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There can be many reasons to stick to deviantART (dA) — the biggest art community and a basic step for a design newcomer. At the same time none of these reasons should prevent you from participating in other professional networks and showcasing your skills.
Founded twelve years ago, today deviantART has the widest art-loving audience. However, lately there is an opinion that deviantART is overcrowded with work which can only be called “art” by a long stretch of imagination. So many men, so many censures! Anyway, like it or not, dA is a wonderful art community, but at the same time, it helps to be part of other art networks as well.
Today, we will take a look at seven major art communities and deviantART alternatives for aspiring designers and creative artists.
Unlike deviantART, Behance is built for those who work with art professionally, doing it for a living or as a very serious hobby. Due to the strict rules and high standards, Behance tends to be an upper-level professional network.
The website looks intuitive and well-organized: works are divided into groups, categories, and even countries. You can circle your friends or teammates according to the interests, professional level or the project you are working on together. If you are looking for a standout feature here, take a look at the job board and interaction system. On Behance, artists get a consistent portfolio system to show the workflow and project progress in steps. Although a large number of famous names may scare the beginners, Behance is probably the only place where you can share your experience and knowledge with artists and designers and get professional feedback.
First things first. Dribbble is a “by invitation only” website and stays one of those private networks that every designer is proud to be a part of. Users get 24 free shots each month to showcase their skills and get spotted. Frankly, Dribbble is all about “shots” and “rebounds”. Shots are small (400×300 pixels JPEG, GIF or PNG) sneak peaks of your work or even a piece of it. Rebounding is a good way to reply with a shot or post a series of your sneak peaks tied with a certain idea.
The invite system has also ensured that the quality of works remains intact. Drafting a newcomer is sort of a responsibility, after all.
Private communities always cause a lot of rumors, but I should admit: Forrst beats them all. It is an invite-only community but if you are a member of GitHub, you have a right to login without asking for an invitation. On the whole, Forrst is all about sharing four categories: questions, snaps, code and links. It may look a bit similar to Dribbble, but it focuses on web developers too.
The editorial team has launched an amazing podcast covering design-centric topics and tutorials, which can be downloaded on iTunes. Being a closed network, Forrst makes its members keep up with the high level of work and invites only those who meet the requirements. Another strict measure is flagging offensive posts, so the community content is always clean and relevant.
Designmoo.com is an open designers’ network aimed to provide its members with objective feedback and the opportunity to get their projects done. With its rich base of free stuff (fonts, brushes, illustrations, icons and other items) and active interaction system, Designmoo is a fast-developing network with one of the largest worldwide communities.
Each work can deserve a “like”, comment and feedback with suggestions. There is also a marketplace for pro members interested in selling their items via Designmoo or a third-party website. The community is vividly using all possible ways to promote free and quality stuff. A very popular one is so-called “Sponsored Freebies” featuring sources of peak traffic on a page branded with a company’s logo.
Designshack is a user-friendly all-in-one solution for designers to submit their work, get feedback and make use of regular design-centric news and articles. The website is extremely easy to use; there are three main categories in the gallery: web design, branding, logos and interface design.
Being a part of DesignShack will get you an exclusive WordPress theme “Marketed” for free, while its usual price is $30. Your work can also get featured in a promotional article prepared by the editorial team for $49 only. Thus each member gets an opportunity to get spotted and receive objective critique for his pieces of art.
Let’s move to more focused communities. Patterntap was created four years ago as a “living classroom, where designers learn what is working well on the Web and why”; its members are mostly interested in UI design and patterns. There is a quick Twitter sign up and as a network participant, you can leave your comments below each item. If you are looking for inspiration or improving your design literacy, Patterntap is the right place to go!
Typophile is another focused community — this time for typography enthusiasts. If you are fond of typographic art, want to get experience, meet like-minded people and are ready for standing some criticism, you’ll find everything here. The network itself is a huge forum tree, where fonts and typefaces, associated software, tips and tricks are discussed. Holding tons of pieces of creativity, this website has never had paid accounts and is supported by Punchcut.com — a design consulting company from San Francisco.
Is that all?
Of course not! You can also make use of the following websites:
Now that you’ve seen the most popular alternatives to dA, which one do you find the most attractive? Let us know whether you’re going to stay with dA community or explore something else. Share your thoughts or help us to expand the list!
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Nina is an active blogger and a marketing manager. She is interested in technology advancement and believes HTML5 is the future technology.