May 15, 2024

Design Buddies

Grace is a product designer, artist, content creator, speaker and community builder who owns the Design Buddies server on Discord. It’s the largest design community on Discord with a mission to help designers level up in their careers. We had the privilege of sitting down with Grace to talk about her community, and it’s giving us all the feels. Enjoy!

Creating Meaningful Interaction

There’s just something special about interacting with other people who geek out over the same things that you do. Grace says,

“Having a community is more fun compared to only having an audience because it’s more interactive. I like to learn from others and get to know them more. Oftentimes I’ll learn something new and feel inspired to dive deeper and create more content about that topic!”

Design Buddies has also helped countless designers meet up in real life and land jobs, and Discord provides the platform and technology to facilitate those relationships.

Widen Your Impact

Creating content for an audience instead of interacting with a community can feel one-directional, and it can feel limiting for creators who have a mission to make a difference. “Focusing on creating a community is more impactful than creating an audience because it enables more people to help each other, further scaling your impact.”

Create With and Learning From Your Community

Your community cares, and it’s where they feel like they belong. Creators who collaborate with their communities feel more in tune with what they want to see from their content and their server – something Grace is super familiar with!

“We create events, design challenges, content (social media posts, newsletters, fan art, and more). We also co-created our Discord server with our community as it’s continually evolving based on our community’s needs and feedback.”

Click here to read the article Grace wrote for Discord about how you can co-create with your community!

Grace has already learned so much from the community she has built, and she’s looking forward to learning even more in the long-term!

“I love to test out my ideas and learn from others with different backgrounds than myself. A community helps provide an audience with different perspectives that I can learn from and make an impact on.”

Discord gives people from around the world the chance to meet and share ideas, and a niche focus in a server creates even more opportunities to learn from others who share your interest or industry.

“I gain a deeper understanding on what problems people are currently facing in design to come up with solutions with the resources and connections we have in Design Buddies.”

Leveraging your Niche

Grace believes that niches can be as wide or narrow as you want, and that you can find the sweet spot by testing out different things with your community directly on Discord.

“I found that niching narrower helps create an engaged smaller group and niching wider helps reach more people (who might not be as engaged but join the community for general resources). I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to pick a niche for a community, it depends on what you want out of it - do you want fewer very engaged people or a lot of slightly less engaged people?”

Final Thoughts

Design Buddies focuses a lot on providing opportunities on Discord for fans to meet each other and connect, but Grace’s advice is to first learn more about why they are seeking that community.

“Understand why your fans are joining and how you can help them. Offer them something unique from you that they can’t find anywhere else such as resources, sneak peaks, meet and greets, exclusive 1:1s, swag (digital or physical), and more on your Discord server.”

A big thank you to Grace for sharing this wisdom with us! If you want to join Design Buddies server and support the community, you can join here!

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