Dribbble Meetup Takeaways with Joel Santana

Our Dribbble meetup last night with guest speaker Joel Santana was a huge success and we first just wanted to give a huge shout out to Joel himself for dropping some knowledge on all of us, and secondly to all of the awesome people in our community who came out; Thank you! You’re why we host events like these. But to get down to business, for those that couldn’t make it (or for the one’s that need some refreshing), the talk last night was all about Passion Projects and how they can be the catalyzing factor in what you do. Here are some of the takeaways that we got from last night; check ‘em out!


“produce with no intentions other than doing it because you love what you do...”

Passion Projects

When starting anything, clear definitions are the way to go and last night, Joel helped all of us get on the same page by providing a clear description of what a passion project is: Something you work on (often outside of your chosen career path) that gives you satisfaction and happiness. This. Is. Important. Doing work outside of obligation is how you grow and what influences your day job. Joel said that the reason you work on passion projects should be similar to the reasons why you made things as a kid: for the sole purpose of creating. He also said that when you take money out of the equation, you make things just to make things, and that’s where amazing things happen. Of course, find fulfillment in your job or career, but don’t stop hustling outside of it, too.

The Positivity Cycle

Producing with passion is the easiest way to get into a positive space. Again, it’s something that satisfies you on a personal level, filling you with positive energy that seeps and leaks into other facets of your life. Working on your passion projects is never a bad idea; Joel told us that the passion he put into work outside of his day job has lead to career advances, a pretty massive following, and awards, none of which where planned. Passion leads to positivity. It’s a cyclical process really: put in passion to get positivity, feed off of the positivity to create more opportunities for passion. Write, illustrate, design, photograph; produce with no intentions other than doing it because you love what you do, then watch it take over your life in the best way possible.

“I don’t have time”

There’s always so much to do, always so many places to be, and so many tasks to tick off from the endless list of daily duties. Not to mention time to decompress, catch up with friends or spend with your family. At the end of the day, who has time for passion projects? That’s the thing, Joel told us that there’s always time, you just have to set aside chunks of it to do what you need to do. That could be at 2am after a long day when your bed beckons to you, or it could be a 6 in the morning when you’re having a hard time rubbing the sleep out of your eyes. But of course, it’s whenever you can make it work; lunch breaks, right after work, early in the morning. It’s wherever you decide to schedule that time to allow yourself to be passionate about your work. Just remember, all of the greats had the same 24 hour days that the rest of us have; it’s what they did with them that made them who they are.


These are just a few of the lessons that we took away from last night, but of course the talk was packed with little insights throughout. Again, a huge thank you to Joel Santana for coming out and talking with all of us and to everyone who took the time to stop by. Keep checking in with us as we’ll have our next Dribbble meetup around the new year. Thanks for reading and keeping up with us. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedinDribbble, and now Behance for some of our best practices, free wallpapers, resources and spec work.