A Practice Theory Perspective on Dribbble and the Evolving Design Industry

Yiran Duan, Charis Owuraku Asante-Agyei, Rebecca Kelly, Jeff Hemsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As social media continues to integrate into people’s everyday lives, some sites provide a space for people to present their work and connect with others. This study seeks to understand how Dribbble.com (hereafter, Dribbble), a site created in 2009 for visual designers to showcase their work, plays a role in the transformation of the visual design industry. We use practice theory perspectives to interpret 30 semistructured interviews with active Dribbble users. We find that the niche site Dribbble, along with the constellation of sites around it, is changing professional design practices, in both positive and negative ways. In this study, the focus looks at the ways the work of design professionals unfolds. Our participants, professional designers on Dribbble report that the site changes how they find inspiration to solve design problems, give and receive design feedback from/for other designers, and look for jobs. Our work suggests that by being a primary source of inspiration for many designers, Dribbble may be influencing trends in the wider industry. In addition, Dribbble may be nudging the design industry into a more global stance with respect to hiring designers. Our work contributes to social media studies by showing a link between a design site such as Dribbble and changing practices in the design industry. It also contributes to the literature by looking beyond Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit into practices on smaller social media sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Media and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • design industry
  • Dribbble
  • job hunting
  • practice theory
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications


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