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Talk at FOSDEM 2016, see https://archive.fosdem.org/2016/schedule/event/osd_designers_compromises_in_open_source/
We might need a designer to provide a clear vision and solve everything we couldn't agree upon. Also the designer might expect to be warmly welcomed inside Open Source projects, but the reality can be a bit different. We always have expectations on how the designer - community interaction should be, but in order to have a successful collaboration we need compromises, sometimes from the designer's part, other times from the community members.
If we were to ask someone if Open Source communities need designers, the answer would be 'YES'. But do we know what it means to have a designer among us? What will he do? For how long? How true can he stay to his predefined design process? Are all the design stages relevant in Open Source? How open the artefacts he creates need to be? With what type of tools?
We all have an image in our head about the type of designer we need for our community, but how much of that image corresponds to our real needs and with the designer's reality and expectations?
In order to integrate in an Open Source community, a designer might need to revoke his design 'purity' and make some compromises, like doing a bit of development for example. Does working in a free or open environment mean that the work needs to follow the same rules? What is preferred: creativity or consistency? Does the designer have the final decision?
Working in an utopian environment doesn't mean that we don't do compromises. So, how much do we compromise?