Episode 49

Penpot Fest with Jan C. Borchardt, Elizabet Oliveira & Peter Hanekamp


August 29th, 2023

42 mins 54 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guests

About this Episode


Jan C. Borchardt | Elizabet Oliveira | Peter Hanekamp


Pia Mancini | Eriol Fox | Victory Brown | Perrie Ojemeh

Show Notes

Welcome to Sustain Open Source Design, broadcasting live from Penpot Fest in Barcelona, Spain. Today, Eriol, Pia, Victory, and Perrie are hosting, and they have three guests joining them. Our first guest is Jan C. Borchardt, co-founder and design lead at Nextcloud. Jan provides insights into five key strategies for open source design at Nextcloud, highlighting the challenges and rewarding aspects of facilitating easy software user onboarding. The discussion takes us to Jan’s involvement in connecting designers and projects in need of design through a job board, diversity initiatives, and experiences in global conferences. Our next guest is Elizabet Oliveira, Senior Product Designer at Xata, who shares her diverse roles and experiences. She provides insights into design systems and their necessity in startups, and her transition from a developer to a designer. Our final guest, we engage with Peter Hanekamp from Kaleidos, discussing open source strategy. The conversation delves into audience targeting, integration plans for Penpot and Taiga, the benefits of open source for designers, and their strategy for maximizing value creation and facilitating community growth. Hit download to hear more!

[00:01:22] Our first guest is Jan Borchardt, co-founder, and design lead at Nextcloud, a co-founder of open source design, and an active member in open source diversity communities. He tells us about his talk which focused on five essential open source design strategies used at Nextcloud, and he touches on one of the design challenges.

[00:02:40] There’s a discussion on the role of designers as strategists, considering design beyond the visual aspect and towards strategy and problem solving.

[00:03:53] Jan discusses his involvement in the open source design community, connecting designers and projects in need of design through a job board.

[00:05:32] He tells us there are plans for the design community to work on updating the outdated website and provide more value to its users.

[00:07:04] Jan also works on a diversity initiative, reaching out to new communities outside the European sphere, He also emphasizes the value of participating in conferences in regions outside Europe and the US, such as FOSSASIA and OSCA FEST to gain new perspectives and ideas.

[00:08:57] The discussion moves to the importance of designers attending various events both developer and design focused, to broaden their perspectives and influence.

[00:11:57] Our next guest is Elizabet Oliveira, Senior Product Designer at Xata, and she tells us what she does there and her experiences with design and open source.

[00:14:03] Eriol brings up design systems, and Elizabet gives insight into her experiences with design systems. She also explains her frustrations with design systems with her role mainly involved with fixing bugs, dealing with feature requests, or updating old components.

[00:16:37] Elizabet mentions using Chakra UI and shares her prediction that Xata might either move away from their current design system, Chakra UI, or customize it extensively.

[00:19:21] Elizabet emphasizes the importance of exploring variety and creativity as a designer, and she tells us about some personal projects she created, like React Kawaii and Cassette Tape.

[00:21:36] Going back to Elizabet’s journey, she started as a developer, creating her music promotion materials, and later transitioned to design because she liked it more.

[00:23:20] We hear how Elizabet stays connected with the design community.

[00:27:18] Our final guest is Peter Hanekamp, from Kaleidos, the company that works on Penpot and Tyga. He talks about growth being not just about having a great product but also about the aspects surrounding it.

[00:28:59] Eriol brings up the audience for Penpot and Taiga and asks Peter to explain the challenges faced in reaching their target audiences for both these tools. He also talks about the audience for Taiga.

[00:30:54] Peter tells us while there are no plans to merge Penpot and Taiga, they’re looking into building integrations between the two.

[00:32:19] Peter shares Kaleidos’ journey from a team of developers to including more designers, emphasizing the difficulty of creating a good interaction between these two roles, and he talks about the benefits of open source for designers.

[00:34:41] We hear Peter defining growth for Penpot and Kaleidos as getting more users, getting more active users, and getting more people being fanatics of their tools. He shares his personal journey in Kaleidos and their strategy moving forward which involves maximizing value creation and facilitating community growth, which they believe that power user functionality should always be free.