Breaking Down Design & Art Related Social Networking Sites

Some niche social networking sites can seem tough to break into and become a part of the community. One of the best ways to get involved is to study what people in the community are doing and simply join in! Sometimes just hanging around and observing will give you a taste of the language or formalities that are normal for a specific niche or community.

For this post I looked for some specific design and art related social sites and tried to dissect what each site is all about, how they may be beneficial to use and how to become a contributing member with the community.


deviantArt aims to provide a place for any artist to exhibit and discuss works. Works are organized in a comprehensive category structure, including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, skins for applications, Furry and others. DA also has extensive downloadable resources such as tutorials and stock photography. Member submissions are known as “deviations.” The goal of the site is to allow artists and art lovers to interact in a variety of ways, ranging from the submission of art to conversations on a number of topics.

This site is a thriving community. The best way to get noticed and to have the community interacting with your work is to comment, comment and comment some more! Post replies and threads in the forums. Comment on peoples artwork and user pages, use the chat room and the shout box. Give out good and constructive comments, to stand out – many people will like to return the favor. You don’t get anything out of it if you don’t put something into it. In other words, you reap what you sow.

Although all the reviews and comments about deviantART are not favorable. Encyclopedia Dramatica has this to say about the community, “If the art community as a whole had cancer, then deviantART would be the biggest malignant tumor of them all.”


A lot of the members from deviantART migrate to if their work is of a certain caliber. There is drama here just like in deviantART and most of it seems to come from deviantART members that can’t take constructive critiques.

I like the layout of the site and how they feature certain artists and thumbnails of various artworks. The forums are pretty similar to DA and the heavier threads pertain to critiques and art technique suggestions and ideas.


Flickr is a HUGE online photo and video hosting website as well as online community. There is an overwhelming amount of amazing photography and art to view. They have a great search feature and also offer users the ability to either release their images under certain common usage licenses or label them as “all rights reserved”. The licensing options primarily include the Creative Commons 2.0 attribution-based and minor content-control licenses – although jurisdiction and version-specific licenses cannot be selected. As with “tags”, the site allows easy searching of only those images that fall under a specific license.

Flickr groups are a great way to post your photos and get a specific audience. They even have local groups. There are groups for a variety of topics, velvet art is your thing? There is a group for that! Learn about other great ways to market on Flickr.

Flickr has entered into partnerships with third parties to offer printing of various forms of merchandise, including business cards, photo books, stationery, personalized credit cards, and large-size prints, from companies such as Moo, Blurb, Tiny Prints, Capital One, Imagekind, and QOOP. In addition, Flickr has partnered with Getty Images to sell stock photos from some users.

Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags (a form of metadata), which enable searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter. Flickr was also an early website to implement tag clouds, which provide access to images tagged with the most popular keywords. Because of its support for tags, Flickr has been cited as a prime example of effective use of folksonomy.


Coroflot is the creative world at work. It has grown to host over 1.4 million images of creative work, from the portfolios of over 150,000 creative professionals and students from nearly every country on earth. Coroflot users are industrial, graphic, fashion, interior, textile and interaction designers; 3D modeling and rendering specialists; architects, illustrators, art directors, design managers, and dozens of other disciplines.

There are no membership requirements, application processes, or invites. If you’re a designer or someone who avidly follows creative work, they want you. If your work is good, it will find its way to the surface; if you need inspiration or advice, the world’s most active professional creative community can show you what’s what.


Vimeo, which had the original HD internet video, is a respected community of creative’s that are passionate about the videos they make. Vimeo’s groups allow you to create communities within Vimeo around the things you like. Share and discuss videos, photos, music, and events with other people that enjoy the same stuff. The more you interact with the community, the more interest in your work there will be. Get involved and you will enjoy the rewarding experience that Vimeo can provide.


COLOURlovers is an international community of designers and artists of all kinds who visit the site to get color inspiration, ideas and feedback for both their professional and personal projects. COLOURlovers’ loyal members create colors, palettes and patterns to nurture their ongoing love affair with color. They join color-inspired groups and forums and share the love by commenting on their favorite creations.

This community is very passionate about its… color or colour, whatever way you spell it. A lot of niche sites in design and art have a tight community feel already because of the content, that holds true with COLOURlovers. The few times that I joined a forum conversation I was overwhelmed at the amount of support it’s members gave. You can jump right in on the conversation at the forums by asking questions about specific colors or giving advice on already posted questions. If you need some simple color inspiration this is your spot, these people like LOVE color!

Art and design related social networking sites can at first seem foreign, but once you spend some time and get familiar with the language used and the correct way to get the most out of it – you are set. What are some social art/design related sites that have helped you?


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