The Creative World: Collaborative or Competitive?
Does this sound familiar? You’re in your last year of college, finishing up your degree. You and a classmate are both submitting your portfolio to the same job opportunity. Naturally, the competition is on. In the creative market, collaboration is often overlooked due to the small number of positions, scholarships, jobs, residencies, etc. available. Creative spaces suddenly become cut-throat environments because how else can you stand out in the world of [insert creative medium here]?
On the other hand, today there are more and more collaborative websites and communities than ever before. While creative fields are ostensibly more competitive, the following websites are combating the stereotype that you have to be an overly aggressive creative in order to succeed. These sources promote a very necessary global partnership that will let you enhance or share your creative work with others.
The Noun Project is an online library of icons that has accrued symbols from graphic designers. The goal of this site is for designers to both promote their work and for users to implement these designs for free use. The Noun Project is a two-way street of collaboration, which includes uploaded creation and free utilization. This site also highlights the idea that symbols/icons are a universal language since they can be used by anyone and break language barriers. For The Noun Project, cooperation is key.
Sick of using boring stock photos? Check out Unsplash. As their website states, “Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.” Similarly to The Noun Project, Unsplash exists because of donations from photographers all over the world. Unlike other stock photo sites, these photographs are high in quality with unique subjects and angles. When photos are willingly uploaded and sourced by photographers, competition is not a concern for these creatives. Set up like Pinterest, Unsplash provides a plethora of photographic images for your use while also giving credit where credit is due.
Dribble is a website where designers can post their questions for projects or specific designs. A designer can update their work and discuss their goals/current project needs. Then other designers can provide feedback on your work. According to their site, “Dribble is on a mission to build the world’s best platform for designers and creative professionals to gain inspiration, feedback, education, community, and job opportunities.” All in all, Dribble is a competition-free zone.
The popularity of these websites begets the question: why are there more sites dedicated to creative collaboration and creative sharing when the arts can be so competitive? Well, there is no exact answer. Perhaps since creative fields are more specified and segmented than ever before there is an inevitable call for free-source sharing and participation. The affordance of the internet allows creatives to receive proper criticisms and criticisms from multiple perspectives around the world.
I once asked a photographer friend if she dislikes Instagram because it can make anyone look like a professional photographer. Did this make her feel like she was swarming in a competitive field or like her photography would be unable to stick out? She disagreed, saying that Instagram has opened her up to a world of photographers she may have never known. Rather than being frustrated by the idea that the photo-sharing site can make anyone a photographer, she saw Instagram as a source providing a positive outlet for collaboration.
With Instagram, there is an accessibility to share, swap, and discuss photographic inspiration. Likewise, online forums are another form of collaboration that aren’t necessarily new, but do enhance the idea of sharing, commenting, and promoting one’s ideas or work that the internet allows us to use.
Do you agree that the world is becoming more collaboratively creative? Comment with your opinions below.