The Designership: Forging A Digital Community for UX Designers to Grow and Network

Whether you’re an experienced designer or just starting out in UX, the need to find a community to learn from and lean on is a crucial part of building a successful career. It’s a theme that has come up time and time again on the Adobe Creative Cloud blog; when we ask top creative professionals what their best advice is for new designers, they almost always say forging relationships and building a community is key. As master freelancer Matt D. Smith put it, “think of networking as strategic friendships.”

And yet, many designers spend much of their time working alone, like UX/UI designer Michael Wong. “Designers work better together,” he said. “Ironically as a freelance designer, I tend to work alone quite often. This was a critical problem I was determined to solve. Yes, we have sites to refer to when we need UI pattern and visual inspiration, but none provided the support and constructive criticism I needed to become a better designer and produce better work. This is why I started The Designership.”

A Community to Learn and Grow

Founded just three months ago, The Designership is a global community of designers and developers of all skill levels who swap tips, advice, and share career insights, primarily through a Slack community. It’s already grown to over 2,800 members, and new UX designers are very welcome.

“We have channels from getting design feedback to landing your next design gig. New conversations are started daily and we get hundreds of designers chatting away at any point in time. You will find designers who are still completing their course, to fresh graduates, all the way to designers who have worked closely with Y Combinator startups and digital giants including Adobe, Microsoft and more,” he said.

“We’re all in this together. Sharing, growing, and helping one another along this journey we call life. There’s a real sense of community here.” Members often share job postings and give feedback on each other’s work, with veteran designers mentoring those who are just starting their careers.

A Gateway to the World of Design

While the community is fairly new, it’s already making a considerable impact on new designers. Many of those who joined Slack group said it has helped them feel less isolated and more comfortable working in their new field.

“For someone who didn’t know where to begin when it came to design, The Designership has been an essential stepping stone in my journey as a budding designer. This has been the place where I’ve been able to grow and ask questions. The beauty of it all is, it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out, or you’ve been at it for more than 10 years. Everyone is here to support each other to get better as designers, technically and mentally. I’m really thankful because this community has been a gateway to the world of design for me,” said Tien-Tien Cheng, a UI Designer in Athens, Georgia.

Paris-based UI/UX Designer Yann Alessandri said he’s been able to turn to the community before for advice and before job interviews, and he’s done the same for others.

“That is what it makes me happy, the fact that I can share some of my experiences and skills to help others designers in the industry and help them to grow, or even start,” he said. Giving back is the name of the game, according to Michael Wong. He says his goal is to foster an environment where everyone is comfortable to jump in.

“Sometimes as a new UX Designer you may feel that your opinion doesn’t matter. Trust me, everyone really appreciates a second opinion. That’s what The Designership is for,” he said.

The Designership 2.0

The community is already growing well beyond its roots. With more than 160,000 messages sent in the past three months, Michael has assembled a team to take The Designership one step further.

“We’ve already started the development of The Designership 2.0. This will be a custom platform, built from the ground up to help us serve and provide more for the community. The Slack channel is great, but there’s much more we want to provide to help designers from all around the world come together and support one another. We’ve also got plans to expand our resources including a job board, exclusive deals for our community and more,” he said.

In the meantime, more and more designers are turning to the community, with hundreds joining for free every month. South African UX designer Michéle De Sousa joined on day one, and says the community’s rapid growth has made it even more effective for people like him.

“I have learnt so much and what I know now compared to what I knew before is miles apart. I am part of a greater community and to know there are people I can turn to for advice is nothing short of amazing, and it is only going to get better,” he said.

For more information on The Designership, including how to join, head over to the community’s website.