Behance is a great place to put your portfolio. Dribbble is helpful for showcasing a project you nailed. DevianART is for constructive criticism and humblebrags, but you’d better be into anime.
Hunie, currently in alpha, is a new site that hopes to bring open, constructive criticism to the graphic-design community. The idea is that, rather than simply gunning for jobs, young designers can use the site to hone their craft, and established designers can receive a second pair of eyes on projects for clients.
“Not everyone has access to a large group of friends who are designers,” founder Damian Madray tells Co.Design. “We want those who are well connected to use this to give back to the designers now starting out. Beyond that, I feel it’s a great way to connect with new designers and gain perspective, fresh ones from designers you may not know.”
Hunie itself is completely recognizable to anyone who frequents design-oriented sites. Madray admits that they didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, and instead used the same thumbnail-grid approach you’ll see over at sites like Behance (or just flat-out popular sites like Pinterest). Commenting on someone’s work is fast and highly specific: Rather than just leaving a comment at the bottom of an image, you click anywhere on a graphic to leave a pinpointed note. In terms of sheer verbal logistics, this interaction model simplifies the process immensely, though I wonder how it will scale to accommodate, say, 50 comments on a piece. Will every graphic have measles?
Truth be told, however, Hunie’s greater challenge is that of building a community. Imagine if every post on the site were spammed by a tenth of the idiocy found in YouTube comments. Hunie’s entire value proposition would be lost.
“Getting critiques is always difficult online mainly because it’s a cultural issue. This is why it’s never been solved,” Madray admits when I broach the topic. “Our approach is not purely technical but social. Once we have the tone set, we will slowly bring on designers who get this culture that can contribute to it. Our branding, messaging, positioning will be about critiques, so if you don’t dig it, head on back to Dribbble please.”
Madray is serious about this point. In a welcome email, he personally offers a list of articles on the topic of good criticism, instilling this value from the first point of interaction with a new subscriber. They’ve also been inviting perspectives beyond the traditional design community in hopes of landing entrepreneurs, project managers, and even copywriters to offer slightly different perspectives than designers themselves. And that makes sense. Since dealing with suits can be a pain in any industry, Hunie could be a method to preempt that criticism before it comes from your boss.
As of now, Hunie is but 30 members strong and admittedly buggy. Their private beta will come later this year, followed by a full launch in 2013. But if you’d like to get into the spirit of things early and give Hunie a bit of feedback on their own product, you can try it out for yourself today.