You know, I hate to be that guy, but I really have to point out that this article comes across just as sour and bitter as the opinions it's trying to ridicule. I get his point: for someone who hasn't gone through the, let's say, traditional path of design education, it may sound as if anyone questioning Dribbble's effect on the design community is just trying to make the most of his own expensive (and, admittedly, often times useless) education by reinforcing the ethos that the path to the top is a tortuous and expensive one, and that there should be no shortcuts.
I'm not saying that argument isn't thrown around loosely (it is), and I'm not implying it's right (it isn't), but I still think there's a real and serious discussion to be had here, about whether or not these sort of communities are promoting the overall idea that design is a skin-deep affair. Don't get me wrong, I do not know one single designer who, given one minute to showcase his portfolio, would not choose his most visually striking work over the smart and really useful solution, that's just not as appealing and does not generate the same kind of immediate reaction. I don't see anything wrong with that, nor with the unsolicited concept redesigns of major websites we get to see every now and then. But, as responsible designers, I think we should also be promoting the idea that much of what makes a project truly successful in the real world is hidden away, and is just as important as what's on the surface. I don't think stating that fact is calling into questioning the legitimacy of popular Dribbblers, just making room for the practice itself to evolve, and for communities like Dribbble to evolve with it (even small things, like Projects, can feel like a major step in that direction).
Unfortunately, this article closes the door on that discussion — or, if it's trying to start it, it's doing so on the wrong foot —, instead portraying any designer wanting to raise any of these points as an arrogant, insufferable douche with an agenda. Too bad.
Full disclosure: I do have a formal design education, and I do have a fairly unpopular Dribbble account, to which I choose to not pay much attention, probably as a semi-conscious effort not to let it affect my personal ego. I was also born and raised in a tiny and peripheral country, barely-relevant to the global design community, and owe most of my career to on-line design networks, not unlike Dribbble.
No design education here and a reasonably popular dribbble account and I agree with you. If I ever get as bitter as that guy I'll have known this whole dribbble stuff has beaten me.
Dribbble is great for the kind of design that is all about visual impact. Ryan Hamrick is a letterer so he falls in this category. It's a kind of design where, if it looks good, it is good.
Dribbble is not good for the kind of design that requires deeper consideration for its context, like interaction design. Submissions on the site are judged based on a singular small snapshot with virtually no consideration for its meaning. As a result, users benefit from making something that looks flashy rather than something that is actually good design.
I think Dribbble is fine, as long as you only use it for designs that can stand alone based purely on their aesthetic merits.
Did you guys read the disclaimer at the bottom of the article?, if you did my reading comprehension must be awful.
No they didn't. :chuckling:
Nice work Ryan. :) I was busy writing up an angry reply before reading the disclaimer. Like many things in life, Dribbble is what you make it.
I enjoyed that. More than I thought I would.
Glad to se my satire detector passed the test :)
Yep! Other people’s article skimming skills... not doing as well.
Couldn't agree more. Great read but definitely sounds a little crotchety or sour. I haven't been on dribbble for terribly long but I always viewed as an area to show certain snippets of your art for critique & feedback. I didn't think or know it was turning into a "popularity contest". Oh well.
I'm the most sarcastic person you'll meet, but I entirely agree with Eduardo about the tone of Ryan's article and that while it does deal with the jumpers onto the bandwagon, it belittles the people who have serious opinion on the matter.
However I think both are missing one important point, that Dribbble was designed to show 'What you're working on'. It wasn't meant to show finished products and promote the idea of aesthetic dominance, it was meant as a way of getting feedback on WIP's. Which I think is important.
Two side notes; the main one being that it is of course the users who have distorted this over time and that it's not the fault of Dribbble that some people are angry. Still means that people have to think carefully and write maturely when dealing with other people's opinions.
Secondly, now that we're into the era of designing in browser or using things like Framer, does anyone feel the need for a platform to fulfill Dribbble's original goal, but for the more modern techniques and WIPs we use at the moment? Where you can get feedback not just on how it looks but how it works etc? This just occurred to me but if anyone's interested, bell me :)
Apparently necessary footer: I have a formal education in architectural design, not this kind. I've been designing in some form for money for the last 7 years, and I don't have a Dribbble account. Maybe I should have one, but I just haven't chased invites.
You raise a very valid point. I never meant to point fingers at Dribbble for not seeing its original goal through, in part because I know perfectly well that's not up to them (but to the people who actually use it) and in part because I see nothing wrong with it evolving towards something else. I just feel like there's plenty of space for a discussion on the potential consequences of placing too much emphasis on portraying design as a matter of pure visual appeal, and not so much as a serious and thorough practice, with its own set of goals and responsibilities, that often times go way beyond aesthetics.
Having said that, I not only find the idea of a potential new platform, seeking to fulfil and adapt Dribbble's original goals to the set of prototyping tools we have at our disposal now, a great idea, I'd be happy to help make it happen.
This article made me cringe. It didn't really add anything to the discussion for me.
Read the disclaimer at the bottom.
Claw hammers are ruining carpentry for me...
First thing that comes to mind; I would love to see a reaction from Dan and Rich on this subject (the dribbblefacation of design).
Great read, even though I think that paying your dues (education) was your own choice. Many have proven that they didn't need it to become great designers.
To me Dribbble It's a fad. You can live happily without it. If you have a portfolio, you can choose anything.
I've found that any potential employer or client that requires me to have a "Dribbble Portfolio" is NOT one that I'd want to work with in the first place.
As long as you don't design soley for dribbble then your work is valid in my opinion. I agree with this article to a degree but some users on dribbble unfortunately want all the hype of dribbble and work to create random selections of art to upload for likes and shares. This makes it a bit of a popularity contest. Kind of annoying but really dribbble is a cool site but if you're good enough you won't need to worry about a site like that because you'll be too busy with client work or work in general.
Read the article, I knew it was satire, thought I knew what it was going for, but it came off like both sides of this argument: angry, ranty and a bit dogmatic. This whole subject is beyond tired.
If designers put half the effort into real issues (homelessness, childhood hunger, domestic abuse) as they did into defending Dribbble's honor, then this world would undoubtedly become a better place.