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I often talk to other creatives about the ways they share their work online. Most admit that they really enjoy this part of their job, but many feel like there just isn't enough time in the day to devote to the task. In my opinion, one of the most important things an artist can do with their time is to share their creations with others. That is why I recently wrote an article explaining how to get the most from social media. In that article, I spent quite a bit of time explaining how artists can utilize sites like Twitter and Facebook to help promote their work. What I found however, was that artists were also looking for tips to help them get the most from social media sites that cater specifically to creatives.
In this article, I have decided to focus on one of my favorite social portfolio sites, Behance. When you've finished reading this article, you will hopefully have a good feel for how you can make the most of your time on this excellent social portfolio site.
Before we get started, it is probably a good idea to provide some background information about Behance. It was founded in 2006 by Scott Belsky and Matias Corea as a way to "empower creative careers, organize the creative world, and provide transparency where there is none"(Great Discontent).
Since then, Behance has made a name for itself as the place where top artists, designers, and industry professionals share their work with others. In 2012, Behance was acquired by Adobe and integrated into the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers can now set up Behance Prosite accounts, and even export their work to Behance directly from Adobe applications.
Historically, Behance has been popular with graphic designers, illustrators, web designers, and art directors, but you can also find quite a bit of motion graphics, photography, and advertising, as well.
Now that you know a bit more about Behance, let's take a look at a few ways to get the most from your time on the site.
1. Only Post Your Best Work
The people that do the hiring only have a limited amount of time to search through your portfolio. Don't overwhelm them with every project you have ever worked on. Only publish your best work for them to see. Keep your portfolios lean, and don't be afraid to delete a project if you don't think it's an accurate representation of your work any longer.
2. Upload Your Work in Progress (WIP)
I think that some creatives struggle to decide which items in their portfolio actually are their best work. One of the best things about uploading your work to a social portfolio site like Behance is taking advantage of the social features that the site provides.
Behance offers a really nice Work in Progress (WIP) feature that you can use to obtain valuable feedback from the community. Creatives often work in a vacuum, stuck in their home or cubicle without much feedback from the outside world. The WIP feature on Behance is a great way to see whether or not your project is on track before you release the final product to the outside world, or upload it to your full portfolio.
3. Present Your Work Well
Creatives spend countless hours working on their projects, but often by the time they are finished, many forget to make sure their work is presented as well as it should be in their portfolio. Behance gives us lots of options to help customize our portfolio and project pages.
Make Sure to Crop Preview Correctly
Behance will let you customize your preview image for your project. Your preview images are the first thing people will see when they view your portfolio. Make sure that your preview image is an accurate representation of your artwork. You also want to make sure that it will be noticed, so make it look as interesting as possible.
Include WIP Images
People love to see how a design came together. So consider adding a few of the WIPs that you created earlier to your final Behance project. This will make your project a bit more interesting.
Include Detail Images
Behance will display your work at 600px wide, so if your original work is 2000px wide, a lot of the details will be lost when you re-size your work to 600px. Consider cropping your work down so that your viewers can see all the details you worked so hard to create.
When I commission a tutorial, I often ask that our artists record their screen while they work. When they are finished, they have hours of video that they can then edit to create a teaser video. These types of videos can then be embedded into your project page on Behance.
Customize Your Page's Appearance
Behance gives you lots of options to help you customize the appearance of your portfolio. Use these features to adjust the colors and layout of your page to make your work stand out.
4. Join Curated Galleries
Schools and organizations such as Wacom, Pantone, ADWEEK, AIGA, RISD, Pratt, SVA, and SCAD all keep curated galleries on Behance. By joining these curated galleries, you make it much easier for these schools and organizations to feature your work. To increase your odds of being featured, include several images of your project. Behance recommends that you post several. This could include close ups of your final product, WIPs, and wireframes. Behance also recommends publishing work with a strong central concept, and doing it in a clean and organized way. More information about curated galleries can be found on this short blog post on Behance's website.
5. Use Statistics
Behance gives us the ability to see all sorts of statistics about our projects. By clicking the Statistics tab in your profile, you can see how many views your projects are getting, as well as where they are coming from. Use this information to make better-informed decisions about how to spend your time on Behance, and which type of projects perform the best.
6. Use Other Social Networks for Feedback
I think that it is important to note that Behance doesn't exist in a vacuum. There are other social networks out there that you can use to make your Behance page even more effective.
While Behance's WIP feature is a great way to get some insight into how well the community perceives your work before you move it to your full portfolio, what do you do if you don't have any WIPs to share, or aren't sure what you think about your finished product? A great way to get feedback is to upload your artwork to other social networks like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and see how those communities react.
I will often upload my photos to Instagram, for instance, to get a reaction from my friends and followers. If I really like the image, and I receive a lot of likes, then I feel a bit more comfortable uploading the item to my portfolio.
7. Advertise Your Work
While social media sites like Behance are fantastic ways to share your work with others, sometimes you can't just rely on organic methods of distribution, you need to give it a small push on your own.
If your work is the product that you sell, it makes sense to advertise that product as much as possible. This does not mean that you have to purchase ads on Google or Facebook promoting your work, but it does mean that you should show your work to as many people as possible. Consider emailing your work to others, send out links to other social media sites, ask people to take a look at your work, and if they like it, ask them to "Appreciate" it.
In addition, consider linking your Behance account with other social media profiles like Twitter and Facebook. That way, when you publish a new work, it can be automatically published to those other networks, as well.
8. Follow Lots of Talented Artists
Once you've begun to upload your work to Behance, make sure you explore the site as much as possible, and don't forget to follow as many interesting users as you can find. The more people you follow, the more artwork will show up in your stream on Behance's main page. This will help to inspire you, as well as to help make the site a bit more interactive.
9. "Appreciate" Your Favorite Works
Appreciating the work of other creatives is one of the most important things you can do on Behance. When you appreciate something, it will show up in your followers' feeds, giving the artwork more attention. In addition, the more you Appreciate other people's work, the more likely they are to return the favor and interact with you in a more meaningful way.
10. Install Behance's Mobile Apps
Behance actually has two mobile apps that you can use. One that will let you access and interact with the Behance network from your mobile device, and another that will let you present your Behance portfolio to clients in a clutter-free way.
The Behance mobile app is a great way to interact with the community when you're away from your desk. You can set it to receive push notifications to notify you whenever someone Appreciates your work. You can also set it to notify you whenever someone you follow publishes new work. This will make it easier for you to keep track of what your favorite artists are doing.
The Creative Portfolio app is the other, lesser-known app that you can use to showcase your work during client presentations. In the past, if you had an interview with a potential employer or client, you might have needed to print out your work and assemble it in a leather-bound portfolio. The Creative Portfolio app will display all the work in your Behance portfolio without all the clutter. Install this app on your iPad and turn it into an excellent electronic portfolio that you can take anywhere.
11. Give Proper Credit
On any given project, you might work with an art director, a photographer, an illustrator, a 3D artist, or any number of others before your work is complete. One of the reasons Behance was created was to add some transparency to the design process. If you watch a television advertisement or see a billboard as you drive around town, chances are, you won't see the name of the artist or artists that created it, or even the agency's name. While we all understand that it isn't possible to cite the artist or agency responsible for the work in every situation, on Behance there is really no excuse to not give proper credit. In fact, Behance makes citing all these individuals really easy.
In addition, you might find that clients prefer to work with teams of artists that already have experience working with each other. So when you upload a project, make sure to give proper credit to the other artists that worked with you on the project. It might actually help you get more work.
12. Update Your Profile
When you set up your account, don't forget to include as much contact information as possible. Include your email address as well as links to your website, Twitter, Facebook, or other accounts. Make it as easy as possible for potential clients to contact you and hire you for jobs.
Some people will tell you that in order to share your work with the most people, you need to be on every social media site. I think that is crazy. There just isn't enough time in the day to spend managing every site in existence. If you spent all your time on social media, you just wouldn't have any time to spend creating. Remember to use your time wisely, and only commit to the social networks that you know you will have the time to use. Personally, I really love Behance, and think it is a great site for anyone interested in graphic design, illustration, or digital art.
I hope that this article has given you some ideas to help you get the most from your time on Behance. Many of these tips might seem like common sense, but others might be completely new to you. If I've left something out, or if you have any ideas you would like to share, please let me know in the comments below.