Category Digital, Insights, Inspiration
Social networking has touched everyone I know in one way or another. These days, there seems to be a social network for any and every culture or subculture on the planet, including design and creative development. Social sharing has undoubtedly affected the world of personal and professional design–as well as all the talented designers within it. So here’s some perspective from an agency insider on how this social shift impacts our creative world:
When I think back to my college days, I remember trying to rub two nickels together to afford Print annual, Communication Arts, or any other publication that would get me up to speed on “what’s out there.” But now there’s a plethora of easily accessible resources for creative show-and-tell. Websites like Behance, Dribble and Cargo Collective can be accessed by any aspiring designer, and the proliferation of creative work has created a new design culture—one that has gone a long way in helping entry-level students learn and grow.
Feedback from an established designer goes a long way, and on the majority of these sites you can upload your work, get feedback, and compete for accolades instantaneously. This healthy level of competition has spawned a whole new outlet for creating recognition-worthy work. And it does so without any of the red tape designers had to go through before. In fact, names are being dropped now about design heroes who are recognized solely through their Dribble squares.
I recall wanting so badly to have my work featured in print. Now I hear conversations from younger designers expressing the same desire to land a featured project on Behance. And when I recently received a number of emails congratulating me on one of my Illustrations popping up on ffffound, I rushed to trace it back to the blogs that were featuring it. It was then that realized the dramatic shift that had happened: competitive creativity had been evolving right in front of me, and at rapid speeds.
It’s evident in the more recent portfolios I’ve seen that this competition has been healthy for entry-level students looking for a job at a graphic design agency. I’ve seen more good books within the last 4 years than ever before. But there’s a potential problem in all this creative sharing, too.
When you are young and you are learning, it’s common to look to a designer that you admire for inspiration. But remember that inspiration should just be the start—and don’t forget to develop your own style in the process
I’m seeing a lot of great work from young designers, but in some cases, it’s great work that looks a lot like other designers’ great work. Working so hard to match a popular style on Dribble will help you develop, but you don’t want your work to look so trendy that your portfolio won’t live past the following year. You need a well-rounded book that shows you’re able to adapt and apply various styles to the needs of a graphic design agency.
Last, but not least, remember that your portfolio needs to sell you, making you a valuable to the agency. Don’t get lost in online accolades, or creating pieces based on what will get the best reaction in the social world. Rather, maintain a balance in your portfolio that represents you, as well as what you can do for any number of clients.
Want to check out some of the great design sharing sites we’ve been referencing? Take a peek at a few of our favorites:
- Cargo Collective
- Design You Trust
- The Die Line
- Allan Peters’ Blog
- Friends of Type
- Design Work Life
- Fonts in Use
- The Cool Hunter
Did we forget any great creative sites? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us where you find your inspiration, or shoot us a question about how to put together a stellar design portfolio.