Dribbble Playoffs are a great way to get creative and give a certain idea your own, individual twist. But what happens when big companies, such as Volvo starts harnessing its power? Does it become spec work?
Speculative work (or spec work for short) is a type of work request, usually without a contract, that is to be performed without payment, for a promise of a future contract, or in a form of a contest in which other people will participate as well to win a certain prize.
What’s the difference between participating in a playoff started by a big automotive company and taking part in one put in motion by a small-time designer? Only one: the exposure.
Which of the above is a good fit for a Playoff on Dribbble? None. It’s just for fun. It’s supposed to get your creative juices flowing. There’s no real prize, there’s no contract, no false promise of future work. But there’s a chance to get yourself, your craft & skills out there, get them noticed. It’s a chance for you to give back to the community that gives away stuff for free every single day.
What’s the difference between participating in a playoff started by a big automotive company and taking part in one put in motion by a small-time designer? Only one: the exposure. That’s it, really. By playing the ball, you create something which can be used to inspire others, that’s how Dribbble works.
Big companies starting a playoff are doing the same thing that we do everyday, they want to get inspired by the work of other designers, and playoffs are a great way to achieve that, see what possibilities are out there.
Each of us thinks differently, have our own creativity and that’s truly beautiful. Let’s keep it this way, shall we? There’s no real threat to the integrity of our community from Dribbble playoffs. We should be glad that companies such as Volvo are starting to notice how good some of us are at creating great UI work, which then can be used to inspire their own designers. Who knows, maybe they will like your design enough to offer you a job, or a project to work on?
Don’t dismiss the possibilities by flagging them as threats. We fear the unknown, but I think that we should rather start embracing the unknown, by going with the flow.