Networking Sites for Visual Creative Professionals
Some networking sites designed with the creative professional in mind are Behance, Carbonmade, and FigDig. If you’re an illustrator, photographer, or some other type of creative professional, join at least one that shows your talents in the way you want them seen.
Behance, a networking site for visual creative professionals
Behance is rapidly becoming the most powerful authority for creative professionals online. (Even global organizations, such as AIGA, Adobe, and MTV, have used Behance’s technology to create portfolios for their work.)
Much more than a portfolio generation website, Behance offers project management software, industry-specific job boards, award-winning blogs with advice for creative professionals, and a LinkedIn plug-in.
The Behance network of sites has four main categories:
The Behance Network: This site is the portfolio creation platform. Besides allowing users to set up an online gallery of their work, this network also hosts job postings, runs creative competitions, serves recruiters, and allows networking opportunities through interest groups. (And thanks to a new partnership with LinkedIn, you can now display your Behance portfolio directly inside your LinkedIn profile.)
Served Sites: As content uploads into the Behance Network, it streams into industry-specific sites called Served sites.
The 99Percent: This site is the brainchild of Behance’s CEO, Scott Belsky, and is the name of a blog, creative consulting service, and annual conference. The website contains great articles and resources for creative professionals of all kinds. Topics include playlists to listen to for better creativity, productivity tips, and video lectures from leading creative professionals around the world.
The Action Method: Behance used its unique position of having access to thousands of top creative professionals worldwide to figure out what makes successful creatives productive. Through this research, Behance devised what it calls the Action Method, which is a project management philosophy that claims to make ideas happen. The Action Method includes an online tool, iPhone app, and paper planners.
Carbonmade, a networking site for visual creative professionals
Creative professionals often struggle with finding ways of demonstrating their past work online. After all, you can’t e-mail a physical portfolio or stumble across one through an Internet search. Setting up a website can take many hours of tinkering, and a lot of online portfolio sites charge monthly subscriptions.
Carbonmade, on the other hand, is a free, easy-to-use portfolio builder that supports Google indexing and public facing profiles, which means there’s a greater chance of someone finding your portfolio during a Google search of your name.
Your Carbonmade account gives you two main pages, one displaying your work and another with information about you. (Click the Examples button at the top of the home page and then select a sample portfolio.) The more content you include, the better your chances are of appearing on someone’s list of search results.
Although Carbonmade isn’t a community site, you can browse other people’s creative portfolios; generally speaking, if they’ve included their contact info, they want people to contact them. Find other creative professionals on Carbonmade by entering your industry or keywords with the following code in a fresh Google search:
Site: carbonmade.com "[your keyword]"
Carbonmade’s free version only has a few designs and limits the number of pieces you can upload, so you have to be a bit picky about which items you display. Be sure to link to your portfolio from LinkedIn.
FigDig, a networking site for visual creative professionals
FigDig is an online portfolio tool that allows you to upload images and PDFs to display in high-definition. It also has a job-posting section worth taking a look at. Although membership is free, FigDig displays ads to subsidize its revenue, which can make the site look a bit cluttered.
One distinction FigDig has from other online creative networking sites is that people can rate and leave comments on portfolios. Having this type of peer review may help you foster more engagement with your work and motivate you to post your best work. To see other professional portfolios on FigDig, just use its keyword search tool and type in related keywords.