The Open Design Community
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The Open Design Community, or TODC, is a community of web designers, formed in December 2006. Community members release free web templates for public use, over the internet.
The Open Design Community of designers, developers and programmers have the belief that development should follow strict standards in design, focusing on user experience and of course, web standards.
All designs are valid XHTML, as one of the purposes of the community is to promote the use of standards in web design. Most of the templates are released under the Creative Commons License, though some are released as Public Domain.
TODC was founded in December 2006 by members of the OSWD and Open Web Design (or OWD) groups.
Open Source Web Design, or OSWD, was first started by Francis J. Skettino in September 2000. Skettino set up a website with the goal of creating a community that would provide the world with free, open source website templates. OSWD achieved a large fellowship of contributors and visitors alike, building a gallery of over 1600 free designs.
In 2005, due to some disagreements, former OSWD administrator Aaron "MonkeyMan" Nikula created an offshoot site of OSWD which went under the name Open Web Design, or OWD. Most of the OSWD community followed him. OWD gained a lot of popularity in the web design world. With much of the original OSWD community at OWD, OWD managed to build a collection of over 2000 designs.
About a year later, November 2006, Nikula sold the OWD website. The new owner was accused of not paying respect to the designers' work. Hidden links were put into the templates that had been submitted to OWD. This caused the templates to break W3C validation and upset most of the community who had used the site to submit their designs.
After this incident, It was proposed that a community of designers can't rely on a privately owned website to release their work, and to promote the community's goals. It was decided that the community will create their own website which will be headed by a board of administrators, and all decisions will be made in a democratic fashion.
The Community Launches
Elections for the board of administrators were held immediately, and elections for the board of moderators are expected to take place by the end of the year. The current TODC administrators are Rubin "LobsterMan" Kaplan, Sean R. and Christopher Robinson.
Within a week of electing the board of administrators, The Open Design Community site launched December 2, 2006. It has since grown exponentially, having around 150 designs approved by the end of the first two weeks. The community has grown quite large for a site as young as TODC. The forum currently has many members from all parts of the world.
January 31, 2009 TODC founding member Sean R. leaves as a site admin to pursue a new design project called Get Free Web Designs.
The TODC philosophy is that every member has a say in the management of the community, and no decisions affecting the community are to be made by a single person.
One example of community involvement was in the designing of the Open Designs site. Several members submitted their designs and the community voted on the one they felt was best suited for OpenDesigns.org. Once the deadline was passed, the designs were posted and users got to choose which ones they liked best. The community ended up choosing a design by TODC member Snop and by the following day, the design was up.
The community also has voiced their opinions on other key issues as well, such as the site logo and slogan.
Future Goals for TODC
Shortly, the board of moderators will be announced. Monthly contests are in the works. Among the ideas TODC members have contributed are a TODC web design wiki, resource directory, blog network, and even having a TODC podcast.
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