The importance of showcasing your work and growing a network on Behance

Earlier in 2015, I gave a talk at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I was invited by a course leader to share my designs (and gain feedback) on a new Adobe online tool I’d been designing. Since I was working out of the Behance office to do this work, and had a large be.net following myself, the course leader asked if I’d start by telling the students about Behance, as they were coming up to graduating and really needed to get their work out there and gain some work experience. I was happy to help!

Why should we believe you…

This was something that struck me after a few minutes of talking about, and clicking through the Behance website on the projector… I suddenly realised — if I were one of these students, why would I take what I’m saying seriously? I work at Behance. I consult on it’s UX. I sit with the people who design it. The same developers who build my product, built Behance. It would be easy to (mistakenly) believe that I’m the most biased and unreliable source of this information…

Once this struck me, I told them:

“…You know what, you’re probably all thinking: ‘Why should we believe you? You’re getting paid to stand here and tell us how great Behance is…’”

I wasn’t being paid to be there, and I had nothing prepared. I decided in that moment that it was important to tell them that I was sharing what I know of Behance, as a user of the platform, not as an employee.

I shifted the focus of my talk to share success stories of creatives who had benefited from being on Behance. It was really cool and rewarding for me to see the students’ reaction to these stories… Their renewed interest and the number of questions I was asked was incredible!


It’s personal…

The most impactful story I could tell them, was about me:

“I wouldn’t be here, telling you any of this, if it weren’t for Behance!”

Only several months earlier, in 2014, I received a message on Behance’s messaging feature, from Adobe (p.s. Adobe own Behance!) telling me they’d found my work on Behance and would like to chat with me about a job in NYC! I was freelancing in London, England at the time. A few months later they put me (and my cat) on a plane to America!!

I’ve used the Behance platform since 2007. I’ve steadily grown a large following during that time (31,795 followers, as I write this). I get on average 1–2 emails a day with full-time job offers, or freelance project requests, that often lead with: “I/We found your work on Behance…”. I’d be lying if I told you they were all great opportunities, of course they’re not (all). But some have been very good! I’ve been approached via Behance, by Apple, Facebook, Adobe, AKQA, Amazon, Ebay, IBM, and many more I can’t remember.

“I/We found your work on Behance…”
View the Behance 2014 Year in Review at: be.net/yearinreview/2014

A Year in Review

At the end of 2014, shortly after I started at Behance, they launched a cool one-page feature to showcase all the awesome things that had happened for creatives as a direct result of being on Behance, during 2014.

Some highlights were:

  • Denis Medri was hired by Marvel to develop a new character for the Spiderman Comic Series after one of his Behance projects went viral.
  • Navid Baraty’s work led to talks at Apple and the New York Public Library and was featured in an exhibition in an NYC subway station.

Pink Floyd’s creative team discovered the work of 18 year-old Ahmed Emad Eldin and chose it for Pink Floyd’s album cover — The Endless River.


Success stories

One page on the Behance site you should have a scan through is their Success Stories. Some highlights are:

  • “I received a call from Facebook in 2009, having just posted my ‘Facebook Facelift’ project to Behance. Three years later, I was sitting in their Menlo Park office, interviewing for a position.” — Barton Smith
“I got invited to be a Senior Designer at Google.” — Roger Oddone
  • “When you can’t mess around and you need killer talent immediately, there’s just no platform like Behance.” — Ross Martin, MTV
  • “Creating an account on Behance was one of the most important decisions in my design career.” — Filip Komorowski

How do you grow your network?

Success/popularity won’t happen overnight, but being active, engaging with the platform, and posting (great) work all helps. Here are some quick tips:

  • Publish great projects!
  • Discover new creatives you like and follow them.
  • Browse and appreciate projects. The projects you appreciate appear in the activity feeds of your followers. Think of yourself as a curator. It’s interesting to see what creatives you admire and respect appreciate.
  • Comment on projects. Give feedback. Spread the stoke :)
Great work! Check out my: [insert unrelated project link]

^^^ Don’t do this!!! ^^^


Intersection | NYC. An awesome series of photos by Navid Baraty
  • Present your projects well. One or two images isn’t interesting. Introduce the project, show various screens, images, gifs, videos, sketches… anything that’s interesting.
  • Promote your Behance profile on your website and social channels.
  • Finally, be inspired. I use Behance daily — it’s a great, quick way to soak up some inspiration, see new work and keep on top of new trends.

Finally, good luck!

Sincerely. I hope you can make your own Behance success story!

Follow me on Behance at: be.net/andrewcouldwell


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