The Problem With Dribbble

by Tobias van Schneider

There is no problem. But the fact that you clicked on this article might suggest that you thought there is one, but why?

There have been numerous articles about why designers seem to be disappointed in Dribbble. Most state that it’s just about visual porn, and not about real problem solving.

But let me set the record straight. There is NO problem with Dribbble, the problem is with you. And that’s okay.

Nr. 1

Dribbble has never been about real problem solving. I mean, how much world changing problem solving do you expect to be solved in a 400x300px rectangle? What does problem solving mean anyway? So hard to quantify.

Dribbble has always been the same, it has not changed, but you did. Maybe you care more about other things than the latest UI trends, and thats great!

I was very active on Dribbble just 4–5 years ago. But since then, my focus has shifted and if I post something on Dribbble today, there is usually a product or more work behind. Do I expect this behavior from everyone else? Not at all.

Nr. 2

Dribbble is a platform, what you do with it is up to you. Dribbble serves a large audience of designers, a lot of them in completely different stages in their career.

If you are a little earlier in your career, you love looking at visual porn and creating concept art that serves no greater purpose. And that’s totally fine, I did it too, and I still do.

If you are in a different stage of your career, Dribbble might serve a different purpose. Maybe it’s a publishing platform for you, or maybe just a quick way to gather graphics for a mood board.

I’m thankful for each shot created on Dribbble, even though a lot of them might seem worthless to me. But why should I judge? I still go to Dribbble sometimes, and get inspired for a little piece of design I’m working on.

Nr. 3

When you are learning something new, everything that counts is to push out A LOT! The more you create, the better. Dribbble supports you with that, it gives you clear constraints and a sense of belonging.

If I would start investing myself in something new like animation or 3D, you can bet I would get very active on Dribbble again. If I would get into creative development, I would probably spam Codepen with my little useless experiments.

So in the end, it’s about what you make of it.

Dribbble is a stepping stone. It does not produce bad designers, but helps a wave of young designers to learn the fundamentals. At some point, it’s time to move beyond that, not because you are better than everyone else, but because you care about other things.

I’d rather work with a designer who understands her craft and is eager to learn about UX & real problem solving, than a designer who can only talk theoretical bullshit but gets no shit done.

But do not be offended. If you read my “The Design You Became A Better Designer” article, you know how much I value all the skills outside of the Dribbble use case. In the end, you succeed by knowing both, the craft and the theoretical aspects.

Yours truly,
Tobias


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Tobias is a Designer & Maker +Co-Founder of
Semplice, a new portfolio platform for designers. Also host of the show NTMY — Previously Art Director & Design Lead at Spotify & Board of Directors AIGA New York.