How to Get Designers to Contribute in Open Source

One small step toward the inclusion of designers in our OSS world

I’ve been thinking a decent bit this year about how to get designers involved in Open Source projects. There’s more and more being talked about in this vein, and I don’t plan on rehashing what they talked about (The Intimidation Barrier and Open Source Design by Una Kravets and one of the first guiding documents: The Open Source Design Manifesto by Garth Braithwaite to name but a couple).

Instead I want to put forth a small way of seeking designers for your project: The Open Source Design Brief.

Let me share a secret with any non-designer reading this: Designers want to work on puzzles and challenges, not just making something pretty. By giving designers a brief of what the project is (in a way they understand), what is needed and how to contribute, you’ll lower one barrier to entry.

You’ll also specifically be telling designers: “We want you here. Please contribute.”

This document is available on GitHub to be forked and included in your project. If you want to use it and don’t know how to write about your project in a way to draw in designers, I’d be more than happy to contribute to your project by writing this document for you (with your help, of course). Just leave a comment with a link to your repo or hit me up on Twitter.