What’s the Key to Success on Behance?
Behance is one of the largest online communities for creative professionals. Graphic designers, photographers, architects and other artists use it to showcase their work on a global scale
However, with more than 54 million project views each month, it can be hard to get noticed.
In order to help you make the most of Behance and get the exposure
your work deserves, we got in touch with the top Behance creatives.
These are the artists with most followers and project ‘appreciations’ – those who’ve succeeded in gaining a massive audience for their work. Read on for their expert tips on how to be successful on the platform.
1. Andreas Preis, Illustrator
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to always post just one single image – at least not if it’s not a very strong one.
Think bigger – try to create projects that have a little bit of a concept behind them. Also, don’t post everything on the same day.
Spread your projects out a little bit, so that there’s more possibility of people actually finding you. And, of course, stay active.
If you don’t have any interesting jobs right now, you can always work on some personal stuff!”
2. Bram Vanhaeren, Designer
First tip would be to customise your projects. Make sure you use the customisation tools to the fullest. Behance is doing a great job in listening to their users’ feedback, and now every project can be customised and showcased to the best of its abilities.
I quickly found out that you can uplift your work simply by showcasing some extras, like behind-the-scene images or step-by-step images, in order to give some interesting insights that you normally aren’t able to share with your audience.
Really, tell your story and pull people’s attention to your work. My work is by no means
the best on this network. By simply telling a story and sharing the reason why you are doing what you do, you can make a huge difference.
Then, what many people forget is the fact that Behance is a community. Follow people, connect, ‘appreciate’ projects, leave useful feedback and appreciation in the comments. Message your idols with meaningful questions.
During my first year on Behance, I literally messaged people every day, to say “hi”and compliment them on their work. Sometimes I asked questions, because a personal message can be so much stronger than a comment or an appreciation.
Trust me, most of them, when they see an email in their inbox with a notification that says I messaged them, will email back. After a year, you can be connected to more than 300 other creatives; people you have chatted with and who have maybe started following you.
In the early days, I calculated I needed around 150 appreciations within the first 24 hours after publishing a project to get on the front page which featured the most popular projects. This page was the second-most visited page of the network, just after the one with the most featured projects. This has changed slightly, but I’m sure you see my point.
I contacted so many people that it was easy for me to get the 100-150 appreciations in order to get myself on these big pages. Before I knew it, my following had grown significantly and I pushed to come back every three months with a new project (since you can only be featured once every six weeks, I think).
I truly believe in hustling as a beginning and upcoming artist; nothing comes just by itself. You have to get out of your comfort zone and reach out to people. This community is filled with amazing creatives, loving what they do and proud to be sharing their work.
Honest appreciation and a kind compliment can bring you far! This counts in real life as well. Don’t hesitate to contact people and give some love – ask for feedback, educate yourself by surrounding yourself with amazing people. Most creatives will love to give back and help you out!”
3. Mike Campau, Digital Artist
“To be successful on Behance, you need to remember three things:
- First, don’t publish all your projects in one day. Stagger them out over weeks at a time so your “activity” stays fresh and up front.
- Second, collaborate with other artists on Behance. Collaboration is always a great thing, but on Behance it can mean extra exposure and an extra degree of separation. When you share a project with another artist, someone could see your work while looking through their profile.
- Third, and most importantly, post only your best work. Since Behance is built around the philosophy of “the cream will rise to the top”, it only makes sense that your work needs to be awesome to get noticed!”
4. Ion Lucin, Designer
Not everyone has the opportunity to work on a great project, and for a big client. So what? Create your own project, your own brief, your own idea, style, client, just don’t stop creating! Make your own personal, fictional, original projects. That’s how I started, and even now, every free moment I have, and even on weekends and late at night, I work on my own personal projects, just because I want to, just because I like it. In your personal projects, you have total freedom; you can be yourself, you can spread your wings, express yourself, create your own style – it’s where you get to shine.
It’s very important to document yourself, explore and be amazed by the creations of our fellow designers. Behance is made for that; for you to create and be able to see what others are creating. Be inspired, then take that inspiration and create something new. Innovate and create something that has never been seen before, something original; be the exception.
Your portfolio on Behance consists of projects, not images. If your project doesn’t consist of many images, renders, still frames or photos, even if it’s just one illustration, for example, one that you have been working very hard to create; present it as a project. Include “the making of”, style frames, explorations, rejected versions, colour versions, detailed pics… Your work isn’t just the final image you created. No, the work you did was the whole process, so show the hard work you have put in, the exploration and documentation you did, the decisions you had to do, the creative process.
It’s easy to just upload some images, and I’m sure that if the project is good, it will do great and everyone will love it, but if you can, present your project well. At the end of the day, it’s your creation, it deserves to be well presented, it’s all visual… As I mentioned before, you have to make a project, so present it in a way that is easier accessible for the people who are going to see it; help them understand your project better, make them understand your project in the way you intended to, make it enjoyable and interesting, make them come back for more, make it an experience for the viewers, tell a story.
You are not obligated to publish everything you create. Remember: quality before quantity. Your Behance portfolio is what everyone will be seeing; it’s representing you as a designer. Select your best work, and present it in the best way possible. It doesn’t matter if it’s all personal projects; it’s great work; be proud of it! I actually prefer not to show client projects on my Behance portfolio. Only if it’s a great project and plays well with my personal style, will I consider publishing it as a project. Curate you projects!”
5. Amanda Mocci, Graphic Designer & Illustrator
“The root of getting your work seen on Behance comes down to good work and good presentation. It’s always a great idea to take your audience through your process, sketches and the story of how you got to the final piece. Projects generally get more exposure when people understand what you were thinking while creating your work. Make sure to write a description that will explain your concept and capture other user’s attention.
Pristine image quality is a must. Make sure that all your images are crisp and at a good size when you post them on Behance. Posting detail shots is always a good idea. Whether you are zooming in on an illustration or a close crop of a book that you designed, it will help people appreciate the originality of your work.
When you are ready to post your project, remember to share it on all other social platforms that you are signed up to. Behance makes the process pretty seamless by allowing you to share your project link right after it has been published.”
6. Saxon Campbell, Designer & Photographer
“When I started using Behance a few years ago, my intentions were not to get a million followers; it was to share my work, and it is only recently that my work has been getting a lot of attention.
I used to feel so
good when ten people looked at one of my projects; just to know that someone had seen it. And now that I get thousands of views, it feels just as good, because I am doing it for the same reason: my passion.
I design for passion and if people share a liking for my passion, it makes it that much better.
As for tips: Presentation is everything – showcase your work to its full potential. Be a part of the community – people appreciate your work. Do them a favour and check out their work too. Comment and appreciate. Start conversations. Make friends.”
7. Lina Skukauskė, Lifestyle photographer
- Create high-quality, interesting work. In the current crowded online world, it has become
smore difficult to stand out, but good work still catches people’s attention. So improve constantly, and share your work continuously (it doesn’t work if you post once and wait to become famous).
- Connect. Even though it’s made for very specific audience and purpose, Behance is still a social network. Reach out to people you admire, make connections and find possible collaborators. Posting sincere, constructive comments on other people’s work can be very helpful- after few comments like these, people feel grateful and want to see who YOU are (after all, it’s a community of artists there and they love appreciation!). You can build very useful and long-lasting professional relationships in this way and even find new friends. You never know who can recommend you for a job one day. P.S. Please don’t comment like “Nice work, please check out mine at (url)!” It doesn’t work like that. It annoys people. It destroys everything you have said in your comment before and makes you look like a totally egoistic and impolite person.
- Provide information about your project. Use keywords, choose appropriate categories, fill in description… I know it’s boring, but this is how people find you, especially those searching for specific talent to hire for their new job. Regarding descriptions – people don’t read a lot online, so try to be short and clear, but adding two or three sentences in the beginning of the project allows the viewers to understand better what they see and again it’s important for those who are looking to hire artists. They want to know what it is and what role did you play in the project. Was it all done by you or did you collaborate? Who did what?
- Collaborate. Finding another creative whose work you like, and forming a collaboration and creating a project with them on Behance can bring you lots of new viewers and followers. You are now not only in front of the eyes of your circle, but also in front of the one of the person you collaborated with. Plus, it can be a wonderful creative project to work on, so it’s definitely worth trying!
- Be patient and consistent with your updates. It takes time to build a following and get recognition. People often ask me how I got so many followers on Behance but they forget to notice that I have been there for six years now, posting my work on ongoing basis and interacting with the community. I personally think it’s best to choose what you focus on – you can’t work and update every possible online portfolio site and social media site, because it all takes time and effort if you want to do it properly. Focus on Behance if you want to not only show your work, but find new jobs.”
8. Michael Lester, Illustrator & Animator
“If I could give one tip for being successful on Behance, I would say: ‘Don’t worry so much about being successful on Behance! Focus on putting that time into making great work, and everything will follow.’
However, I realise that this isn’t the most helpful bit of advice, so here’s some ‘proper’ tips:Utilise the new ‘full width’ feature and upload hi-res images. Make your projects unique.
If you’re a web designer, you have two options – you can grab a ‘mac mock up’ PSD, paste all your screens inside it and have your project look like every other one that’s used the same PSD.
Or you can break it down, tell a story – show some sketches, show how you solved a problem, show some close-ups, animations of how the website works, etc.”
“Every time you publish a project, you’re not just showcasing your work, you’re showing the world a little bit of yourself as a designer, and your presentation reflects this, so give it personality!”
9. James White, Artist & Designer
“I signed up for a Behance account
back in 2008, and for many years I underestimated its power and treated it as a derivative of things posted on my blog, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Despite getting my work featured in their curated galleries, my project posts were merely image dumps of designs I created at that time.
It wasn’t until the platform was purchased by Adobe that I started paying attention. It was also then I discovered I had a significant following. I seriously had no idea.
I then started watching Behance more closely to figure out how I could use it with my online assault, as I always felt it wasn’t as “integrated” as Twitter or Instagram.
Then I decided to explore using their ProSite feature for Signalnoise.com, and that’s when everything changed. I re-developed all the work I had posted on my account while adding a ton of new projects and pushed the flagship work to be featured on my ProSite.
This brought new eyes to my website, new eyes to my Behance account and cross pollinated my audience. Now, my audiences on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr are all seeing my work in the same place. The results have been amazing.”
10. Lisk Feng, Illustrator & Designer
“I think that Behance is a very useful platform, but I noticed that a lot of artists post too often with only one or two illustrations, without any words and explanations. Fewer posts with more works in each post will get the best results! I believe you should post once or twice a month. With more works in one post, you can attract people to leave comments and look into your stuff for longer.
What more, this will make it easier for the Behance community to notice your posts and you will have a better chance of getting highlighted on the front page, which will then bring more people to your site. Normally, after I get work picked up, I will post another project with details and sketches within a week. The new project will then benefit from the attention generated by the old project. But I would say, the quality of your work is still the main thing. Better works always get more attention.”
11. Anna Karlsson, Graphic Designer & Illustrator
“When I started uploading projects on Behance, I did not choose projects based on the importance of the clients or the scale of the project, but I would rather choose the projects I felt represented myself and my own personal style.
One of the best things about Behance is that it does not favour age or work experience. A student has the same opportunity to get recognition as an established creator.
In the end, the actual artwork is all that matters. Be generous with appreciations, commenting and following others.”
12. Emi Haze, Digital Artist & Illustrator
“Showcase your best projects in a better way. Today, Behance offers a really accurate editor to do the layout of your projects.
You can show what’s behind the scenes, the different steps that lead to the development of your project; you can take pictures of your work once it’s finished… Being able to graphically present your work in the best way may give it more strength and visibility.
The presentation of a work is not less important than the work itself.”
There you have it – 14 successful Behance users share their top tips on how to be successful on Behance. Do you have any comments about our experts’ advice, or anything else to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
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