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How Open Licensing Is Transforming Design

When designers share their work under an open license, they invite others to build upon and transform their designs without asking for permission, sometimes even using them commercially. A few years ago, the idea of letting non-clients steal your work was crazy; today, it’s a big part of how designers network, collaborate, and create professional opportunities for themselves and each other.

This panel will explore the possibilities of open design, with panelists running the gamut from small, community-driven projects to major industry players. Learn why attitudes about open licensing and Creative Commons have changed in the design world, and what those changes mean for designers’ careers.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How does “downstream” use of open-licensed designs benefit the designer?
  2. Can designers make a living by openly licensing their work? How?
  3. Is the abundance of free content online blurring the line between professional designers and hobbyists? Is that a good thing?
  4. What factors should designers think about before choosing to share their work under Creative Commons?
  5. Does Creative Commons make it harder for designers to make money?



Elliot Harmon, Communications manager, Creative Commons

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