Before we begin, I’ll make a promise. I’m not going to talk about Dribbble or Behance here. Not that they are not valuable, but they have already built an amazing directory of super talented designers. At this time I feel we need more diverse, to-the-point design communities. Ones that are active, purposeful and have strong goals. This world wide health crisis may have distanced us but has made our bonds stronger. That’s why online communities are playing a great part in this bonding. Because they enforce the so craved need for belonging, communicating and feeling together.
With this in mind, take a look at the communities listed below. Check which ones represent your flavor and don’t hesitate to join them.
Friends of Figma
The design tool that took over the world is building an awesome community using Slack. Super active, super helpful. At first the group started as a communication group for those who attended “Config2020”. That is, Figma’s first design conference in San Francisco. Now it has become a well of great resources. As we speak, passionate Figmates are chatting, meeting and inspiring each other, learning and solving any kind of design query. If you are not a Figma user, do not worry. There’s always time to become one. As more and more companies are switching -totally or partially- to remote working, Figma will prove the go-to design tool.
Queer Design Club
Queer Design Club is an online community with a great goal. To promote and celebrate all the amazing work that happens at the intersection of queer identity and design worldwide. In other words, queer creators can build their profile, share their work and enter the community’s directory. The project is distributed across both public and closed platforms. There, the members can share their design work, build relationships and get connected with their creative roots. Moreover, the Club is curating an online publication and a newsletter. In both editions, it highlights the most inspiring community activity.
Community is about doing something together that makes belonging matter
Sideway is built for showcasing real life work. And of course for providing serious design critique. Most popular online design communities mainly showcase conceptual work with no constraints while solving problems. On the contrary, Sideway focuses on Real Life Work. That is, the work that people are actually shipping. Certainly, it’s hard to just filter out that kind of work online. That’s why Sideway requires members to share a link to the project that they are showcasing. Whether it’s a website URL, an Appstore/Playstore link or any published work that they have done.
Women Who Design, Latinxs Who Design, Blacks Who Design
In May 2017, Jules Forrest creates the online directory Women Who Design. She was inspired by a Twitter thread in which people gave shout-outs to more than 600 influential women designers. In September 2018 InVision’s Pablo Stanley launches Latinxs Who Design. It’s a living directory of thriving Latinxs in the design industry. In February 2019 Wes O’Haire follows Jules and Pablo’s examples. He launches Blacks Who Design. All three initiatives share a common goal. That is to build strong and supportive communities. To provide a space for finding outstanding people to follow and inspire new designers. To look for a mentor and encourage people to diversify their feeds. Last but not least, to make new friends and discover amazing individuals to join people’s teams.
The Interaction Design Foundation Community
The IDF has a great mission! That is to lower the cost of design education. So this is the mantra of the 18-year-old non profit community founded in Denmark. The Interaction Design Foundation Community brings passionate designers from all over the world together. Being part of the community means gaining valuable insights, useful information and discovering new perspectives never considered before. Apart from that, designers can get involved in community conversations on many topics. Thus ranging from UX design concepts to resources, tools, and even jobs. With 487 groups in 97 you’ll be sure to find your perfect fit.
Which one of the above communities is your favorite? Are you member in any of those? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your favorite community or suggest your very own. I’d be happy to add this to the list.