Drupal 8 Design Initiative

Way back in September 2010 I launched the Design 4 Drupal Core (D4DC) project - the initial goal was to define a better process for adding new themes to Drupal core. This grew out of the Drupal 7 process which was essentially a code race between Bartik and Corolla. It was clear to me this process could be improved. In the commercial world we always select the design first (as opposed to an entire theme), so I started making the argument that any new core theme would have to be selected based on the design - then coded into theme.

Putting design first allows any designer to get involved, i.e. they don’t need to know any code, and don’t really need to know anything about Drupal at all. This is fundamental to the Design Initiative goals - to remove roadblocks for design contributors.

I knew we needed the design first, but I now had to dream up a way of getting that design, making sure it was good enough for core and finally make sure that everyone involved with the process came out a winner. So while our #1 goal is to add a new theme to Drupal 8, the #2 goal is to define the process for making that happen - one that we can use now and for future design projects for Drupal. Therefore the process needed as much time, effort and thought as the design itself - which means I can’t do this alone, its too big.

When Dries announced the Core Initiatives concept at Chicago DC I knew straight away this was the vehicle I needed to make this happen. I opened the New theme in Core issue and fired off an email to Dries to propose this as a core initiative. Together Dries and I have worked together to prepare this launch and I am very happy to announce that the Design Initiative is now a full Drupal 8 Core Initiative and we will be adding a new theme to Drupal 8!

The most important phase of the initiative is going to be the Design Selection Phase. During this phase designers will get the opportunity to work with some of the top people in Drupal including those working in UX, accessibility, front end development, other Drupal designers and of course you - in essence we are going to create a collaborative space for designers where they can not only showcase their work, but learn about what it means to design for Drupal. For any designer looking to get involved with Drupal this is an invaluable opportunity and resource - and most importantly this is open to all designers, not just those with some drupal knowledge, we want to actively encourage designers from other communities to get involved, if only as a learning experience.

The goal is to build up a body of very high end designed-for-drupal website designs and from these works select the next core design. Beyond the core theme selection we hope to involve many front end themers who might also select a design and build this into a contrib theme, or simply leave them as a portfolio piece.

Shortly we will release our master plan and begin working on the Establishment Phase of the initiative which really means getting everything we need ready for the design phase. In due course we’ll be opening issues for discussion and looking for community members to take on the long list of tasks needed to make this all happen.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion about this and I’d like to take a moment to thank the people who have been working on this behind the scenes: Dries, Angie Byron (D7 co-maintainer), Bojhan Somers (UX), Leisa Reichelt (UX), Morten.dk (designer, themer), Roy Scholten (UX and design), Mike Gifford (accessibility), Jacine Luisi (front end developer), Jarek Foska (themer), Jurriaan Roelofs and Lewis Nyman (front end developers) and Andy Britton (designer). There has also been some discussion with Jeff Eaton on how we might tie in findings from the Snowman project, so thanks Jeff.

We’ve assembled a small team to manage the day to day operations of the initiative - these people form the nucleus of the Design Initiative team: Morten.dk (Geek Royale, front end megastar and all round good guy), Bojhan (freelance interaction designer, UX geek), Lewis Nyman (Capgemini UK, Frontend lead, RMG project) and Jurriaan Roelofs (One Shoe, Sooperthemes, front end developer) and myself as Initiative Lead.

There’s a lot of work to be done to realise the initiative goals and we need you, anyone interested in getting involved can visit this issue on Drupal.org http://drupal.org/node/1087784 which for now we will use as a meta issue. Some time in the next few weeks we’ll setup a blog and the new Design Initiative site and of course I’ll be keeping everyone updated with regular tweets and posts, both here and in the Design 4 Drupal group.

I am absolutely thrilled to be working on this initiative and save a special thanks to Dries for his trust and vision to back this for Drupal 8. You can read Dries initiative release post here: http://buytaert.net/design-for-drupal-8

Last updated 23rd April, 2011 - 12:34pm

Authored by Jeff Burnz on