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Not what I expected to go viral
26,000 views in 2 days for the SIMPLEST tweet...
Today’s edition is brought to you by Framer – the easiest way to make websites for designers who hate coding.
Hello to our wonderful 600+ subscribers!
You’ve definitely heard from us saying “design is more than buttons”. But something unexpected happened this week. So I wanted to share some thoughts and show you how and why sharing work is essential for today’s digital era of design.
A viral Tweet about buttons?!
We don’t normally share tweets here unless they’re special.
And man this one is S-P-E-C-I-A-L
I was noodling in Framer this weekend, trying to build out a new template, when I had an urge deep inside of me to design a curvaceous button. One with all sorts of flares and tricks that we used to love making.
This button, heavily inspired by my good friend Eli Schiff, includes things that the designers of today are taught to be in bad taste:
sense distinct depth
a strong indication of lighting
But these properties are not bad taste. They’re part of a forgotten artform. And don’t believe anyone if they says otherwise. Design is not good or bad. Design is a utility to translate intent into application. Why do things have to be flat and boring? I digress…
After exercising my pre-iOS 7 skills, I grabbed a screenshot and sent it to some friends. Then decided, why not share it online? Seemed harmless enough. At worse, people would ignore this boring tweet.
I was oh so very wrong!
I tweeted this out on Tuesday and checking it today, I noticed… 31,000 views.
Let me repeat that…
THIRTY-ONE THOUSAND VIEWS (and counting)
How could this be? We’ve been preaching since day 1 of our podcast that designers should be thinking beyond buttons.
This tweet is almost antithetical to what Pascal and I have been talking about for the past 6 months. So how do we reconcile with it?
This tweet is a representation of a thing I don’t do enough—sharing my work.
Recently, I got clearance from my startup’s CEO to share some of my work at the company online. I also realized I don’t share enough of what I’m making for fun.
These two sources have so much thinking put into them that some of which won’t ever be known unless I make a strong effort to share those thoughts. So prepare, Internet, for I have things to share and more buttons to tweet about.
Let me walk you through Why, How, and What work you should be sharing.
Before we continue, head on over to our podcast on YouTube channel where you can see us interview top tier designers and hear their stories, strategies, and tactics that made them successful so you can be too.
We’re also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more!
Also, I hear that the best designers subscribe to this newsletter and share it with their friends... Just sayin.
Why should you share your work?
If you’re not doing this today, you’re missing out on growing your audience and potentially ruining your chances with prospective clients.
I am the biggest advocate of sharing work in progress.
Best part of all, the work doesn’t have to be that special. And if you don’t believe me, just remember this: become prolific, not perfect. A good body of work will win out over a single successful project.
Sharing your work creates not only the illusion of a body of work (even if stemming from the same project), but also a relentless effort on your part to MAKE. We all want to root for the creative underdog, and sharing your work pairs you to that ethos by building your future one pixel at a time.
In short: sharing work has many benefits including growing your footing in the design industry, attracting clients, and honestly having fun while not enslaving your soul to the media hamster wheel.
How to share?
Screenshots of your WIPs don’t have to be novel, completely polished, or final. You just need to share ideas—especially those in progress.
Ideas are what inspire others to create. If you can share something that others find interesting, why wouldn’t you?
However, there’s a few ways to share work and only one that has been successful for me.
Share a super polished piece of art
Share a not-so-perfect frame of the work
With option 1, you can hide your insecurities and only let others see your perfect creations!
I find this method to be bad if implemented 100% of the time.
People don’t want to have you advertise to them. They want to be invited to your desk to have a chat about ideas you have. Doesn’t the latter feel more personal?
A polished piece of art is more of a selling point than it is a fun, top of mind fleeting thought. And those fleeting thoughts are the most fun since 99% of them never become reality—so you can be as wild as you want!
That imaginative culture is what attracts more people to your work.
Which is why I suggest option 2) share what you got in the moment even if the work looks inadequate.
Work in progress is far more interesting and welcoming than a polished piece of art that you slaved over.
So what I suggest is: take a screenshot before bed, post it to Twitter, and then go to sleep.
That way you can’t touch your computer to undo it, you can’t respond to any feedback, and you have something to look forward to in the morning.
Ultimately: Don’t think hard about how to present the work, share something that feels like it’s a conversation more than a final-final-for-real-111-final.PSD.
What to share?
I can’t comment on EXACTLY what items you should screenshot and post to Twitter. But I can give you a recipe to try.
Share work from something you care about. It could be your full time job, a hobby, an extra labor of love for a friend—whatever. Then, find interesting details you think are unique to your designs like my button above.
It could be a lockup of text with different sizes.
Or fun content and witty sense of humor.
Or even striking colors, shapes, and unusual objects!
The ideas are endless.
Regardless of the content, the intent behind it is more important—THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE NEGLECTS.
You can choose to be sharing a complex or simple item, but remember what’s driving it.
If you share a work of an enterprise’s new GUI AI software, it may be hard for others to digest. If you share a screenshot of a modal that let’s you choose from a few options to get started from that same UI, your tweet may become more substantial since the content is more generalized and therefore more relatable.
If you share mockup or pieces of work that is very general, it may be too boring to others to bother commenting whereas if it was a completely custom solution, some may feel inclined to be curious and respond further.
What in these examples could be worth picking out?
Your unique take on it
Your excitement about making it
Your secretiveness for sharing it
Your combination of elements that are just :chefs-kiss:
Your thrown-away ideas that could have been
Any of these (and non-listed) strategies are key to bringing to light your posts worthiness. It doesn’t always matter what you post by why you’re posting it for others to enjoy that makes it interesting.
That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoyed!
Let us know how we’re doing or suggest something you want us to talk about by replying to this email / commenting on Substack. We’d LOVE to hear from you <3
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