Go niche or go home: Top 5 specialist graphic design communities

Any experienced graphic designer knows that a good online portfolio is vital, especially if you’re freelance. It gives you a chance to display your work, establish your own personal brand and attract new clients, agencies or employers. Even better, join a design community and your work goes the extra mile. Not only do you have a portfolio, you’ll have direct access to peers and experts within your industry. You’ll be able to access portfolios from designers to inspire your next project and receive objective feedback on your work. At least… that’s what you were hoping for. Only problem is, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of talent with some of the biggest online communities. Well, we bring good news, there are smaller community platforms that allow graphic designers to really carve out their niche and play to their strengths. Specialist graphic design communities that focus on a particular design niche and encourage growth under a far more filtered down remit. How do you find them? 

Enter… Artwork Bazaar!

We’ve come up with five of the best specialist graphic design communities with a lowdown on whether it’s the right fit for you. 

1. Brand New: Branding & logo design

www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/

Formed as part of graphic design agency UnderConsideration, Brand New chronicles work on corporate and brand identity while providing opinion and insight on current trends. Their coverage of both redesigns and new designs of notable products, companies, services, and organizations across all industries and locations sets them apart from other communities, with plenty of support and opportunities for graphic designers to have their work showcased and recognised.

2. Designer Hangout: UX design

www.designerhangout.co

As an invite-only network of UX designers and researchers, Designer Hangout may seem an exclusive boys’ club on first impression, but once you’re in – you’re in. This dedicated hangout is brimming with tons of resources for the discerning UX designer with none of the irrelevant fluff, as members are encouraged to:

  • Discuss trends
  • Give advice
  • Share stories
  • Uncover insights
  • Surface opportunities
  • Connect in-person

Designer Hangout is the ultimate “secret weapon” for UX designers looking to be integrated within a network and progress in their career – a must-have in your tool belt to be able to stand out in this fast-paced age.

3. Artwork Bazaar: Graphic design for film & TV

artworkbazaar.com

Well, we think we should make the list, given that you’re already here! Question is, do you actually know what we do? Just in case, here’s a quick overview. This here is our blog website, where you can apply to join our community marketplace, Artwork Bazaar. An online hub and graphic design portal for film, TV production and live events. If you want to see your designs in the background of a scene and boast about your fake brand or product label being in the latest blockbuster, then this is the community for you. 

We create a single point of reference and reliable catalogue of quality artwork for producers to choose from, resulting in plenty of exposure for artists on Artwork Bazaar. Find out more about how it works or read our latest blog on the most popular artwork requests we get from producers. 

4. Creative Cow: Media production (motion)

forums.creativecow.net

For designers working in media production, whether that’s motion graphics, video editing and special FX, look no further than the CreativeCOW forums – a peer-to-peer community built on user support. The site may look simple, but CreativeCOW (or Creative Communities of the World, to give its full name) is a real treasure trove of information for both budding professionals or those seeking to expand or refresh their skillset.

Here, you can find any number of subjects to swot up on, from program support for InDesign and AfterEffects to tutorials on web design and using DSLR cameras.

5. Surface Pattern Marketplace: Textile design

https://surfacepatternmarketplace.com

If patterns, prints and polka dots are your kind of thing, look no further than the Surface Pattern Marketplace – the new go-to for contemporary prints, surface patterns and textile designs. Working in a similar manner to ArtworkBazaar, designers can upload their work on the platform to be presented to the fashion, home interiors and stationery industries, who can then purchase the license for the designs simply and efficiently for use.

Reckon you’ve got the skills to create the next Liberty print, or be the next Cath Kidston? This community is the one to join.

Find your niche and jump in

Now you’ve been given a few smaller communities to choose from, it’s probably easier to see the benefits of joining in with a more specialised resource centre you can network, contrast and compare with other designers.

Can’t find your niche, or a graphic design community that suits you? 

Why not give social platforms such as Slack or Reddit a go? The latter, a social news and discussion site, is awash with thousands of different subforums (or ‘subreddits’) across graphic design alone, full of fellow graphic design experts submitting content to the site such as links, text posts and images. The former, meanwhile, facilitates actionable feedback. Either way, there are plenty of ways to discuss design trends, tips, advice, colour palettes and more on this seemingly never-ending superhighway of graphic design communities.

If you enjoyed this you might also want to read our blog on 5 fabulous graphic design resources or our latest blog on top artwork requests for film and TV if you want to work in the industry.

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