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Greg McVerry

Designers: Blog About Your Open Source Contributions

2 min read

First Deviantart, then Tumblr, and now Dribble, as Instagram quickly eats them all. Designers have always wanted to get their creations on to the world yet fall into a trap of relying on silos. They migrate from this whim to that hoping to get employer or client eyeballs on their work.

You do not know when a platform will sell or if your entire design career can get impacted in an Instagram purge.

Your portfolio should live on your website and blog. Do not sharecrop on the silos for they can turn on you any second.

Open Source Contributions

Many new designers ask how they can build up their portfolio. The prices paid for work on 99 Designs can't pay the bills or they do not have the skills to charge a level of sustainable income.

A young college, high school student, or a mid life career shaper should turn to open source communities who desperatley need design help. Then as you create your designs, templates, prototypes or UX studies blog about th process every step of the way.

First this will demonstrate the qualities clients and recruiters want. You will show knowledge growth simply by posting over time.

You will also create a portfolio of real life content. Not just silly logo projects from Art 350. Real work that will exist all over the web and link back to to yoru blog! Who needs SEO when you have content people want.

A blog also demonstrates real life design skills. How do you design you? The most important project in your portfolio.

Most importantly a commitment to open source communites creates a mirror on to your values. The era of winner take them all, unicorn or die, blitzkreig has hopefully come to an end. Employers want to invest in people who share their values. More and more companies in tech do not make profits in spite of their social values but because of their social value.

So designers, find an open source community you care about and volunteer as a contributor. After the wave of, "thank yous" and "pleas for help" end you can fire up the blog and tell us all about it.


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