Design & Workstream Structure

In light of my departure from Gitcoin, I want to share an idea with you for ops, organization, and structure. I’m not advocating my for involvement in any way - only sharing an idea that I incubated during my last six months in the dao.

My biggest regret about Gitcoin is that design is still seen internally as a service function that makes things pretty. It’s understandable that with visual design, what people comment on and point to is what they can see. I don’t take umbrage with that.

Design is called a discipline for a reason. It takes tireless work and dedication to serve a wide audience with only a few tools: typography, color, spacing, form. My best hope for the dao is to learn how design as a functional discipline can route some of our more challenging product market fits into a win.

Design does this by considering the deep challenges we face through research, discovery, and unbiased insights toward action. This is intended to bolster and encourage future rigor in this area, not pour sour on the work anyone is sprinting on today (which I know nothing of.)

This is an example of design thinking a long-form and the depth of thought, intention, research and curation that goes into every piece of design the team makes.

As for structure, I believe the design team would be better served in the future by operating independent of a single team, both marketing or product. My proposal is for one person to lead a workstream much like a design studio, and essentially contract designers out to teams on a seasonal or project-led basis.

The proposal for this shape of design in a dao is below.

design x strategy team


Structuring a design x strategy team according to our unique function within Gitcoin. A strategy & design-led and funded workstream would serve as a properly scoped internal studio to the dao, including a project coordinator to keep projects on task. The aim of the combined team is to take a razor’s edge approach to functional design & brand strategy that serves our product teams in GPC, content marketing on all products, and service dao-wide brand requirements, such as signage, materials, and slides for events.


Designers being siloed within product or marketing keeps them from receiving the benefit and structure of a design-led workstream. Work and quality suffer as a result (regardless of how talented a designer is.) Designers on marketing are constantly fielding small requests with tight deadlines while juggling larger projects, such as the website. Product design is a bit of a black box and it’s difficult for designers to find the time to connect, even with design guilds and weekly creative reviews. Designers need cohesion and structure to explore.


Restructure all visual designers (product + visual) to work outside of marketing and GPC. UX designer(s) stay embedded within product teams. All designers are funded by the design workstream, and would essentially be contracted out to the workstream that needs design. GPC and Design Workstream share designers as a cost center in their resourcing budgets.

Product teams work proactively and collaboratively with the visual design team to apply visual styling, strong UI systems, unique illustrations for each product, and brand elements that help our products stand apart in the space.

Benefit to the dao

One cohesive design team creates one cohesive experience for our internal experience and outward expression as a dao. Design is managed by designers. Creating a self-sustaining design function within the dao lifts the responsibility from interrelated disciplines and places it squarely within design x strategy.

Benefit to GPC

Extra support for all aspects of product design: UX, UI, usability research, product-market fit, and product marketing.

Benefit to MMM

Lower cost center, lower overhead, lean workstream, less for workstream to manage. Stronger opportunity to focus on marketing content.

Benefit to design

Design-led orgs have a stronger focus on the people who actually interact with our products: people who use them, love them, critique them, and champion for their success. Higher quality design takes time, research, effort, structure, balance, proportion and a clear line of sight for the desired end result. Focusing on design as one team, one budget center, allows us to center an entire workstream on one goal: to create the highest possible outcome for the success of our products as we transition to a tech dao. Design is more than beauty, and it’s more than function. Design is a functional mapping of all the possible routes a consumer journey might take, and plans with specificity and priority for everyone. Designers map product flows, work collaboratively with product leads to prioritize both visual and UX design, and oversee every part of a product cycle from early stage ideation to shipping to measuring, tracking, and refining.

While our disciplines, skillsets, and areas of expertise may vary, the fundamentals of design remain the same. A dedicated workstream for design x strategy is necessary to fully embrace the role and function of a designer or strategist, whether their focus is on product or brand or marketing.

Next steps

Refine & consider approach

Last Thoughts

I’m sharing this to clear my drafts, not to become involved in a steward discussion.

Leaving Gitcoin was a gut punch, and I didn’t take time to say goodbye to many of you. I hope all is going well and may our paths cross in future crypto mischief.

If I were doing this role again, I would advocate strongly for this vision and work to partner with many of you to make it happen. As it stands, I chose to focus on the team in front of me and how design could best support the dao by staying in our lane.

I deeply appreciate the work we were able to do at Gitcoin, and continue to believe in its best parts. Thank you for letting me shape the visual direction with you.