Tips: How to Win a Dribbble Invite

2013 年 8 月 29 日

About 10 days ago I was invited to Dribbble, which really was a dream came true. Just days after, scored with my first invites to give away, I arranged a contest to find some new talents to join the game. As my own excitement to get myself into Dribbble is still fresh, while meantime I have already been lucky enough to run my own contest and see how it works, I’m writing this both as an invite seeker and sender to help you increase your chance in winning a Dribbble contest.

Your Work Speaks For Itself

This might sound like an old cliche. But the quality of your work is so important that I have to put this as my first point. We all have the tendency to get obsessed with our own work. But do other people like your work as much as you do? If you simultaneously take part in 10 different dribbble contests and fail them all, the answer might be clear. If this happens, stop attending more contests and please take some time building up a stronger portfolio. Once the quality of your work meets the Dribbble standard and consider my tips below in your next contest, I’m confident that your Dribbble invite is not too far away.

A Long Portfolio V.S. A Single Shot

When I went through the portfolios of the applicants, some of the portfolios only contained like 2 pictures. Even though those 2 may look nice, I was not so sure about the designer seeing so little of his/her work.

Sure you can provide only 1 shot if it is so convincing that you’ll make the person want to give you that invite right away. If not, I suggest a longer portfolio that shows a more complete image of you, your style, your skills, instead of only 1 or 2 pictures that leaves people wondering if you’re just being lucky creating those pieces, or if you have that consistent quality across most of your work.

By the way, 1 or 2 shots can be contained in the body of your message so easily that I don’t even see the point of providing a whole portfolio containing only that few content.

Only Show Your Best Work

There’s been one person sending in an email asking for a Dribbble invite suggesting that he/she is not showing the best work to me, which really confused me. Well, I knew what he/she wanted to express, that he/she was better that what his/her work seemed like. But let’s be honest, why on earth don’t you show me something better if you have it?

Moreover, some people regard their portfolio as a diary book, where they record every piece of work they create. Though it is fine to keep such a portfolio, I suggest only show the best of the best when you’re asking for an Dribbble invite. The sub-par work only taints. Maybe your best piece does stand out, but it is that no-so-good piece at the end of your portfolio that costs you the invite you’ve been dreaming about.

Choose the Right Contest

What I mean here is that, before sending out your email, make some investigation about the guy offering the invites. Who is he? What is his style? Is he likely to appreciate your work?

For example, if you are good at cartoon illustrating, send your work to another illustrator might be a better choice than a 3D designer or a typographer. Basically my idea is that to give that person what he/she likes and understands better, which might increase the chance of your getting approved.

Show Some Personality

Personality means you should show some unique personal style across your work that distinguishes your work from others’. Show a series of work that forms a strong theme so that the viewer can remember you. One of the winners of my contest has a portfolio that is so strongly sport themed, and it caught my eyes the first time I saw it. Just at a glance, I was so sure to give him that invite regardless of what might be waiting for me in all the rest portfolios. I just have to. And that’s the strength of personality.

Be Careful with Email Writing

First, read carefully about the rules of the contest. Don’t miss any information in your email required by the contest holder. I have received many (yes, many) emails that do not contain the dribbble username/link in the email. What  do you expect me to do? To search for you or to ask you so that I can get 1 more email in my already crowded mailbox? This may sound mean, but you should understand the frustration after reading tens or even hundreds of emails in a row. Getting a Dribbble invite is already tough. Don’t make it tougher by missing things like this.

Second, no attachments. Show your work directly in the body of your message, or provide a link to your portfolio, so that the receiver can see your work directly or with only 1 click away. If you expect someone to download your file, decompress it because you’ve made it a zip file and finally open it, trust me, you don’t want that invite at all.

And finally keep your email short and polite. I have both received emails containing only a link to the portfolio and ones that have a devastatingly long story in it. Both are bad in my opinion. While it’s always good to show some politeness and make your email interesting, don’t over do it. No one wants to read a story about your whole life (That may sound harsh again, but it’s extremely true after reading hundreds of emails…). Write down everything needed and show some friendliness, keep it simply and short, and you are done with a perfect email asking for an invite.

Don’t SPAM

This won’t help you directly to get an invite, I’m just here asking for a fovor to make my life easier. Even though I have announced that I have no spare invite any more everywhere, I still receive a number of emails regularly. I understand the urge to get into Dribbble very much, as this has been exactly how I felt days back. But please only go asking for the invites from the people offer them. Spamming is annoying and doesn’t do any good to you. And it is impolite, too.

Well, hope I have made everything clear now. To decide the winners has been really difficult, and I have seen so many strong portfolios that made me think how could they not get invited already. They are so good and make me feel so lucky to have won my own Dribbble ticket with the existence of these talented people on the same planet. I hope that my tips can be useful to help all the amazing Dribbble prospects there to get their invite sooner!

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