How to Empower Design Contributors

Adam Hayes

The year was 2015. I was looking over my friend's shoulder while he was designing a logo for me in Photoshop.

I would watch his left hand contort into strange shapes to hit hotkeys while the program would instantly keep up with him. To me, this was magic.

He looked at me and said, “This is the last project I’m doing for you… I’m going to teach you how to fish.”

After pirating Illustrator (sorry Adobe) and watching hundreds of YouTube tutorials (really thousands) my skill set and appreciation for design blossomed.

Having an appreciation and blossoming design community can be one of your DAOs most important assets, if you use it properly.

Here are simple ways you can start to cultivate a vibrant design contributor program.

Good design lifts all ships

Design can help communicate your ideas in a NFT, be the recipe for a viral social post, or help you build a community that people resonate with your mission.

If you haven't gone down the "design rabbithole" and are not sure how to empower your design community, here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Define your brand guide 
  2. Update your social assets
  3. Design your product
  4. Swag contests
  5. Make memes
  6. Landing page

Define your brand guide 

If you haven’t defined your brand feel yet, this is the perfect place to start. It will make all other work designers do to be vital to creating a cohesive brand.

In this brand guide, you can do everything from logo design, colors, and typography.

If you have already designed assets, make it a public library that other people can pull from.

If you want to co-create the brand feel with community, that is good also.

Put out a task or bounty for someone to create your brand guide.

Designers know what this means ;)

But you should expect a folder with assets / a one-pager on how to use and communicate your brand visually.

Being able to reference this folder which should have your logo / all brand assets will save you a TON of time in the future.

You can also put your brand guide on your docs page so contributors can easily reference it.

Update your social assets 

A social makeover is key.

This is easy to recreate after you have a brand feel.

Same with you profile picture (use a classic logo).

  1. Update your Twitter banner
  2. Improved Twitter logo
  3. Instagram posts(do people still use IG?!)
  4. Discord logo (can do an animated one)
  5. Discord stickers (this is fun bigger community project)

Whether you are Kim K or you're anti-social media, either way if your DAO is using it, you should be putting your best foot forward.

Empowering design to help with content is a huge unlock for your DAO.

Designing your product

Design is a big field. Some people are specialists in UI/UX. Some are high-fidelity pixel perfect designers, others are animators. Even if you have a core team building your product, you shouldn't be afraid to have design contributors help.

If you don’t have a full-time designer, this is an obvious way to empower your community of designers.

We recommend doing longer term work with fewer contributors on product. It is complicated to build a product design system from the ground up. Slight contributions here and there are a good way to get your product stalled.

But if you want to open source the project as much as you can, we recommend creating a PRD and then openly sharing it with your design contributors. You can put out a bounty on building out task features, or assign it to specific contributors.

Going from 0 to 1 is a lot of work.

We recommend doing calls dedicated specifically to product design to increase the relationship and communication loop.

If you’re looking to make a full-time hire, sourcing from your community is a great way to go and starting with design challenges is the perfect way to source your perfect designer.

Swag is #1

A t-shirt can be one of the biggest community forming elements. The best way to get the community involved is to have a swag contest.

You can host an open vote for them where you can have the community vote. This gets deeper buy in on the swag also and makes the entire community feel involved.
(We recommend using Metafactory when actually ordering your web3 swag.)

Now with that being said, we’re against what 99 designs has done to design work. We don’t believe only a fraction of people should be paid for their work.

When you decide to use our bounty for task payouts, we recommend it’s done for deepening community engagement vs. trying to get a lot of work for a little pay out.

Make it fun, make it a contest and let people be creative (the coolest design should win)!


Meme made by Kim Ndolo

Memes might be the most important part of any community.

They are a community deepening act, and  way to show camaraderie and communicate values. Having a healthy meme culture is one of the best ways for your DAO to be hyper successful.

It breaks through promotion barriers and has a viral element.

The memes your community makes is one of the best temperature gauges into what you’re doing.

Having a payout for original meme content is a great model.

You can put a bounty on a Content Pod that pays out on each accepted meme.

Good project memes are priceless.

Landing pages

The key to a good DAO is a well designed landing page.

If you don't have a landing page you're proud of yet, this is perfect for your designers.

To set them up for success, it's good to have an online of the copy you want to use (or at least a rough outline).

The tough part is that it's hard to take a Figma file and turn it into a pixel perfect design.

To free up engineering resources, we recommend hosting your site on "no-code" website builders so any contributor can pop in and make edits.

Design for life

So, we hope you have a deeper appreciation for good design and feel inspired to really engage the designers in your community.

There are a ton of ideas and ways to get involved, the main one is just start.

Once the opportunities open up, the designers will come.

If you have any questions about design, please reach out in our Discord - we're always down to nerd out about this stuff!

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