Why I love the Design Community & Industry

Choosing what career path you wish to take is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life. And people take a lot of things into consideration when choosing their job, but did you ever stop and think about what the community around your job choice might be like, and how that could effect your choice.

Without doubt the Design community is one of the most unique industries to be a part of, what other profession would you see professionals going out of their way to make a tutorial of how to do something and make it public for all of their “competitors” to read and learn from. It’s a strange logic, but one that makes sense and ultimately creates a community and industry that is always moving forward and evolving together. 

I’ve put together a list of my top 10 reasons why the design community is such an amazing and diverse place, and why I love being a part of it.  *The links & examples I give are only there to support my points, and are not the main focus of the article. 

01. Freebies

A word which a lot of people love to hear, it is something which you find a lot of in the design community. Giving something away for free to other designers to help them improve their own work and profession is rare in many other jobs. But in the design community designers love creating things for other designers and giving top quality products away for free.

Here are some of my top Freebie Picks:

Silk Icons 

Function Icon Set (128 Free Icons)

Agregado: A Free WordPress Theme

30 Sites to Download Free Stock and Royalty Free Images

Tutorial9: Dirty Spray Brushes

02. Sharing Information & Knowledge

The design community is very geared towards making the industry and community better, this explains why it’s very easy to find yourself getting involved in the design community, and start learning some tricks of the trade in all aspects of the industry. There’s tutorials on all sorts, everything from finding clients & managing your work to creating big elaborate graphic design pieces and tutorials going into great detail on all aspects of web design & development. Being part of a community that is so willing to share tips tricks and information is quite a privilege, and while the information is out there it would be silly not to take advantage of it, there is always something you can pick up from any tutorial (even if the end result isn’t always mind-blowing)

Great examples to show what I mean:

Tutorial9

PSDTuts

PSDFan

VECTORTuts

Photoshop Star

All of these not only have a great focus on tutorial and education, but there is also a great community around them, providing feedback and allowing other people to share further tips and techniques. So for me, tutorial sites are quite an important part of the design community.

03. Willingness to embrace newcomers

I think this could come down to the fact that most Designers are quite selfless and open minded. As a newcomer myself I’ve had first hand experience of how welcoming the design community is towards other designers. I think designers have a great understanding of the importance of exposure and if they see something they like they will go out of their way to share it with other people, be that on twitter, their blog, digg or stumble upon etc. This means that a blog or article can go from having no subscribers, to having a lot of loyal readers all from the exposure of one article or post.

Here’s a post I made about new design blogs which was well embraced by many other designers, and is a great example of how people within the design community are more than happy to give something completely new to them a chance: 33 New Design Blogs with Great Content & Resources.

04. Community Spirit

One of the best examples that shows the design community has a great community spirit would be the popularity of “Community News” features in many sites and blogs these days. What other industry would you find people basically giving what could be their competitors a chance to expose themselves on your website for absolutely nothing? It sounds crazy, but it’s an idea which ultimately helps the community grow and certainly helps to expose new and interesting designers and such to other like-minded people.

Being part of a community means you have a huge network of people around you, and this means theres a lot of people who are willing to share advice, answer questions, or lend you a hand. I’ve found that most of the people within the community are very nice people, and would happily go out of their way to help someone who is in a bit of trouble, or needs a helping hand.

Another great example of community spirit, and something I’ve already touched upon is the fact that designers do like to share resources and content that they find interesting or useful, rather than keep it as their little secret, if they come across something of quality more often than not they will pass it on to someone else, which obviously leads to a larger community, but also a more informed community.

6 Great websites to gain exposure with Community News:

My Ink Blog (just to the right)

Design Mag

Fuel Your Creativity

Noupe

CSS Globe

Script & Style

05. Respect

Getting respect as a designer is quite something thats quite difficult, especially when it comes to clients. A lot of the time a client who is outside of the design community doesn’t always show enough respect, or value your opinions as a designer.

From my own experience I would say there is a hell of a lot of respect shown between designers, whether it be respect for their work, blog, opinion, time, advice etc. Most designers that I’ve met seem to have a great deal of respect for everyone, whether they are in the design community or not, and the only explanation I can think of for why this might be (certainly true in my case) is that we have a good understanding of how it feels to not be respected or listened to, so we try to avoid putting others in that kind of situation.

06. Sense of Humor

We’re all doing the job web love, however tough it may be at times, most people are happy to be doing a profession which also doubles as their hobby and passion. So this means there is a lot of positivity and fun to be had within the design community. Designers are more than happy to poke fun at their job, or tough situations, such as nightmare clients in a variety of ways, this could be through a comic, or t-shirt, or something like a blog post of video.

I’ve collected some examples that should help to show the good sense of humor that is around in the design community.

The Brads 4 

OK Cancel 

Kopozky

Rashy | Sense of Humor

30 Cool Web designer Tshirts 

Make my Logo Bigger

Redesigning the stop sign

You suck at Photoshop

The Website is Down - Not strictly design related

07. Inspiration

Being in a job that requires a lot of creativity and open thinking, you need to find ways of keeping yourself inspired. But it’s actually quite easy within the design community, you visit any blog, website forum, or read any magazine or book you are always going to come across something which helps to inspire you and motivate you. Whether it be a article or interview, or a piece of work that gets your creative juices flowing.

Here are a couple of sites sites which inspired me to get into freelancing full time, and continue to keep me inspired. Either for their content or the art work:

Envato

OutlawDesign Blog/

Best Web Gallery

Just Creative Design 

Smashing Magazine Inspiration

I have also put together a post on 125+ Unconventional Sources of Web Design Inspiration, which you could look at for additional reading.

08. Feedback & Support

Feedback is important to a designer. And designers like nothing more than to get feedback from other designers. This is one of the things I like best, people seem to be very willing to give their advice and opinions on a design or article, or give you their thoughts if requested.

There are many ways to get feedback as a designer, whether it be through the comment function of flickr, or a blog post, or via a forum or an Instant Messenger conversation, designers always seem to be asking for feedback, and respecting the opinions of those who are giving it to them. It makes getting feedback, on either a single element, or a full piece of work very easy and quick, and it means that I as a designer always have someone I can turn to if I ever needed a second opinion, and that is a great feeling to know you have a network of people around you who aren’t afraid to help out and give their opinion.

To Illustrate this point I asked the following question to designers on twitter, and got some great replies.

“Give one reason you Love the Design Community / Industry”:

Jamespaden I love the constant focus on pushing design forward, both on a personal level and corporate world-wide level

brunsvold dissemination of knowledge. If you care enough, you can find any answer you’re looking for.

awful_username so far, nobody I’ve come across is a dick. that’s why I love the community

mike_thomas I love how everyone actually helps each other out, at least the people I’ve dealt with

aravindajith coz i love designing.. if I love to do something without even sleeping and eating.., that is designing.. ;)

jamesdeer  I 2nd @jamespaden also it’s a lot more laid back, there is a lot of support and willingness from other designs to help you suceed

staceyjenkins One word: IDEAS.

tommsinclair  For questions like that! Getting everyone involved no matter what level of expertise! Love it

jessabean  I love the never-ending fountain of ideas and the genuine sense of community and sharing

elysiumburns Because everyday’s different; there’s no such thing as the “same client” – even within the same industry. It’s about self-growth

adellecharles  because they are so honest and willing to help out if you need it. The community for the most part really sticks together. 

As you can see from these answers, people are very much in love with the design community, and all for similar reasons. Thanks to all those who answered via Twitter – I think it was a really great touch to the end, and helped support my point better than I could have imagined.

My Summary

Well, after all of this I think it’s pretty evident to me that I, and many others out there are really happy to be a part of the design community, it’s a welcoming and inviting place where you can learn, grow and expand together. There are a lot of oppurtinities that can come your way through the community, and it’s a place that no matter what stage you are at in your profession there is always someone willing to go out of their way to give you a push in the right direction, so … the question is -

Are we in the best Industry in the world? Do we have the best community surrounding our profession? 

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