The current state of Dashicons

Dashicons got a huge push forward on contributor day at WordCamp Europe. Members of the WordPress community interested in design and, more specifically, iconography, met to discuss the state of the icons that appear throughout the WP admin experience.

We started by reviewing each issue listed in the repository for Dashicons, many of which were requests for new Dashicons.  In the spirit of keeping the core set of Dashicons as lean as possible, most of the requests were closed. However, several issues warranted action, and are now being resolved.

Dashicons is evolving. From its earliest inception, to a major redesign, to now, Dashicons is filling a demand for icons that communicate fundamental ideas, render clearly on all resolutions, are accessible by and inclusive of everyone.

New projects are constantly emerging as WordPress grows. And new WordPress projects need new Dashicons. Take Project Gutenberg, a major focal point in this year’s #wceu, for example. There are many areas where the iconography it utilizes could be improved. That’s where we need your help—to define the appropriate design and function of new icons that are needed, and to examine and critique the icons it currently uses.

Get started by visiting the Dashicons Github repository, and joining the discussion in the #design-dashicons channel on Slack. Come join us!

Design contributor story and tasks

At the Community Summit, we took a bit of time to chart the story of a contributor. We did this to find our problem areas, where in the contribution cycle we lose contributors, and how we could improve. Our focus was on the issues, and getting actionable solutions. Each action item was assigned an owner. We also all agreed to some tasks, which we’d like to encourage all design contributors to join us in.

Each task has one or more person leading it, however, more contributions are welcome in those areas. Some are larger and may grow into bigger projects. The idea of assigning tasks was just to make sure someone takes ownership, so these tasks are actually completed.

Step one: Awareness

This is the start of the journey. We looked at ways we could reach more people, to show them that design is happening in WordPress. We also realised we had a lot of designers involved, but very little support for those designers.


  • Blog more about WordPress and the work we’re doing on it
  • Speak about WordPress at non-WordCamp conferences

People specific tasks

  • Look into PR/beyond our community: @mapk
  • Bring more WordCamp designers into the core community: @liljimmi@sonjaleix,
  • Get community members to design cool new WordPress swag: @karmatosed
  • Think about planning a “WordCamp for Designers” or WordPress designers retreat: @michael-arestad
  • Introduce “design challenges” as a way to encourage new contributors to get involved: @folletto
  • Create a design pattern library, starting with Gutenberg: @karmatosed@joen

Step two: Onboarding

Once someone discovers the team, we discussed how we could better retain them.


  • Make tutorials on how to get started contributing as a designer.

People specific tasks

Later tasks

  • Look into finding a gather interest via emails, and send out introduction emails to help new design contributors know where to start.

Step three: Once contributing

Once someone is contributing, the story doesn’t end there. We need to work to not have them drop off. We need to be constantly mindful of their experiences.


  • Support each other.
  • Monthly design hangouts to discuss various topics, TBD in advance.

People specific tasks

Later tasks

  • How can we create more recognition for design contributors?
  • How can we get more designers to take ownership over projects or problem areas of WordPress?

Step Four: Design leads and reps

Being a design lead can create a range of issues, and lead to problems like burn out. We all agreed we had to support and do our best to avoid this. We concluded design lead shouldn’t mean a solo mission, that way leads to issues in itself. We have been supporting each other unofficially, but that should be more transparent.

People specific tasks

Step Five: Bouncers

Whilst we had no specific tasks, we discussed that some people bounce in and out of contributing. This is actually not unhealthy, we should allow for life to happen and be OK with this. It is important to welcome back in and check just to see if people are OK when they’ve been gone for a while.

Step Six: Leavers

We looked finally at why people leave and stop contributing. How can we help that?

People specific tasks

Follow along and join in

To track and address these issues, we’ve created a design team Trello board. We can iterate, but for now this is where we can get an overview of what is going on. Want to help?

  • Keep an eye on the board.
  • Got an area you want to help with listed above? Add a comment, and we’ll pass your details onto the leads in those areas outlined above.
  • Is there an area or task you are helping design not on the Trello board? Add a comment and we can get it added.


Notes from community summit design session

Props to @empireoflight for notes. This post is just the notes, in the second post later today we will include the actual tasks broken down.

Props to @folletto for the sketch during our discussions and @saracannon for the photograph.

  • We did an icebreaker: What’s your favorite breakfast, what animal are you?
  • Discussed the current state of the design meetings on Slack. Expressed concern over not enough structure.
  • Maybe an identity crisis: are we a team, or are we support for other teams?
  • We tend to discuss topics that could be or have been discussed on other team channels, leading to a sense of disconnection.
  • Seems to be a lack of leadership in the team.
  • We should establish what’s happening/weekly updates, like summaries.
  • Proposal: a monthly meeting focused on a specific topic.
  • Onboarding is challenging when there isn’t a regular meeting with active participation.
  • Maybe once in awhile (weekly?), do a live hangout/discussion with the team reps instead of always relying on Slack for communication.
  • Office hours could consist of or be replaced by a triage of tickets.
  • This would give new members an idea of what to do.
  • Also need to help participants remember what they did. Many people lose track of how they participated.
  • We discussed mentorship/buddy system to help onboarding, where an established team member would help a limited number of new people (but not too many), as this has proven to fail, so maybe 4 or so).
  • Mentorship should be structured, possibly with outside help (not sure why I wrote this).
  • Can we find easy tickets for new designers to work on? Often they are more difficult than they appear on the surface.
  • This might not be a bad thing. The goal isn’t to find easy tasks that they can complete, it’s to get them excited about something that feels relevant to them, even if it’s complicated. Don’t worry about failure.
  • We discussed difficulty in communicating with other teams about their design needs. Although we could be more proactive about determining their needs, likewise, other teams should be coming to us. BuddyPress was brought up as an example of how design has worked with other teams (successfully, or as an example of the problems we experience? I wasn’t quite sure during the discussion).
  • There are a lot of “abandoned” design tasks on trac. E.g., Dashicons. (Could we review these as potential tasks for new designers?).
  • Gutenberg was brought up as the most active current project for designers.
  • What about a meetup/happy hour/some kind of outreach pointed specifically at WP designers?
  • It’s possible that WP isn’t a designer-friendly space. JQuery Foundation was mentioned as something designers successfully participate(d) in.
  • “Design First” should be the goal, but often it isn’t; e.g. the customizer.
  • Guidelines for feedback need to be established.
  • Setting up a meta sandbox environment is challenging (if not impossible) for designers.
  • We talked about areas for designers to get involved: front-end design/development, marketing, and testing
  • WordCamps often showcase the work of talented designers. They represent a pool of resources for the project; how do we get them to participate?
  • The concept of team reps was discussed. There should be a scheduled meeting between team reps from all channels.
  • We need to define who our reps are, and leads. Leads is the tough part; designers don’t often want to lead.
  • Can we get designers from the industry, who would be granted time to work on the project?
  • This is the case for developers. It benefits their companies when they get “props”. But designers don’t get enough props. How do we fix that?
  • Possibly add a section for “contributing designers” to about page.
  • Possible remove the categories of contribution, e.g. “Core Contributors” or “Contributing Developers” on the about page.
  • This became a new topic for discussion to the summit and was discussed later in the day.

Welcome Ben as a new design rep

As of today we have a new design rep, @empireoflight! Ben brings a different area of design focus to the rep team, so please join me in saying congratulations to Ben.

Design updates week one

This is the first weekly call for updates for those contributing to design, as outlined here.

The idea of these it to keep all designers connected. If you are contributing to design please add your reply as a comment to this post by Thursday 23:00 UTC. All comments will be combined into a weekly update post on Friday for the design team.

Not a designer but you have something you’d like us to work on? No problem, you can also leave a comment. Just tell us what it is, if a specific team or skill also tell us that.

So, lets start the first design team individual updates! Just reply to the following:

  • What did you work on this past week? Anything completed (don’t forget a link to show us the amazing work!)?
  • What are you currently focusing on?
  • Anything you need help with? Got a tricky project? Are you looking for a task? Perhaps you know about a task that needs a designer or need a buddy to work on something (lets support each other)?
  • Any links for inspiration you want to share (doesn’t have to be WordPress design links)?

Everyone is welcome to comment, adding names of all summit attendees first – your name will be added to list as you give an update (so we can include everyone):

cc: @melchoyce, @michael-arestad, @folletto, @mapk, @sonjaleix, @saracannon, @liljimmi, @joen, @empireoflight


Design meetings new format

The next few weeks are going to see a lot of posts as those of us that went to the Community Summit and WordCamp Europe update you all. This is the first of many, this time focusing on the weekly meetings and way we keep up to date with each other.

During the summit communication and support were strong themes, along with how we can all work across teams, making design better for the entire project. A few decisions were made and we would like to try them. As with anything, we should consider this something that can be iterated on.

  • Weekly meetings will cease to happen for now: over time attendance dropped on these. We tried a lot of methods but issues came from the time, format and nature of work we do. We all often have to attend meetings we focus on and meeting fatigue was an issue.
  • Weekly individual update post: each week a post will be made asking for an update as a comment from all designers who want to contribute – we want everyone to. Our goal is to automate this, but at least for a few weeks this will be manual. This will be posted every Monday and more details on that today with a delayed first post. We will also encourage in this post anyone to bring up design issues that are needed help with.
  • Weekly update post for design team: this post will come from the individual updates. These will be posted every Friday on the update blog, giving time for posts all week from people.
  • Monthly hangouts: we will have subject focused hangouts each month. The details of there will be worked out, but they will be announced with enough time to get involved. The goal of there is to keep the momentum of the summit and allow support and cross team working.
  • Weekly triage meetings of UI/UX feedback tag on trac: there will happen Mondays at 16:00 UTC, starting next week. @melchoyce and myself in #design on Slack will go through the queues. Everyone is welcome to join in, its a great way to learn about triage and also all areas of the project. We will begin with this being 30 minutes, but flexible to review that.

Wow that’s a lot we are going to do! The hope is this really gives options for people to join in. The #design on Slack is not going anywhere, you at any point can drop in there and ask for help or discuss design – please do!

As already mentioned, lets see this as an experiment and review in a few months.

Weekly meetings change

As of this week the weekly design meeting format is changing until at least July – we can evaluate after that. Instead of a structured meeting, there will be an office hours format. The first of these will be on Thursday 1st June 20:00 UTC. This means that if you want anything looked at or to discuss, just pop into the channel, but we will have no formal meeting.

This change will allow for upcoming travel and give us all time to focus on the core focuses and their design tasks. If we do need to discuss anything, we can always call a meeting.

As always, if you want help with something, or to contribute, the #design channel on Slack is always there. Feel free to drop in and join the conversation.

X-posting Proposal: WordPress Community Conduct Project

Please read + comment on the original post.

Proposal: WordPress Community Conduct Project

This week’s design meeting agenda for May 25th

This week’s chat is happening today 20:00 UTC.

This weeks agenda is:

    Lets discuss meeting formats

  • Open floor

Feel free to leave a comment and we can discuss anything people want.

See you in the #design channel in Slack

This week’s design meeting agenda for May 18th

After a break we are back with weekly meetings. This week’s chat is happening today 20:00 UTC.

This weeks agenda is:

  • Open floor

Feel free to leave a comment and we can discuss anything people want.

See you in the #design channel in Slack