Open Source Graphic Design
Commons Design, a new open source graphic design site, has opened its doors to the public. I recently spoke with Tim van den Bosch about his new project and his thoughts on the viability of open source in graphic design.
Recently, Tim van den Bosch launched Commons Design, a site that enables an open source type environment for collaborative graphic design. Users sign up, upload a project and other users can comment, edit, tweak and re-upload for further collaboration. Look no further than the new button for Commons Design, which several designers have already contributed to.
Tim cites the following from his Master’s thesis, which prompted the creation of the site:
More than half a century later, groups of people are working together on large-scale projects without traditional markets or managerial hierarchies. Amazingly, incentives like profit or duty as an employer donâ€™t play a role in this new production process. If we look at the development of Linux and the rise of online social software platforms you see the user becoming the developer.
The idea of collaborative design is not new. Photoshop tennis has been around awhile, and there are entire forums dedicated to Photoshop battles and collaborations. Commons Design simply takes the idea to the next level: open source design.
Tim admits there are disadvantages to the idea (such as incentive for people to contribute, plus legal issues for copyright), but the open source system is proven to work because people believe in the idea. Consider these critical advantages over closed systems:
- Distributed creativity = democratized innovation
- Source code is available and users can modify and distribute it freely = peer learning
- Networking and building your portfolio
While it is difficult to imagine the future of all design existing as open source, Commons Design provides a truly viable alternative to the closed-door creation system that currently prevails. And if nothing else, it provides a controlled environment for feedback and review, which is invaluable for solo designers and freelancers.