Dribbble is a community of designers and creative people, like yourself, who share their work via small screenshots of their work. Not just for design inspiration, Dribbble lets users connect to design colleagues all over the world, share knowledge, find collaborations, and of course, flaunt their skills. And yet, like many a social media fairytale, Dribbble offers amateur and professional designers alike something much, much more valuable: The chance to get noticed by someone who matters.
This article will take a look at what makes Dribbble so useful to web designers, and how best to use it. Enjoy the read, and as always, your comments are welcome.
As its name suggests, Dribbble loves the energy that sports instills in people – a mixture of competition, fun, and speed. Sports jargon is employed throughout: Once you sign up, you will be referred to as a player, and the screenshots you submit will be referred to as shots. For those of you who are wondering, shots are WIP images (or previews) of your work. You can submit rebounds, replies to other shots, in order to get communicating with other people and receive feedback.
Just like trying out for a team, Dribbble are serious about the quality of the work present on their site. More than just a simple sign-up sheet, users will have to go through an invitation and screening process before they can join the platform. If you are looking to post shots on the network, you have to be drafted by a member. This model ensures that the standards of designers and the work posted is never compromised.
In order for the user base to grow, Dribbble periodically sends invitations to existing members so they can invite other people. The majority of the invite process takes place on Twitter. Members usually announce that they have invitations and interested candidates can then contact and worthy applicants get it in. If you are looking for invitations from Dribbble on Twitter, you may want to keep watch on the hashtag #Dribbble. You will always have something or the other going on.
This vetting program has its kinks. Dribbble’s creators are in the process of streamlining their invitation process, but for the meantime you’ll have to go about things the old fashioned way, with helpful nudges and a favour or two from your friends.
How to Get an Invite
If you do not have a friend working on Dribbble, your best choice would be to create an online portfolio that showcases your work.
If you’re worried about getting into Dribbble and can’t manage to score an invite, you can still sign up as a prospect. This will show that you’re serious about joining the community and there are higher chances of you getting drafted. Once you’re done creating your profile as a prospect make sure you add your photo, bio, location, skills, and most importantly, a URL to your online portfolio. You would also be wise to follow people and if you like something make sure you hit LIKE – interaction is everything on Dribbble.
If you sign up as a prospect you will become visible to the existing members. Existing members can draft you directly from your prospect membership by hitting the “draft” button. If you’re lucky enough to get drafted, you will receive an email with an invitation that you can choose to accept or reject. If existing members are looking for prospects, they can visit the prospect list page.
When it comes to your prospect profile, the key is to keep it populated. Think of it as your online resume: make sure that your bio and your posts are up to date and reflect your skills. If you want to invest in a PRO page, you can also take advantage of the “find designers” page, which will help prospective clients and members to find your great work.
If you’ve managed to score an invite you have now become a player. This will allow you to upload shots of your work and also interact with other members of the community. Dribbble only allows you 24 shots in a month, which is limited to 5 shots in a day. You should also know that if you have unused shots they will not accumulate month to month. For example, if you have used only five shots in one month don’t make the mistake of thinking that the remaining 19 shots will be added on to the next month’s 24; starting the next month, your previous month’s 19 shots will go to total waste. Make sure you use your shots wisely, and most importantly make sure you use all of them. You should also know that you can post shots by means of uploading an image in a JPG format, GIF format or a PNG format. The sizes of these pictures can have a maximum resolution of 400×300 pixels, which can be cropped within Dribbble. Dribbble will post new shots on their debuts page, and if your shot by any chance becomes very popular it will be displayed on the popular page.
A rebound is pretty much comparable to a comment on Facebook. It is a reply to another shot and it is the way in which members can link two shots together.
Projects and Buckets
Projects are another way to gain exposure on Dribbble. If there is a particular theme going on, you can create projects in order to accumulate different shots in that particular project which relate to the theme. If, for example, you are working on a web design project, you can group shots from web design into one singular project. Buckets on the other hand, are basically groups of different shots. Any and all members can create buckets.
If you’re looking to get the most of Dribbble, you would be wise to sign up for an upgrade to a PRO account, which will only cost you $20 a year, or $1.67 in a month. The following are a few benefits of a PRO account:
- You will be able to create projects and collect shots with reference to a particular theme.
- You will be able to find different designers based on skill or location.
- If you have normal account you will be able to send 5 messages per month in order to communicate with other members. A PRO account will lift this limitation.
- You can also organize different members into public or private lists.
- A badge that says PRO will appear on your avatar and on your network.
- If a firm is looking to hire someone, they will primarily look for PRO members. A PRO member will also be able to display a ‘hire me’ button on their profiles.
When you start getting the hang of the network, you will notice that you have the ability to invite other prospects into the network. This is also a great opportunity for you to get more exposure, especially through Twitter.
The jobs feed is very important for you to keep an eye on. This feed will let you know if there are any hiring going on in your location. You can even subscribe to the RSS feed of the jobs page.
If you are looking to gain more exposure, make sure you keep finding new players, then follow and engage with them. The primary form of engagement that you should use his liking their shots or even submit a rebound. You can also tweet their shots or link to them. This will help you gain more followers more contacts. If you are posting a shot please do not forget to tag it, because that will make it easier for other members to search.
Rebounds are a great way to generate interest and connect with other members on the network. You can also use rebounds in order to start a project and connect additional images as the project progresses. Rebound shots are visible on the playoffs page.
The interface offered by Dribbble is very easy to use and it allows the designers to display their work comfortably at their own convenience. The network furthermore includes only high quality designers and is very user friendly. If you are willing to give enough time to the network you will definitely get the value out of it.