Websites come and go. That is the nature of the Internet. And that’s not something that will change anytime soon. But just because the web is a temporary medium, doesn’t mean very real (and pervasive) projects, thoughts, ideas, and feelings can’t be produced.
At least, that’s the point Dan Cederholm, web designer, author, and Dribbble.com co-founder makes in the latest in our Made By video series.
“I remember going through my portfolio a couple years ago and trying to update it and then realizing almost everything in there didn’t exist anymore,” he says. Which, for any creative, is a bummer. But just because the project no longer exists doesn’t mean something tangible can’t be derived.
For Dribbble, that meaning is found in the connections made between people. Whether they’re trying to start a business or just get noticed for the first time, the site that is self-described as “show and tell for designers” offers a platform to make real, lasting connections.
While doing freelance work, Dan would attend conferences and the first thing he’d ask fellow designers was what they were working on. This was in the days before Twitter and Facebook, mind you, where constant status updates weren’t the norm.
There was a definite need for a site like Dribbble, which let designers to share their latest projects and even get hired for new gigs. Since it was founded in 2009, the site has, “become quite a community of talent,” he says.
Along with co-founder Rich Thornett, Dan notes the two of them “wear many hats,” in the management of daily operations at Dribbble. One day, the duo might be found doing product design. The next? Talking with a lawyer. And the day after that? They might be designing a shirt for the site’s store. “We had a T-shirt design before we had anything else,” he says, laughing, including the website itself.
But the act of designing merch--everything from notebooks to yo-yos--fulfills his need to “make stuff” every day, which we’re sure is an impulse fellow creatives can relate to.
He wasn’t always a premier web designer. No, he spent the first twenty years of his life dead set on becoming a musician (check out some great banjo playing at the 2:20 mark), but the web came along at a good time for him. “It was a creative outlet but it also turned into something I could make a living at,” he says.
“Growing up I always thought designers were some special people that dedicated their entire lives to creating something,” but as he got older he realized that wasn’t necessarily the case. “Stay up late,” he says, and you can teach yourself how to be a designer by watching how other people do it.
Go ahead and watch the latest video in our Made By series. You’ll also be treated to a mini-walking tour of Salem, Massachusetts and be sure to stick around until the end. He offers some parting advice that anyone trying to get a business off the ground can relate to.
And check out our bonus video this week, in which Dan talks about how he discovered web design for the first time. It’s a cool story that involves Windows 3.1, a website for his band, and .WAV files. “I spent a lot of nights viewing Source on stuff,” he says. His words act as a nice reminder that we all have to start somewhere--even the best!
In our 'Made By' video series we feature and celebrate some of the most innovative, creative and successful people from around the world. Don't miss the next episode by subscribing to our YouTube channel.