Open design process

Posted on by jordanhaines

At the end of 2016 Mozilla showed there final logo design of there company rebrand. The strange part about this design process was that the whole process used the open design process.

So what actually is the open design process? It is where all the design work and process are shared online of anyone to view and comment on, It is mostly used on open source software and hardware in which it will be free for anyone to use.

Most brand development exercises will be done behind closed doors with only a limited number of people working on the project, Then at the end of the process the big revile happens of the new logo.

Mozilla opted for the open design process because it was in keeping with the company way of working. Mozilla are pioneers of open source and web standards there are most well known for the Firefox browser.

Benefits of Open design

There are a few benefits of designing in the open which I will walk through below:

Community Feedback

Communities are fantastic for sharing resources and advice. If you write a post discussing a problem or asking a question about something you are working, the community can respond with potential solutions, resources, tips and advice.

Gather feedback

Working with a community by sharing your design and your thoughts on where the designs have come from can help get a huge amount of feedback that you might not have go if you where working behind closed doors.

Build interest

By sharing your designs while its in progress you have a chance to build up interest and a following for your work and the company that you are doing the re brand for. An example of this are The creators of Indie Game: The Movie were religious about sharing their progress while filming and editing, and as a result they built up a massive community. By the time the film got released, they had amassed thousands of people who were ready to purchase the movie.

Establish yourselves as industry leaders

As a creative agency you know how to develop a brand buy using the correct processes. So to show other people that you know what you are talking about, Share those ideas so everyone can see. By doing this we not only helping ourself but providing information to help others in the industry.

Challenges of open design

Unfortunately its not all plane sailing with open design, Some of the issues with open design are listed below

Sharing non finished work

Creative agencies and designers are set in there ways and many will only like to show off polished designs to the public. We hate showing off mistakes and designs that might be considered sloopy or prototype work that is buggy. But by showing off our workings and ideas we are able to explain them better and hopefully come to a much stronger result.

Other companies will take our stuff

This has to be the biggest challenge to overcome when you talk about giving anything away. Both clients and designers need to over come this way of thinking. Copying will always happen, but another way to think about it is if you start talking about it in public first. Then you can claim you had the idea first.

Community Comments

One of the greatest thinks about the open design process is the community, but sadly it is one of its downfalls. You will get some great feedback with some great tips and suggestion, but you will also get the stupid comments and suggestion, Remember Boaty McBoatface?


Committing to an open design project means you have to commit extra time to writing all the blog posts and scanning in sketch. Sometimes deadlines are just to tight to do this.

Some examples of some open design projects are:

The idea of this post was to explore the benefits and challenges of open design and ask the question would you consider trying the open design process?

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