8 top social media platforms for artists and designers: Dribbble

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Launched in 2009 by Dan Cederholm and Rich Thornett, Dribbble was never intended to be a straightforward portfolio site like Behance. Its specific angle was about teasing out small glimpses of what you were working on, when you were unable to share the whole project.

Dribbble has since evolved beyond web and mobile app design to take in icon design, branding, animations, prototypes, illustrations, graphic art, and other disciplines. But there’s still a focus on informally sharing small screengrabs (known as ‘Shots’), rather than setting out big and detailed images in an organized and carefully annotated way.

As Albuquerque-based web designer Jack Harner puts it: “Dribbble feels more like a community than a portfolio site.”

That doesn’t mean it’s just designers talking to designers, though. The platform now actively helps companies such as Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Dropbox and Slack to hire designers, and many clients use it to find people to commission.

“Dribbble has been a great platform for us to generate new business especially within the tech industry,” says PJ Richardson, partner at Los Angeles design studio Laundry. “Very graphic and illustrated work seems to play the best, but we’ve also gotten new clients because of what we post there as well.”

For others like Nicola Jones, aka Hello I’m Nik Design, Dribbble is a place for posting work that doesn’t fit in your main portfolio. “This is where I put my personal project illustrations, which is something I’d like to do more, so if I ever get any illustration inquiries I point them there. Illustration is more of a side thing for me, as I do brand and marketing design before all that for clients.”


ANALYSIS

Dribbble seems to offer designers the chance to show more process work, and track their progress which can be beneficial in a number of ways.  Artists are encouraged to share work before it is finished which can relieve the pressure associated with releasing a finished project everytime. This allows others to comment and share feedback on the artist’s progress, while also showing clients how the artist works through their ideas.  At the same time, this can offer rising talent the opportunity to see how to improve their own work in a deeper manner.

This would be an interesting concept to take into the music making world.  There are, however, many cases already where artists show their work earlier than intended and/or their process.  Two examples are: 1) Kenny Beats’ the Cave, where he invites artists to his home studio to craft a song in as little as 10 minutes, and 2) Jai Paul’s album, “Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones),” which was originally leaked unintentionally, but then left as is because of the positive reception from fans.

Lastly, Dribbble is described as a community more than a place to cultivate portfolio which may be valuable for the forging of deeper relationships between artists and clients.  It was also mentioned that, “Dribbble is a place for posting work that doesn’t fit in your main portfolio,” which may offer artists an opportunity to receive new commissions and tap into an industry they may not currently have access to.