Do you design or you dribbbalise? Yes, that is one question designers need to ask themselves while drooling on Dribbble. To summarise, Dribbble is an online community where designers upload their artwork. Every page is nice and stunning. It is social media exclusively for designers. If you are using Dribbble just for inspiration, it might be good for you but the same is not true for portfolio building. Want to know why? Let us take you on a ride.
What exactly is Dribbble?
Dribbble is an online community and social networking platform for designers to showcase user-made artwork. It is a self-promoting place where designers form a community, do meet-ups for enhancing and displaying their creative designs. The platform is widely used to promote graphic designing, web design, illustrations, animation, logo design, photography, different iterations, etc.
The platform has been awarded twice as one of the fastest-growing companies of America, making it a viable option compared to other alternatives such as Behance. Being an online social media networking platform, it has still not reached its potential as it is authentic and simple but at the same time, it throws immense light to the designing community. It has definitely contributed to the growth and networking of them.
“Being an online social media networking platform, it is still non-Facebook as it is authentic and simple but at the same time it gives a range of exploring opportunities to designers.”
Is Dribbble right for the designer portfolio?
Some reviews say designers on Dribbble optimize their designs merely for looks i.e. for pretty-looking pictures, graphics, and animations. Being more visual-oriented than process-oriented, this ‘cool’ community uses the slang “dribbbalisation of design” for their work. A true designer may see various reasons for being skeptical about the platform.
“Being more visual-oriented than process-oriented, this ‘cool’ community uses slang “dribbbalisation of design” for divergent and unique designs they create.”
5 Reasons Why Dribbble Is Not An Ideal Place For Designer Portfolios
Missing Client Orientation
Dribbble being a community networking platform is becoming a place where designers tend to impress their friends and community members. They are hypnotized by the beautiful pixels, grids, styles, and fonts for creating something trendy, cool, or aesthetic. They do not take into account the use of real data and solving real problems.
What designers really work for is businesses and branding, working under the constraints of companies and their problems. For instance, brands want to sell. They are concerned with how they display the product on the web, however, the main goal is to make the company grow and sell. This core purpose has been undermined by digital designers on Dribbble.
It also brings into the picture the element of lack of professionalism. The motivation for designers is to look cool rather than being more company/brand’s mission-oriented. So, the Dribbbalisation is worrisome for companies/brands looking for high skilled designers capable of solving the product design issues.
No display of the process
Designers while creating a product design go through phases. They plan about how their project should look like, then they do the structuring and detailing. They compare UI components and plan how users will interact and use them, then at the end they do the artwork i.e., the colors, visuals, grids, etc. Again, being a social media platform, these details are not focused upon that HOW a designer created a particular style or design. For clients, it is important to understand the process and the manner of working of the designers they hire. It is about the specifics which is a part of work ethics.
Superficial designs pomp & show
It is no harm in taking inspiration and applying it to design for creating something unique or pleasing. What designers really have been doing on Dribbble is using similar UI/UX designs. They change a bit of pixel, animations, and illustrations, and tada: you have the same design in a different looking visual. This is a major reason for brands being skeptical about designers on Dribbble. Now people may call them artists for repetitive styles but not designers or creators. Designers indulge in solving unique product design-related issues companies offer them to solve in a specific way. Creating new art forms is styling and not designing. Hence, companies look for problem-solving and decision-making skills in a designer who can manage to handle different design issues as well as organizational needs.
Social media of designers
Dribbble is more like Instagram for designers. They ‘post’ their creative work to seek more likes and comments just like on Instagram. For attracting projects and clients, a designer has to showcase the best of the work. However, the ‘posting’ on dribbble is not so for this specific purpose. It is a contest in which the best art wins. The shots posted aren’t elaborative and they do not talk about the way a designer works, what all skills he/she possesses, what software and apps they have been contributed to, and so on.
It can harm the designer’s overall impression of being not up to the mark in front of the clients who could offer potential projects. The employer may see the average work designer did for fun and read the comments or may even see the same animation used by someone else. Thus, it is not the best platform for portfolios. Also, they charge designers for featuring the work to networks. The invites of the platform are also hard to get. Again, it is worth it if someone is looking for selling but not for being in trend.
“It is like a contest in which the best art wins. The shots posted aren’t elaborative. Creativity and aesthetics are good but not a top priority for a designer.”
Dribbble is a platform where only the final result is displayed. The rough work of a designer is what speaks. The flowcharts, rough diagrams, and table, different iterations tried by the designer is where the real work happens. The real context of product design is not clarified on Dribbble when you scroll through details of a particular design.
Product architecture works in a structured form. There is a particular framework on how a design is reached upon. The process is built through policy and framework norms set by big social media giants. Creating constraints and having a vision are important to the process phase rather than final pdfs and pngs. The technicalities of product design get lost that way which is sad news for the companies as well as the future of designing.
For a good and decent portfolio, designers need to display the sketches, weighing of pros and cons on a design, prototypes illustrating animations and interactions, the clarity on context of a product design, basically their best of skills. Best of designs and product creations. Portfolios are enhanced through this.
Thus, dribbble is a good platform for enlarging designing circles and networks, creating communities of different ideas and connecting with them, improving creative skills, and for “inspiration”. But designers must understand where to use it and not get obsessed with beautiful visuals alone. This superficial design and creativity wouldn’t help in problem-solving. Thus, clarity on optimization for the ‘cool and happening’ must not be the goal for designers. The goal is much bigger and to reach there, there shouldn’t be shortcuts!