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Design News Featured How to

7 habits of great storytelling

“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come” — Steve Jobs

7 habits of great storytelling

 

When I meet people at social gatherings and I’m asked what I do for a living, my response is: “I’m a storyteller.” It makes for a way better conversation than leading with “product management in a B2B SaaS company.” Truly, product managers and user experience designers are storytellers. We constantly need to be telling stories when communicating with everyone. We tell:

  • Stories to engineers to build an amazing product.
  • Stories to marketing to broadcast a captivating message to prospects.
  • Stories to customers to inspire them to achieve great things.
  • Stories to the executives and board to justify the ROI of our product investment, and the list goes on…

Being a good storyteller is why some product managers, marketers, and designers make the leap from Good to Great… and others don’t.

 

Let’s become great storytellers

7 habits of great storytelling

Emma Coats tweeted a series of basic storytelling tips while she was at Pixar. They became known as “Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.” She shared the valuable lessons from arguably the greatest storytellers of our generation, Pixar.

Emma’s learnings from her days at Pixar inspired me to reflect on mine as a product person, and a storyteller. In the past couple of decades of building software, I’ve told many poorly structured stories and have learned to tell good ones. I’ve seen how a good story by a product manager results in a happy customer, and no story becomes a feature no one uses.

 

Here I’ve digested the relevant rules Emma presented, and reinterpreted them as:

 

Seven habits of great storytelling for product managers & UX designers — Inspired by Pixar

 

1. Without a purpose there is no story

We apply techniques like user stories, scenario narrations, storyboards, andjourney maps. We paint a good picture of what happens as the user interacts with a particular product functionality. However, we often prescribe what should be built or how to use it — and neglect the underlying purpose.

What is the underlying message in the story? Like Clayton Christensen says, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Ask yourself, am I prescribing the characteristics of the drill? Or explaining how the user drills the hole? Instead of articulating why the user needed a hole in the wall?

Before we start writing, we need to know why we are telling the story and what the purpose of the story is. In Emma’s words:

Rule #14 — Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

7 habits of great storytelling

2. Make me care

In a good story, empathy and admiration are born from the drama of seeing someone struggle in the face of difficult odds. Without sharing the drama the main character (our end users) is facing, the audience (engineers) don’t empathize with them enough to go the extra mile and solve their problem.Emma reminds us of how much we love a good underdog story:

Rule #1 — You admire a character for trying, more than for their successes.

7 habits of great storytelling

3. A hero to root for

Everyone wants a hero to root for. Give me a reason why I should care for the hero of our story to get her job done. Why should I root for her success? What happens if she can’t get her job done using our product?

You may have great templates to document user and buyer personas, even have their first names and what the colour of their eyes are! Unfortunately that’s just a lame character in a boring story. If customer success is the end goal, what makes you care for this character as you read their persona?

What will the hero of the story lose if she is not able to overcome the obstacles to get her job done? Will they lose their job? Will the project fail and they will lose millions? Emma goes further and suggests we stack the odds against her as we author her story:

7 habits of great storytellingRule #16 — What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.

4. A credible storyline

Each scene in the story needs to be credible. We’ve all heard stories that have an overwhelming amount of unbelievable nonsense, and we’ve stopped caring for the hero.

We lose our audiences when our stories lack credibility — what the user’s objective is, what’s at stake, and how they can overcome obstacles. Instead of getting engineers to build out the acceptance criteria laid out for them, get them to root for the hero instead.

Rule #15 — If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.

7 habits of great storytelling

5. Impactful story structure

Every story has a start, middle, and an ending. A good story delivers the middle in a well-defined structure. Similar to a good speech, telling the story of a product capability is more impactful with a Tell-Show-Tell structure: First you Tell them what’s about to unfold, tell them you understand your user and what the user needs and wants to get done. Then you Show them how it happens. And finally to wrap up, you Tell them why they should care. What’s at stake if the job doesn’t get done.

Tell-Show-Tell method is commonly used for pre-sales demonstrations. It’s also applicable in product management and UX design. To elevate this method to Pixar level, we can apply Emma’s suggestion, which is Kenn Adam’s Story Spine structure:

Rule #4 — Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

7 habits of great storytellingKhan Academy video on this topic

This structure is brilliant! For someone to buy and adopt your product, the pain of status quo needs to be greater than the pain of change. In the structure above, “every day” is status quo, “one day” is the event that tips the balance, series of “because of that” statements are the benefits they gain by switching to your product, and “until finally” is the expansion play. This format is just great!

6. What’s innovative about your story?

Who wants to hear the same story told, yet again, by yet another software vendor? What’s different about yours? You may be solving for the same “happily ever after” ending, but how does your story unfold differently? Emma’s advice is to not be afraid of throwing the first however-many iterations out, and starting from scratch till you nail it:

Rule #12 — Discount the first thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th — get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

7 habits of great storytelling

7. Begin with the end in mind

Rule #7 — Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

Emma nails it in Rule #7: “Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.” It’s hard to know how to measure success after everything is set and done. Feature is built, shipped, and released… now what? What was YOUR Objective? What are the expected Key Results? Begin with the end in mind.

This approach creates a sounding board for us to reassess the validity of our decisions as change appears and we are forced to iterate our story and adjust the scope.

Break away from the habit of writing user stories and bulleted list of acceptance criteria. Stop demoing features and listing benefit statements. Tell a good story, and you’ll end up with a passionate team who works on product your customers Love.

7 habits of great storytelling

I’m working on a Part II for this post with examples of both good and bad stories to make these concept more practical. Meanwhile, comment below and share your stories with me.

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Design News Design Tips How to

32 Poster Design Tips

32 Poster Design Tips

Leading illustrators and designers give you useful advice on how to create beautiful posters for sale or clients – from composition to creative process and colour palette.

Poster Design Tips

1. Inspiration is everywhere. I love Matisse and Calder. Classic poster designs like those by Saul Bass and the Swiss school are inevitable inspirations.

One of my favourites from the region is Igor Hofbauer, with his wonderful, twisted, comic-like concert posters.

Monika Lang (Serbia)

Poster Design Tips

2. Sketching with a pencil is the most spontaneous and quickest way for me to capture an idea. Also, when you browse through your old sketchbook after a while, you can always find something forgotten, begging to be developed further and implemented.

Monika Lang (Serbia)

Poster Design Tips

3. A necessary first step is to undertake serious research, consideration of ideas and concept drawings. Also, the choice of a suitable colour palette for the topic is an essential part of the work.

Sometimes I use digital collage, and in that case I need to collate various elements, which will find their place in the poster.

Monika Lang (Serbia)

Poster Design Tips

4. I try to keep the message very simple. Sometimes I ask people without an design background about their opinion to double check.

Poster Design Tips

5. For clients work I start with an sketch or an mockup and try to keep things clear, but in my personal artworks I mostly start with an rough idea and sometimes I draw shapes and patterns to build an library to play with.If I feel I have enough material to work with, I start to do a couples of quick explorations to see which composition works best. By choosing my favuorite exploration I work step by step more into the detail. At the end I work on colours, contrast and cleaning up the file until it feels right.

Daniel Treindl (AT)

Poster Design Tips

6. Even if the elements are not perfectly drawn, a good layout and composition can be very powerful and make the poster very interesting.

Daniel Treindl (AT)

Poster Design Tips

7. Make the things you want to see and put them up around places yourself. Collaborate with your friends – and your favourite bars and clubs.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

8. Posters are such an accessible art form and have a direct purpose.

People come into contact with posters in their visual landscape everyday, and I think they can influence the viewer without them realising it as they blend into their everyday life.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

9. I generally start with the information or the text that I’ve got to include, and then begin to play around with how I can lay this out to fit in all the information. Then I’ll begin making a list of relevant visual ideas that would sit well alongside the text. I do loads of thumbnails and rough sketches in my sketchbook to establish a rough composition.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

10. I always use hand drawn text – so I’ll look through reference material to establish what sort of lettering will be appropriate. Then I’ll scan that in and begin working with it in Photoshop. I have a folder of hand drawn and paper textures so I’ll begin to combine these elements. The rest happens quite organically, seeing what has worked and adjusting things on Photoshop accordingly.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

11. I’m inspired by how forms fit together and how to create a balance between the minimal and the detailed – between composition and information. I’m really inspired by artists who have their fingers in many pies, and keep pushing the boundaries of their own work.

In terms of posters, I love Sister Mary Corita‘s hopeful and bold designs, and how they so beautifully marry shape and text and are so full of positivity.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

12. I get to look at lots of beautiful magazines. I found the last issue of The Gourmand really inspiring in terms of graphic design (and obviously all the beautiful and interesting content).

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

13. I normally have two sketchbooks on the go: one to unload my brain into and one to refine any of those ‘brain unload’ ideas if they’re any good. I’m also a big Pinterest fan and constantly find inspiration on there.

Lucy Sherston (UK)

Poster Design Tips

14. Posters are probably my favourite format because of their sheer size and their final use. They need to be seen on the street and they need to make a big impact. The main challenges of poster design relate to how the poster will interact with its display environment. You have to keep reminding yourself of that and try to visualise your design out of your cosy studio and on, say, a busy street.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

15. Another challenge is the way you design all the content. When a poster has visual elements and text, they can often have different functions that need to work alongside each other.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

16. Start by sketching out your ideas. The concept needs to get it noticed. So work that out in rough first of all so you can explore and develop your ideas as much as possible.

Getting the sense of scale and balance right on a poster is also very important. If everything has the same weight it all blends together so nothing actually stands out and the poster won’t have any impact. The balance between graphics and text is important here.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

17. Printing your design at full scale is also very helpful. You can hang it up and see how it works from further away. It’s easy to misjudge how something will look in the real world when it has been designed on a screen on a very small scale.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

18. Explore a lot of different options before choosing the best one. Try, try again and keep trying until you find the one that works best. Surprisingly, small changes in the composition can result in big differences in the end so you just have to keep working at it.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

19. The Film Commission Chile was created to promote Chile as a movie production destination. The FCCh visual identity is inspired by duct/gaffer tape. The tape is omnipresent in the world of movie production – tapes unite, join, mark, hold, point, remind and help people to work. Due to its flexibility, the lines and shape of the tape resemble the classic movie celluloid film.

The variations in the colour palette represent the diversity of landscapes we can find in the Chilean territory.

Veroncia Fuerte (ES)

Poster Design Tips

20. Decide what you want to be seen first. After that proportions and work on the composition. Colors are quite important too, depending the environment the poster will live. Dark place? Maybe try to use more contrast. Light place, street for example, you have more freedom. After this break all of it and experiment new things !

Marta Veludo (NL)

Poster Design Tips

21. I worked in a nice project for the Frenchfourch label for the Paris Graphic Design Festival, where I needed to create a poster that would be printed in silkscreen and travel around the world. I decided to make about love and fighting.

It was more technical challenging than anything else, but I had so much fun doing it.

Marta Veludo (NL)

Poster Design Tips

22. Design a lot of posters – and practice! Try, fail, try again. Find new ways of communicate and mostly focus in an environment where you would like to develop them.

Marta Veludo (NL)

Poster Design Tips

23. Posters are almost like hieroglyphs – both a graphic and semantic language. The poster almost always is a metaphor – and almost always this is two things that are compared to each other.

Ivan Velichko (RU)

Poster Design Tips

24. You’re working with meaning and for. Create the most exciting meaning as possible and the most strange and unpredictable form as possible. \

Ivan Velichko (RU)

Poster Design Tips

25. As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message”. Very often it happens that the shape is itself the content of that thing you do.

Ivan Velichko (RU)

Poster Design Tips

26. Whilst I’m working on the final piece, I’m always trying out ideas as I go – changing up colours and shifting things around and adding elements to see if it improves the design.

Ian Jepson (ZA)

Poster Design Tips

27. I always start with super rough thumbnails, that’s something that has stuck with me since college. If a layout works on a small scale, it’s going to work on a large scale. Once I’ve got a few ideas I’ll try them as rough sketches to see what works best and make a decision on a direction.

From there I’ll do a clean sketch over the rough, and then finally ink and colour the design. This is mostly done digitally, drawn on my Wacom Cintiq.

Ian Jepson (ZA)

Poster Design Tips

28. There has to be a hierarchy of information that designers must pay attention to: the title/band name, the venue, the date, the support acts etc – it all needs to be balanced and clearly readable without distracting from the overall design. Of course, tying that all together is making sure you have a strong concept executed in a visual striking way that captures the the vibe of whatever it is you’re trying to promote.

Ian Jepson (ZA)

Poster Design Tips

29. One of the most striking things that I really like about posters are the limitations. You can do whatever you want inside that space, and even if it sounds odd, the limitations are part of that freedom.

Very often those limitations are my own. I want to work with a restricted colour palette, or just one font. So I need to push the design to the forefront.

Horatio Lorente (AR)

Poster Design Tips

30. The priority is to define how the actual message is going to work – what are you going to say, which is the first important element that you’re going to read or see? Is the illustration or image the main component of the message, or the typography?

Horatio Lorente (AR)

Poster Design Tips

31. Working with a simple grid is very useful to arrange elements and give importance to the content. Remember: Less noise; more space; simple geometric shapes and typography. The most important thing is to make an impact and to achieve the main goal: to deliver the message.

Horatio Lorente (AR)

32 Poster Design Tips

32. Sometimes a single spot colour can make a difference and turn a dull and boring design into something interesting.

Horatio Lorente (AR)

32 Poster Design Tips

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Article Via: DigitalArts

Categories
Design News Featured How to

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become Popular

How many designers are out there?

According to BLS, there were almost 270,000 graphic designers – employed – in the US alone. How about freelancers and other types of designers?

On LinkedIn job stats, there are almost 3 million people who have “designer” in their profile description. However, anyone can put a “designer” tag in their profile. I’m sure my unemployed friend who constantly criticizes the Mickey Mouse t-shirt I love is somewhere among them.

Yet, global design platform Behance rejoiced on reaching 10,000,000 members in 2017, and in the same year Dribbble welcomed more designers than it did during 6 previous years.

So, how many designers are out there? A lot, and a lot more to come.

Now how many of them are standing out?

To make this question not rhetorical – how many of them have more followers than they follow themselves? How many of them have more than 1,000 followers?

In my last article, I asked successful designers how to be unique while standing out. In this article, I’ll try to cover how to stand out while staying unique.

Use Platform-Specific Tricks

There are many platforms that you can feature your work on: Behance, Dribbble, Instagram…

You can say that they are all pretty much the same – you upload your work and count your likes. However, the devil is in the detail. Every platform has a unique set of features that make certain efforts more efficient. I’ll mention a few.

Behance

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become PopularIn my opinion, two distinct features of Behance are curated sections and collaborations.

Curated Sections

On Behance, there are curators who go through thousands of projects every day and decide which ones to feature in every one of 60 different categories. What does that mean for you?

You have a chance, even if not a particularly popular designer, of getting featured in one of these and instantly attract a lot of attention to your work. Sounds too good to be true? Probably, because getting featured is darned hard.

There are hundreds of established professionals on Behance with a great following base, so their work will always attract the attention of many people, and, consequently, curators.

So what do you do? You pivot. You niche. Or you buzz.

  • Pivot: if everyone is drawing elephants, try going for a mouse. The hardest part about pivoting is not drawing mice, it’s finding elephants. More on that in the later sections.
  • Niche: some Behance categories, such as illustration and graphic design, are overpopulated. Others, such as [made via] After Effects, have lower competition. Thus, they are easier to get into.
  • Buzz: work with big brands. Big names always attract attention. Work for free, if you need to, just to get your name out there. More on that later in the article.

Collaborations

One thing I like about Behance is that you can have multiple owners for a project.

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become Popular

Project on behance

When a project has multiple owners, it is shown in the feed of every one of them. Such projects get the attention of all the followers of the people involved, and, consequently, more often end up in the curated section.

If you plan to do a collaboration, make it a worthwhile experience for all the designers involved – have approximately the same number of followers to have equal benefits in the pack and make sure that your collaboration will actually produce something interesting to the people. If you can’t offer followers, offer something else – money, time or organizational skills.

Just remember, Behance is a project-oriented platform. You never upload a single shot from your work – there has to be a whole visual story to every post you make. If you post anything, make sure it includes sketches, added materials, alternates, etc. Make sure you work tells a story. Ideally, make sure that your whole profile tells a story. All the projects you upload should be somehow connected, otherwise curators might think you’re fishing for their attention and testing their algorithms.

Also, I’ve noticed that on Behance most projects that get featured are real-world projects, there’s not much fooling around with test concepts and fun ideas.

If you want to fool around & experiment, I know just the place.

Dribbble

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become PopularDribbble is all about single shots. You post just one piece of your work, and that’s it. It changes the whole approach on how you behave on the platform.

First of all, your shot should be catchy. A few tips here:

  • Animation: Dribbble supports .gif and, recently, video formats. Animation always intrigues, and people like to know where it goes. In order to watch full animation, they click on your shots.
  • Vibrant colors: unfortunately, as all great marketers do, Dribbble designers exploit basic human nature to spot unusual things around us. Thus, bold colors will inevitably attract more attention than neutral tones. However, if everyone is using them, the opposite happens. Remember about spotting elephants.

All in all, designers on Dribbble tend to experiment more than on Behance. Half-baked concepts, unrealistic color combinations, and overloaded animations could be inappropriate in real-world projects, but here? It’s a wild west of ideas, and you can easily be the one to find gold.

There are no curators on Dribbble, so you attract the attention of your fellow designers and bystanders. Every shot you upload starts in the “Recent” section. If your shot is popular and gets upvoted, you will end up in the “Popular” section on the main page. There are not many rules here, so you are free to experiment with whatever works. Your profile can be a collection of completely opposite projects, yet stay relevant at the same time.

Tip: consider regular posting if you want to end up in the “Trending” section of the platform.

Instagram

I’ve seen many designers having profiles on Instagram, uploading their shots there parallel to uploading on Dribbble or Behance.

As for me, Instagram is the worst choice for a designer, because other platforms give you access to a design community and to people who are deliberately looking for someone to hire. However, that is where Instagram differs from design-oriented platforms: the audience.

Your work will be judged not by designers, but by ordinary people. Their design standards and overall awareness in the field is lower, so the only binary you’ll be judged with is “I like it”, or “I don’t like it”. I wouldn’t expect bystanders to appreciate 30 hours spent on kerning two letters in a 3-letter logo.

On a bright side, it’s easier to stand out among legions of booty queens and travel bloggers with your work, especially if you’re in illustration. I wouldn’t expect UX mockups to generate a lot of aws, but who knows. You just need to find your audience.

A few tips, specific for Instagram:

Tags

A big part of the network. If you find popular and niche tags, you may attract attention to your work.

Tip: browse semi-popular designers (not those who have millions of followers) and try using in your posts the tags they use. Better yet, come up with tags that are hot and connected to your work, yet not too overpopulated.

Perhaps the most flexible promotional engine you can find anywhere, and it’s connected directly to Facebook ads. Unlimited potential, but requires a lot of expertise in Facebook and social marketing to make it work. I wouldn’t expect miracles here.

Strong marketing community

Many marketers employ Instagram as a selling platform for their products, so there are tons of materials on how to promote yourself there. Back following, giveaways, stories, influencers… Whatever works these days and is not banned, yet can be used if you’re willing to spend some time learning the craft.

That’s it for the tips. Take your time and learn the platform you’re going to use most often and utilize its hidden gems. Dribbble meetups, groups on Behance, Instagram analytics… I’d recommend focusing on one platform at a time – read success stories, try and fail, then try again, then give up, then watch Rocky movies, then don’t give up… You know the drill.

Identify Design Trends

Whatever you do, trends are there. Building trend awareness is equally important whether you’re going to follow trends, disrupt them, or even ignore them.

To spot design trends:

  • Analyze Dribbble top pages and Behance best section daily
  • Follow prominent designers in your field
  • Read popular design publications and authors

Analyze Dribbble top pages and Behance best section daily

I wouldn’t expect to catch all the trends in one day, so you should do the reconnaissance for some time. If you’re serious about design, you’re already doing it. Just start thinking more analytically about it.

Let’s look at the Dribbble “This Past Month” top shots:

Most of the shots here (actually, all of them) are made by popular designers on this platform. These people follow trends or create them. Their work will generate a lot of likes no matter what, but there’s still much to learn from here:

– What are the similarities between different designers?
– Is the shot as popular as other work of this designer?
– Are there any designers with a smaller following that made it to this section?
– Is there anything new any of these designers tried or did they keep their shots similar to the past ones?

Add “why” to every one of these questions. Add 10 more questions. Also look at the “top of the week” section. Repeat on Behance. Repeat weekly. That should give you some trend awareness.

Follow prominent designers in your field

Not all designers are on the platforms you utilize. Some of them tweet a lot, others blog. Find them, follow them, research their work and their insights.

Don’t just focus on the design field exclusively. Explore fashion, tech, culture, photography. The more versatile you are, the more resourceful you are. More on it in the “Merge trends” section below.

Utilize Trends

After you’ve built trend awareness, there are all sorts of things you can do, such as:

  • Follow trends
  • Disrupt trends
  • Merge trends

Follow trends

If you’re going to do what everyone else does, at least be the best at it. Or one step ahead.

We’ve been drawing icons for a long time and every major design update or trend, such as Apple’s switch from skeuomorph to flat design, or Android’s surge in popularity, affected our work.

We weren’t reinventing the wheel, we were drawing icons in popular styles. But people appreciated the quality of our work, and that got us pretty far.

We took it one step further, though. We took in requests for new icons, we developed many features on our website and built a whole community around our products. So can you.

If you spot that illustration in UIs is becoming trendy, don’t just make a nice illustration. Explore different UIs, create variations, take what someone prominent did and push it a bit forward. Do it every time, and someone will notice.

Disrupt trends

When you follow trends, you draw icons like this: [gentle color styles were quite popular at the time and even more popular nowadays]

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become Popular

Project on Dribbble

Naturally, you get many likes. These icons are balm for the soul.

When you disrupt trends, you do everything in reverse. Many colors? How about one. Bright violet. Let’s add forbidden gradient for good measure.

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become Popular

Project on Dribbble

If you’re lucky, double the likes.

Merge trends

You can merge trends from different disciplines. In the photography, hipster and realism are still holding the reins.

However, graphic design in 2018 was heavily influenced by colorful minimalism – remember top dribble shots.

What would happen if you merge minimalism and photography?

4 Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd: How Designers Can Become Popular

Both photos are part of Icons8 “Moose” Photo Stock

You get #1 spot for a target search. And #2 as well.

Offer Expertise

Tutorials

Some designers may think that they need to be “popular” to make tutorials, but all you really need is to be good at something.

One of Icons8’s designers, Rita, made two niche tutorials on Skillshare: How to make Pixel Perfect Icons, and Animated Icons Transitions. She didn’t have thousands of followers, she was just really good at these things, because she did them every day.

Now she has almost 2,000 students that enrolled in these courses. She built the following from her expertise, and a Dribbble link in her mentor profile allows people to find more about her projects and follow her there.

Find what you’re good at and share your expertise with other people. Even if doesn’t bring you millions of followers, teaching is a very rewarding experience in itself. Give it a try. Making these tutorials free or not is up to you, both options have their pros and cons.

Note: it’s not just about teaching platforms. There are a lot of ways to give people value: YouTube and blog comments, Quora answers, Reddit discussions, live classes… It’s a mindset of sharing rather than the method that is most rewarding in the long run.

Tip: find top-ranking Google articles in your field of expertise that constantly generate traffic from Google, e.g. search “how to draw a logo”, and leave your expert opinion in the comments. Don’t be pushy, though, your contact information should be in your profile, not your comment.

Free work / Non-profit

I’ve seen many times this advice for designers: do not work for free. Most of the times, it is true.

Some crafty clients can offer you work for exposure, and think that this may be enough to light a twinkle in your eyes.

Even if you do banners for the next Olympics and billions of people will see them, it means nothing if you can’t share it with the world.

However, if you can…

Take the project. Work your ass off and then post the story on Behance. Big names, big clients, and big collaborations will almost always attract hefty attention.

Same goes for non-profits. There are so many famous non-profits, research funds and social organizations there that could use a good designer. Reach out to them, offer specific help (better yet, come ofrward with sketches and mockups) and make sure you bring real value. All you ask in return is the ability to feature your work on social media and design platforms. Such work will have a greater chance to be noticed than the paid projects for unknown e-commerce companies.

Interviews

Another way to share your expertise (and demonstrate it at the same time) is to give interviews. It goes without saying: if someone is reaching out to you with a question I see no valid reason to deny it.

Recently I reached out to 10 different designers with one question – What was the most unexpected thing you discovered in your profession/field?

Five designers replied. I wrote an article, and it got featured by CommArts, one of the oldest design publications out there:

So I did it again. 10 other designers, one question. This time six of them replied. It got featured again:

Of course, one twitter mention will not change your fate and spawn unicorns in your bathroom. But what if next time the article is picked up by Huffpost (I wish)? Or goes viral? And that was just one guy asking you one question.

But don’t wait for someone like me to write you, especially when you’re hard to find (I searched for my designers on the Dribbble “Trending” section”). Write an article yourself. Many online publications accept guest posts (including ours), especially coming from field masters.

Afterword

It happens that in our time, being “a good designer” or even “a great one” is not enough to stand out. One must also learn to attract attention to one’s work.

I hope you find the tips mentioned in this articles useful and a good starting point for your promotional efforts. If you have some tips or questions, make sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

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Article Via: Icons8