I have never been loyal in any sense to a particular blog or community. I sort of stick with the blog until it begins to churn out the same thing, and in the end, many of them end up doing this. Also, most of the resources that I rely on for information have been replaced by Twitter anyway. It’s immediate, I don’t have to go anywhere and spend time looking for something relevant or interesting. But now even Twitter at times seems to be a place where there is a lot of fast food content: It’s quick, cheap (doesn’t cost much time), and leaves you feeling satisfied for a short term, but with no real nutritional value for the mind.
Well that has all changed in recent months with Drawar and Dribbble. I have have found myself visiting these two design communities a lot lately. What I love about what they offer, is a real sense of community. I can’t say I’ve really ever found anything close to that in other sources online. Or maybe the design community as a whole wasn’t mature enough at that point to handle them. Many times when I think community I just see a place overrun with a lot of trash talk and useless banter that seem to bring it down. It’s always fun to read the comments when it’s not about you. I’ve had the experience of a few nasty comments (on articles I’ve written). Not to say that I can’t take it, or don’t want criticism, but it needs to be constructive and not some cheap shot.
Drawar is a comfortable place to hang out. What I mean by comfort is that I feel like I am amongst people who care about making the design community better. I can read through the comments in Drawar and likely find very little flaming cheap shot comments. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen anything on Drawar except people having some intelligent and respectful conversation. The topics are interesting, and I actually care about what is being said there. What I especially love is that I can really see the way other designers think and get a sort of in the trenches view of something they’ve experienced.
Dribbble offers a new perspective. I think the way we grow is partly through changing our perspective. It’s how you discover new ways of thinking. A lot of people think the pizza joint down the street is the best in the world, until they go to the actual best pizza joint in the world, which likely isn’t in their neighborhood. I think that true growth comes when you can look at something completely free from your frame of mind. What I love about Dribbble is getting a glimpse at another designer’s canvas and seeing the design iterations (they call them ‘rebounds’). It will be interesting to see what happens once it goes public and if the quality of sharing stays up there.
In my opinion, these are two of the best sites out there for designers. I can only hope that other design resources and communities can begin to shift this way.