As creatives, this is something that we all ponder. It is scary putting your work on a platform that can be instantly viewed and accessed by the entire world. It takes a level of trust and confidence in yourself and your work as well because not everyone is going to like or to appreciate what you do. To contrast this, a few people will like your work so much that they will want to steal it.
But remember that you aren’t doing yourself any favors by staying hidden in the shadows. Consistent exposure will help people remember who you are and what you do the next time they’re in the market for a designer. My motto has always been “It doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody knows how to find you.” At some point, you have to let go of the reigns and show the world what you’re all about.
It all of this makes you highly uncomfortable, that’s okay. Aim for an agency, in-house or print shop job instead and stay away from the internet.
I have a unique stance on sharing work on the internet because as a freelancer, I am very much dependent on showing what I do with the hopes of gaining new clients. My client list, reputation and portfolio are all important factors that weigh heavily with me earning their trust. Potential clients need visual proof that I am proficient in the areas that I claim to be. The only way to get this point across is through openly sharing my work. And, the more new work I do, the more I have to share. The more I share, the stronger my portfolio and reputation become. The stronger my portfolio and reputation become, the more clients I gain. Staying positive and focused on creation really does pay off.
To me, there are very few negatives associated with sharing my work online. Sure, people may want to steal my work. But, I am constantly working on new projects (though many have yet to be be seen because they are client-sensitive or in production). The bottom line is this; only share what you personally feel comfortable with. If you are confident with what you do, having people pilfer your work from years ago seems downright laughable because you’re always moving forward. You’re onto bigger and better things, refusing to live off your past successes alone.
Sharing is almost always positive. We all learn new things from viewing others’ work. Embrace it and chances are, great things will transpire.
Readers: What is your view on sharing your work online? Have you had your work stolen?