In this edition of “For the Win,” designer Titus Smith tells us how he got started, and how Dribbble helped get a job at ESPN.
I’m completely self-taught, so Dribbble was pretty instrumental in the early stages of my design career. Even before I was drafted, I frequented the site to learn about style and trends. Whether it was checking up on my favorite designers or dragging shots into Photoshop so I could identify its colors, I was always learning.
It’s easy for fresh designers to get caught in the space between inspiration and imitation. I definitely spent a lot of time emulating—or straight copying—my favorite shots, but I buried that stuff deep. When I started sharing my work on the internet, I made a conscious effort to keep it original. Dribbble kept me on my toes, and it was easy to consistently evolve with each new project. It’s important for us to respect our influences, and we can’t do that unless we use the inspiration they provide to produce original work.
After freelancing for a few years and building up my portfolio, I started applying for positions posted on Dribbble’s job board. Working by yourself can be pretty depressing; I knew that in order to grow, I needed to be a part of something bigger. I craved collaboration and education.
Randomly one night, I saw a shot on Dribbble that caught my eye and I thought, “Why not? I’ve got nothing to lose.” After a few months of emails, phone calls and flights, I was offered a full-time Designer position at one of my favorite companies in the world. Now, I check Dribbble from my desk at ESPN every day looking for inspiration and hoping to return the favor.
I love the community, the interaction and the absurdity. There’s very little time wasted on Dribbble, because there’s no better collection of designers on the Internet. As long as we support each other, collaborate with each other, and respect each other, it’ll stay that way.