Connect Open Source Design with more designers

We could build our own platform to connect Open Source Orgs with Open Designers :man_shrugging:.

But that requires planning because being open source, students get exploited and tricked into doing free labor a lot for commercial projects (been there myself too once).

Nevertheless, it is a cool idea! what do you think?

(And this thread is dead, why am I here. It’s 3am)


re. platform that’s kind of what this website/board is for, whether it’s the right solution is for sure, debatable though! I’ve found through mentoring early career designers most of them outside of the world of open source still need/want the support of a friendly mentor so maybe mentoring programs is the future - anyways!

I think most of us designers have been tricked into free work before for ‘exposure’ or ‘promise of more work’ I have many of these early in my career! sighhhh. When I taught undergraduate designers they had this idea that just happened and was part of being a designer :frowning: so sad!


I’m an undergrad myself so I know how much it sucks. There was this one project where the only “compensation” I asked for was credits and they even took those down (made a big deal out of it which they later had to agree for giving credits).

Also, I realized that this platform does the exact thing I mentioned above and I feel like a dum dum :moyai:.

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Totally not intended to suggest you’re dumb, it’s actually not immediately obvious that our forum is for that but perhaps there are things that we can improve? if you ever have suggestions please do suggest them :slight_smile:


I think that would be a good idea. And as @Erioldoesdesign says that is sort of the intention of the opensource design website but I think it suffers in the implementation of this on a number of levels.

The primary community interface is this forum which does not benefit from the network effect of a social media platform. OSD has a twitter with a decent sized but small following. There’s not much integration between the social media presence and this platform. The way I found OSD was through me googling the term, so if you’re a design student and don’t even know that OS is a thing then how would you find out about it much less get hooked into a project.

Most people here seem to be basically people who work in OS companies as designers (a very small cohort) while who OSD should be reaching out to:

  1. Normal designers
  2. open source developers in need of design

are left unattended. I think there are some ways that OSD could be improved to increase people’s engagement and the breadth of it’s reach (for instance a facebook page, a dribbble presence of some kind etc), but I also think this would probably need to take some adjustments on how things currently operate, and I’m not sure how open OSD is really to that. I see here is information on how the organization is structured: But I don’t really get a good sense of how I could get more involved in the process other than posting on this forum more.

OSD apparently has a 3k a year budget according to it’s Open Collective page. Where that money goes, I’m not clear on. There doesn’t appear to have been an in person event on that page since 2018 IE two years ago.

I think perhaps it might benefit OSD bringing in a wider base of people to help administer things. Just just my two cents. I organize in a couple of political activists groups in Austin TX and we have run into similar problems which I’ve tried to get around by opening up the doors for higher levels of participation more.

Even with that there can be an issue because many people might be interested in helping out but if they’re struggling to make ends meet then volunteer labor tends to fall to the bottom of the pile (and lets be real… designers tend to be struggling a lot more financially than devs which is perhaps part of why it’s hard to get get higher levels of engagement).

I think it might be smart to open up the doors to some undergrads and students though.


I agree with the points you’ve made especially on transparency and community building.

I believe the core “population” of open source contributors comes from student contributors who want to learn and produce meaningful work but the OSD onboarding and getting involved guidelines feel lackluster from our mission.

Definitely interested in @coregroup 's thoughts on this.

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Hey why don’t we just take a step to start ?


There are some very valid points here. Especially this made me think:

I guess open source developers in need will be able to find this community in the end (they have a super clear need, and limited options). Reaching the first target group, and then specifically the undergrads, that’s the challenge. I guess OSD needs to be where those designers are - reach out, show we exist.

Of course twitter helps, but I imagine it’s not necessarily where designers are. @Kai, as an undergrad, where would you or your peers look for inspiration, or assignments? Which platforms and which hashtags would you use? Do you follow any specific accounts?

Some other ideas:

  • LogoDesignersClub’s Instagram account has logo design challenges, A/B version votes, tips, logo stories, etc. Would be great if OSD would have something similar, of course covering the open source realm. Or, if we’re bold, we could try & start a collaboration.
  • UpLabs organises design challenges for major platforms. As discussed here, we (should) want to move away from those easy targets. Setting up such challenges (pick a site/app/application, call for contributions, showcase results & let the community vote) e.g. on a quarterly basis, using this forum might help attract new designers & challenge them to help the FOSS community. This could be a great example result :slight_smile:
  • Identify & display in big on the OSD homepage a hashtag (e.g. #OSSdesign) that can be used on different platforms to find relevant work. We can also provide a link to relevant searches on different platforms (insta, dribble, twitter, behance, …)

And, @pkshefi, which step should we first take? :wink:


I really like all your ideas to make the experience more interactive and the platform to be much more than just a forum with OS Design jobs.

Answering your question to get an undergrad’s perspective, I mainly look for inspiration from,

  • Dribble, Behance, Blogs etc. for app layout inspo before development on small projects.
  • Could be just me but I save portfolio of great inspirational designers I find somehow while checking out projects. I get back to them and learn from their work, even case studies if it’s super interesting.
  • I don’t use Twitter so I can’t provide my opinion on that but I don’t think people showcase design work much on Twitter, at least it doesn’t feel like the right place for it.
  • Again, could be just me but I’ve managed to sneak in (and still sneaking into more) designer employee slacks where they share their work, opinions and even put up job postings. I’m primarily a developer so the job postings aren’t of much use to me, I do take up some local small scale design gigs though but that’s through my own network.

I’ll share this though, to help people looking for more communities other than OSD.

Also thanks for UpLabs, I didn’t know about it and I might give it a try, thanks!

Looking forward in helping make OSD a better experience for new comers.

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Interesting discussion on this thread.

Just circling back on a couple of things, they’re gonna sound like ‘excuses’ but there kind of just realities of running a volunteer community :man_shrugging:

Our twitter account is run by a few of the core group members as an when they can and used more when those members with access are at an event (like FOSDEM’s open source design room) the lack of ‘activity’ is just kind of one of those things that happens when you don’t have it as one persons job and/or volunteer role.

We do this through conferences mostly! so like, the various FOSS confs and more recently Design confs like Interaction 20 run by IxDA but Errr speaking from personal experience, the ‘normal design’ community finds it hard to give a platform to Open Source Design efforts. Though it’s changing slowly but mostly by some of us being rather forceful and pulling strings to be present and vocal at such events. The FOSS community is much more welcoming of designers but again, normal designers find these conferences content mostly irrelevant (changing though which is nice)

One thing we don’t/can’t do much as OSD core group is be vocal about how often we’re doing these things, largely just due to #life like having jobs, families and responsibilities outside of our love for OSD.

Adding more channels (dribble, facebook etc.) is a great idea in principle, but it’d stretch us even thinner, so what we need is more people stepping up to core roles in the OSD community and taking on those ideas.

Re. 3K budget, I’m not 100% sure on the breakdown there but I’m pretty sure that Open Collective allows you to see/publish all our donations and where it goes. I would likely think on tech hosting and platforms as well as some of our yearly conference attendances and advocacy. I can certainly look into how we can make that available if it isn’t already.

Just to be clear, you all are spot on with your assessment of, needing more volunteers stepping up and I’ve err learned a lot in my 10+ years of community organising both locally and online…there’s no magic formulae for sustained engagement.

I’ve also done a fair amount of outreach to other a-like groups like Open IDEO, Hague Hacks and Global Virtual Design sprints…these folks are all lovely and encouraging (like the ones you suggest like logo designers club, Uplabs etc.) but from my experience with partnership building (another shorter article) is well…you have to negotiate and manage two agendas or goals (and sometimes bugets and metrics to hit) and be dedicated to moving that forward and that takes a heap of time, effort and mutual agreement. It’s not impossible but it’s for sure more labour. I’ve been working on something like it for a while :sweat_smile: and I’m slooooooooowly getting there.

I’m actually working on one right now with the folks at Sustain OSS re. badges

I’m super excited to support the folks on this thread to take some actions forward though. Perhaps we can all find a way to collaborate forward?


I found where OpenCollective registers expenses:

I think this will need updating as I’m pretty sure we spent some more $$ on cards/stickers etc for Fosdem 2020.

@jan and @elioqoshi might be the best folks to speak to finances/accounting stuff

I agree with you on this one
And I’m ready to carry up the task if we all agree to this
Because, it sometimes get frustrating when developers are been looked for than designers
Meanwhile, without the designs there’s no development


Design is everything!

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You’re absolutely right. In my three years as (off-line) volunteer board member (working with other volunteers) I’ve also struggled with this. I guess the only way out of the chicken & egg problem is slowly growing :slight_smile:

Does it (joining conferences) happen often? Side note from my volunteer experience: we knew not everybody was keen on or focussed on posting on social media about our activities. To still be able to be represent the offline in our online sphere, we created a (WhatsApp) group and asked people ‘on the ground’ to share photos. Someone else (dedicated person) could then turn it into a nice post. Might be an idea.

Absolutely. Maybe Twitter isn’t the best place actually, and should be dropped in favour of Instagram or Dribble (as better suited for OSD)? Also: I think more people only come if they’re asked, either in person or via public calls. I just saw you do that already in the Badges thread. I think for such calls, more visibility on the main site would be helpful (i.e. if/when the landing page gets a redesign).

Thanks for sharing, that’s a great resource!

Just saw that right now. It’s a great initiative - I’ll be following that closely :slight_smile:


Wanted to say that I think responses from people here are good. I hope my points didn’t come off as criticisms, espc the money stuff, more just pointing out that it was sort of opaque to me how OSD operates.

I think perhaps something that would help with the issue of people being spread thin is a clearer way for people to get involved. I myself don’t really know how to get more involved other than posting on this forum. I’m already involved in a lot of volunteer orgs but I’d be willing to help out OSD stuff too, just not sure what the best way to do that is.

If there has to be a choice of one platform, I think Dribbble is probably the best bet.