also create collections of favorite shots you find on Dribbble. This is a great way to “favorite” and refer back to old artists or projects you admire.
  8. Go Pro
    Going “Pro” allows for detailed traffic stats, larger attachments on project posts, and a ‘hire me” contact button allowing scouting companies or agencies to reach out to you directly.

The Bad:

  1. The Community Isn’t Actually Critiquing
    There’s a lot of butt kissing. No matter how lame or crappy the pieces are, someone is always there to say “This is amazing!” when it’s truly not. I understand being “supportive,” but not to the detriment of the designer or the work.
  2. People Aren’t Actually Showing Progress Shots
    So much work shared on Dribbble these days is refined and complete to the point of no return. I love seeing artists use Dribbble as a peek into their process and getting feedback along the way. This allows users to interact, discover, and follow a project to completion.
  3. Pot Shots
    The “shots” are meant to be a quick peek of your work, so you literally get s 300 x 400 (or 800 x 600 for retina displays) pixel cropping or resizing of your work. Sure, you can upgrade to a pro account and unlock the ability to add attachments, but as a general user and considering the intuitive “click for a larger view” instinct we all have when browsing the web, this can be a tad frustrating.

 

So like I stated earlier, at its core, Dribbble is simply a place where artists can share progress shots of their work to get instant feedback. As a project progresses, you can actually see a designers processes, challenges and resolutions. Below is an example of what a collection of progress shots for a project may look like. This image in particular depicts the progress I shared while completing an illustration of Battle Babies’ Coptorilla.

Dribbble - Coptorilla Rebound Shots

Coptorilla – Rebound Dribbble Shots

As you can see, this progress reveals the evolution of thumbnail sketch, final pencils, painting progress and details until leading to this final shot. This is an example of the detailed view a “pro” account on Dribbble allows you to post.

Dribbble - Coptorilla Final Shot

Coptorilla – Pro Dribbble Attachment

I’ve been a member for a few years. I don’t post tons, but I do love getting my work seen and critiqued by peers and colleagues, and I always like getting inspired what others are doing.. and drooling and crying over the work that puts me to shame.

Are you on Dribbble? If so, share your profile links below. Follow me on Dribbble, and drop in to rip me a new one.

 

Justin Gammon

About Justin Gammon

Justin Gammon is an illustrator and designer with a penchant for the weird. This is clearly visible in the bizarre illustrations and animations he creates for the highly lauded and award-winning social media channels for Denny’s Diner.

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