Episode 44

Isaac Zara of Flipside on building timeless brand system and guidelines


June 20th, 2023

37 mins 15 secs

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About this Episode


Isaac Sixtus Chizaram (Isaac Zara)


Richard Littauer | Django Skorupa

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers. Our guest today is Isaac Zara, an open source enthusiast who works at Flipside as a brand designer. Isaac shares his journey into open source, his work as a brand experience designer, his experience mentoring designers in open source projects, and his design philosophy. He also gives us a glimpse of what’s next for him which includes personal branding projects and how he plans to integrate storytelling into brand designs. Hit download to learn much more!

[00:02:51] Isaac tells us why he considers himself a designer first, a human second, and an open source designer third.

[00:03:35] We hear Isaac’s journey through open source and how he got started.

[00:06:00] Isaac was on the design committee for Drupal, and we find out what he designed for them.

[00:07:34] At Flipside, Isaac works as a brand designer, building the brand identity and making the visual assets cohesive across all marketing channels.

[00:08:54] We learn about the community being quite different in the Web3 space, using VLC, and how he feels we need more people with this open source beauty mentality in Web3.

[00:10:57] Isaac emphasizes the importance of building a brand system that will stand the test of time, which involves developing an identity that is timeless and consistent with the brand’s values. Also, he notes that open source projects can only stand the test of time with the support of a community and a process that makes it easier for people to take over where the designer leaves off.

[00:14:21] As a brand designer, he talks about the importance of creating brand guidelines for open source projects to maintain consistency in visual design and recommends making the brand guidelines accessible to everyone involved in the project.

[00:16:20] Isaac discusses the role of design in attracting new users and contributors to open source projects.

[00:18:32] We hear the role of design in attracting new users and contributors to open source projects.

[00:22:25] Isaac explains the way to sell a product is by communicating the value to people out there and the importance of creating a visually appealing pitch to investors. He also brings up CHAOSS, CHAOSS Africa, and Ruth Ikegah.

[00:26:42] While Isaac hasn’t specifically worked on open source projects looking for financial contributions, he notes that it’s important to make funding accessible and easy to navigate on the project’s website to encourage financial support.

[00:28:14] We hear about his experience mentoring others in open source projects and his approach to design.

[00:29:02] What’s hard for Isaac about design in open source?

[00:31:11] We hear what’s next for Isaac, such as his personal branding projects and how he wants to incorporate storytelling into his brand designs.

[00:32:09] Find out where you can follow Isaac on the web.


[00:03:09] “What gave me the privilege to contribute to open source because I had a design skill.”

[00:14:30] “Devs call it documentation, we call it brand guidelines.”

[00:17:04] “It’s hard to create something that will be cohesive if there’s no guide. Just imagine when you walk into an open forest without a compass.”

[00:21:07] “It can be hard to translate your greatness you have within you, if they’re not seeing you speak visually.”

[00:22:45] “As a brand designer, I see myself as a value maker, as an innovator.”


  • [00:33:02] Django’s spotlight is two mentors, Ruth Ikegah and Eriol Fox.
  • [00:33:58] Richard’s spotlight is a colleague, Chihurumnaya Ibiam.
  • [00:35:00] Isaac’s spotlight is Rachel Lawson.