Tuesday, September 18

Step Outside Your Bubble

You may not know it but if you've read the "business end of design series" you've benefited from the value of on-line networking. The "business end of design" series was brought to us by a member of such an on-line networking site, the HOWforum. Through a series of message board posts and emails I invited Dagmar to guest write, being as I do enjoy her blog that I discovered by way of the forum. She mentioned forums briefly in one of her articles but I would like to elaborate a tad more on the subject.

I am a regular at HOWdesign forum and I have found it to be an incredibly useful tool for the student and professional alike. Not only can you post works for constructive criticism from fellow students and professionals, additionally you can receive pointed advice relating to business and technical issues and the fact that it is international in scope means that there is always a sizzle of activity even on those late nights while racing to make your dead-line.

The HOWforum, and ilk, are an indispensable educational supplement to any curriculum and a very practical and efficient method for reaching outside the bubble of your own classroom, school, office and stagnant mind. You can find discussion threads on any subject you can imagine. Should you not be able to find what you need you can just start a thread about it. From contrast to contracts, fibonacci to freelancing and everything in between you're sure to find an eager member off of which to bounce ideas.

If you become an active and useful member of the community your fellow members will come to be familiar with you and respect you. One particularly helpful member, without prompting, sent me a DVD of much needed tutorials in response to a request for on-line tutorials. I have received personal emails from some members giving support for work related issues I was facing. Some people have even gotten job offers directly because of the forum, I included. I hope that I also have been contributing to others in the way of constructive criticisms and providing exposure on my blog. I'm always on the lookout for new possibilities of providing benefit to the design community.

Beware of the habit-forming nature of internet networking. Forums are an amazingly useful tool but can prove to be a habit that can rob you of time. I have heard some nickname the HOWforum "the black hole". The key is balance and regularity.

Post your opinion respectfully but objectively. Be direct, for rare are those who beat around the proverbial bush at the HOWforum. Don't be sensitive. Although some critiques can be overwhelmingly harsh on occasion they result in much needed skin thickening and skill sharpening. Above all have fun and no doubt you will quickly notice the numerous professional benefits of on-line networking.

So are you a student of design? A seasoned pro? Do you teach a design class or are you in any way affiliated to the field of design? Well then get over to HOWforum right now, look for the register button at the top right, open a free account and reap the benefits.

Oh, and when you see juggling man there, don't be shy say hi.


bubble illustration by juggling man

1 comment:

Shayla said...

Good metaphor, I'm getting tired of hearing "Think outside the box," and I'm just dying to burst that fat, blue bubble.

How is a great community. I'm hoping to find a similar match for fine arts.