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Contributing to WordPress, Part II: Graphic Design

Posted April 6, 2009 by Jen Mylo. Filed under Development.

As mentioned previously, the icon design contest was such a success that we realized we needed to create more ways for graphic designers to contribute to the WordPress open source project. Our community is chock full of talent, and this talent is just itching to get involved. So, we’re trying out a few ideas.

First and most immediate is the creation of a new “component” in Trac for graphic design. We’ll use this component label to create tickets for things like making graphic buttons, such as making a new version of the favorites menu graphic or WordPress mark that looks better with the blue admin theme. In some cases graphic design tasks will overlap with CSS tasks, so designers interested in contributing can search for open tickets with either component label. In cases where a base PSD file is needed as a starting point, we will attach it to the ticket.

In this vein, if you notice a graphic that needs fixing (like the aforementioned favorites menu button needing a blue version), please use the graphic design component label to report it in Trac. Please don’t create tickets for graphic you just don’t like… keep it to things that look broken or overlooked.

Graphic design tasks will follow the same protocol as development tasks in that volunteer work will be overseen/curated by the core team. Both Matt Thomas (who provided the art direction for 2.7) and I will work with the core development team to identify design tasks and review submissions (i.e., we’ll make sure things look awesome before they’re committed). We’ve been trying this process with an early volunteer, and it seems to be working well. In addition to creating individual Trac tickets, if a project arises that requires many graphic elements to be created, we will post about it here on the dev blog to give potential contributors a heads up.

The second opportunity for graphic design contributions will be less about discrete tasks and more about contributing to the evolving visual design of WordPress. When there are larger design tasks in the works, such as creating an admin theme or designing the new media upload process, there will be opportunities for screen design. In these situations, potential contributors will be given access to materials such as wireframes or specifications and will be able to submit comps of design approaches. In the event that we receive multiple good submissions for a screen design, we will use a community vote to influence the final selection, as we did with the icon design contest.

Since 2.8 is wrapping up currently, there aren’t many design tasks waiting to be completed right now, but when we roll into 2.9 development, there will be more opportunities for graphic designers to get involved.

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See Also:

For more WordPress news, check out the WordPress Planet.

There’s also a development P2 blog.

To see how active the project is check out our Trac timeline, it often has 20–30 updates per day.

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