Back in 2009 I was invited to join Dribbble, an online community for designers to showcase their work. That community has grown phenomenally since its inception, with no signs of slowing down.

In order to become a ‘Dribbbler’ (the whole site is based around basketball parlance) you need to sign up as a ‘Prospect’ and then be invited by an existing ‘Player’. Players who are active receive a limited amount of invitations once or twice a year, which means that they are rather hard to come by.

Last week, I had some invitations to use. I set up a shot and asked Prospects to email me with examples of their work. The response was sublime.

Which leads me to the point of this post…

I received emails from across the globe – Indonesia, Finland, Romania, Poland, Pakistan, England and Israel just to name a few. For many of the people who emailed me, English isn’t their first language. But the language that cut across all barriers was what they designed.

Icons, images, logos, motion graphics, photographs, user interface designs. All telling a story, regardless of the spoken language of who created them.

As our world shrinks thanks to digital technology, communication that crosses language barriers becomes increasingly vital. This is something that our design community needs to take with gravitas and responsibility.

As designers our task is increasingly to be global yet local and vice versa. Often working with local projects that could scale globally, or global projects that require local application.

This also presents a massive challenge: Designers can ill-afford to keep their work colloquial, so must work even harder to create solutions that communicate globally but are not homogeneous.

Yes, there will be campaigns that are locally targeted and use colloquialisms, but in a world where they can be accessed online in an instant, thought needs to be given to their global language.

It’s not an easy scenario, but it presents amazing challenge and opportunity for designers to work beyond their physical borders.

The possibilities certainly excite me. And, given even the small sample of work that I’ve seen in the past few days, I think designers are up for the task.


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