WordPress.com Gets a Perfect Score from the EFF for Digital Privacy Rights

At Automattic, we’re proud of our commitment to fighting for the digital rights of our users and of our work to keep the internet free and open. Today we’re honored to receive another perfect score from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in its annual Who Has Your Back? report.

The EFF is a well-known nonprofit organization committed to defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation, and their report evaluates internet companies on how well they safeguard user information when governments come knocking.

This continues our streak of perfect scores. We received 5/5 stars in the last Who Has Your Back? report that we were included in (2015), and 5/5 stars in the EFF’s most recent Who Has Your Back?: When Copyright and Trademark Bullies Threaten Free Speech report (2014).

In this year’s report, the EFF awarded stars to WordPress.com for:

  • Following industry-wide best practices.
  • Promising to notify users about law enforcement requests before turning over data.
  • Refusing to voluntarily provide government with access to any data about users for law enforcement, intelligence gathering, or other surveillance purposes.
  • Fighting for user privacy in Congress by taking a public position against the re-authorization of Section 702.
  • Standing up to National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders.

This last criterion is especially important in this day and age. NSLs are a legal tool that give the FBI power to demand data about ordinary American citizens without judicial review, while also prohibiting service providers like Automattic from informing the public or the users affected by the requests. The potentially indefinite gag orders associated with NSLs worry us, and many others.

Fortunately, there are new legal procedures that allow internet companies like us to request judicial review of the troublesome gag orders associated with NSLs. Unfortunately, we can’t provide specifics, but we can tell you that our policy is to ensure that every NSL gag order imposed on us (if any) is reviewed by a judge, as now allowed by the law. On the numbers of NSLs that we receive, we report the most we can under the law in our transparency report, which as you can see is not very much.

Outside of these criteria, we continually work to make our own legal policies and practices for safeguarding user information as user-protective as possible. We have stringent requirements for disclosing user data in response to government requests, we push back on any overreaching demands, and we’re as transparent as we are allowed to be (within the law) about the requests we receive. You can check out our bi-annual transparency report here.

We’re very encouraged that many companies in this year’s report scored well, and are thrilled to be in good company. This isn’t a zero-sum game; companies can work together (and with the EFF!) to advance policies and practices that protect internet users. We do what we can to protect our own corner of the internet, but also like to share our learnings with others who might build on or improve what we’ve done. This is why our Legal Guidelines, legal forms, DMCA templates, Terms of Service, and Privacy Policies are all licensed under Creative Commons licenses, and many of these documents are available on GitHub.

We hope other companies, especially smaller startups, can use or take inspiration from the policies we’ve built to further user rights on their own sites and platforms.

Thank you to the EFF for including us in your report, and for all of your work to advance important digital rights online. And thanks especially to every WordPress.com user for continuing to trust us with your sensitive information and content. We’ve got your back.

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The Best of WordPress.com: Summer Edition

Hi everyone! Here’s a snapshot of some of the excellent WordPress.com community advice, insights, and updates that we enjoyed over the past month.


What’s new

Introducing Your New Social Icons Widget

The Social Icons Widget allows you to connect your site to your favorite social media networks. You can activate it by going to My Site → CustomizeWidgets. Check out the full guide to using the new widget or just watch the video above to learn more.

An All-New Media Library for the WordPress iOS App

In May we launched a new media picker for Android iOS users, and in June, we announced a new media library in the 7.8 release of WordPress for iOS. It includes a top-level section for each site you manage. With one tap from the details menu, you can view all your media, search, edit metadata, delete items, and upload new items. How’s that for efficiency? Download the easy to use WordPress app for iOS and Android.


Designing for [X]: Visual artists

New Theme: AltoFocus

The AltoFocus theme features a tiled layout that’s designed to help visual artists showcase their talents. The grid automatically shifts to accommodate new posts, no matter the screen size. Try it out, leave a link to your AltoFocus-themed site in the comments, and tell us how well you think it shows off your best work.


In your toolbox: inspiration + insights

Blogging Made Easier: Five Tricks You Should Know

Leif Singer, part of the design and research team at WordPress.com, shared a few features that streamline your publishing experience, including how to easily add images to posts and respond quickly to comments. We hope these tricks help you accomplish your site and blogging goals.

101 Books to Dive Into This Summer

Illustration by Maya Sariahmed

TED Ideas (powered by WordPress.com VIP) compiled dozens of recommendations by TED speakers and published a summer reading list to conquer all others. Whatever your areas of interest, you’ll find something excellent on this list.

Quotables: “We are─or at least I am─equipped with this expansive mental chest of drawers. Each drawer is packed with memories, or information. There are big drawers and small ones. A few have secret compartments, where information can be hidden. When I am writing, I can open them, extract the material I need and add it to my story.” – Haruki Murakami’s Advice to Young Writers (Longreads).


Now following

WordPress.org’s new monthly updates, which has launched with a few awesome announcements for June.

Photographer Sean Strecker’s new site, strex.blog, shows off works like this photo of a winter sunset overlooking Burleigh Beach.

Follow us on Twitter for insights about the WordPress.com community, writing tips, plus the top daily business, technology, and social media news. Tweet using the hashtag #PoweredbyWordPress to share your latest work.


That’s all for now!

What did you love about your own work in June? Comment with a link to a post you’re proud of or something new you learned about designing your site. Feeling motivated? Download the WordPress app on iOS and Android.

Filed under: Community, Discover, WordPress, WordPress.com
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Widget de Iconos Sociales

Es un gusto poder presentar el nuevo Widget de Iconos Sociales, que hace más sencillo que nunca conectar con los visitantes en tus redes sociales preferidas.

Este nuevo widget da soporte a más de 40 plataformas seociales, desde los siempre presentes Facebook y Twitter, el refugio para artesanos Etsy o los enclaves artísticos como DeviantArt o Dribble. También puedes destacar música o podcasts con SoundCloud o iTunes, o incluso conectar con tu comunidad via Meetup o Yelp. También tienes la opción de enlazar el perfil de tu compañía en LinkedIn.

El nuevo widget ofrece más flexibilidad, dejándote elegir entre tres tamaños para tus iconos: pequeño, mediano y grande, de modo que puedas escoger el que se vea mejor con tu sitio. Y también puedes hacer drag-and-drop en el Personalizador para ordenarlos como desees.

Puedes activarlo ahora, yendo a Mi Sitio → Personalizar → Widgets. Y para los usuarios de WordPress autohospedados, este nuevo widget también estará pronto disponible a través de Jetpack.

Si has estado usando el anterior Widget de Iconos de Social Media, no te preocupes, ¡tu widget no va a desaparecer!. Puedes seguir usandolo si lo prefieres, pero te animamos a que cambies al nuevo para tener más flexibilidad y opciones.

Echa un vistazo a nuestra guía completa del uso del nuevo widget … o echa un vistazo a este video:


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Connect to Your Fans and Followers with the New Social Icons Widget

We’re excited to introduce the new Social Icons Widget, which allows you to connect with visitors on your favorite social media networks.

The new widget supports over 40 popular social platforms, from the ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter, to crafter haven Etsy, to artsy enclaves like DeviantArt and Dribbble. Highlight music or podcasts through SoundCloud or iTunes, or connect with your community via Meetup or Yelp. Business owners will also appreciate being able to hook up their company’s LinkedIn page.

The new widget offers more flexibility, letting you choose from among three icon sizes: small, medium, and large. Pick the one that looks best on your site! You can even drag-and-drop the links in your Customizer to reorder your social icons.

Drag and drop social icons

Activate it now by going to My Site → Customize → Widgets. For self-hosted WordPress users, this new widget will be available in Jetpack soon.

If you’ve been using the old Social Media Icons Widget, never fear — your widget will not disappear. You can keep using it if you prefer, but we’d encourage you to switch to the new widget for greater flexibility and more options.

Check out our full guide to using the new widget, or take a look at the video below.

Filed under: Widgets
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Blogging Made Easier: Five Tricks You Should Know

Writing interesting blog posts, creating attractive pages, and interacting with your visitors — these are essential ways to help you build a body of work, a successful business, or a growing audience online.

I’m part of a team focused on design and research at WordPress.com — I like to find ways to improve your experience, and to help you reach your website or blogging goals. In this post, I’ve compiled five of our favorite WordPress.com features that streamline your publishing experience and help you make an impact with your work faster.

Post Settings That You Can Hide

We’ve recently moved things around a bit in the editor. The settings for your post or page are now on the right — and can be hidden! Just click the cogwheel icon above your toolbar.

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If you yearn for a more minimal experience, hide the post settings so you can focus on your writing.

Add Images in a Snap

Visuals make posts and pages more compelling. But going through the steps to add image files often takes time and interrupts your flow.

Did you know you can add images simply by dragging and dropping? Just drag an image file from your computer into the browser window and drop it in your post.

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In the screen capture above you might have noticed a smaller, rectangular area on the right where you can drop your featured image. Many themes use featured images as header images or when displaying posts in lists. It’s an important image, if not the most important image, that you can set for your post.

A Visual Page Hierarchy

On WordPress.com, you can nest pages — a page can have a few “child” pages, and these child pages can have their own child pages, and so on. Many themes then use this information to display different levels of navigation. Super useful!

But until recently, it’s been a bit cumbersome to understand this hierarchy when working on your pages, and impossible to see at a glance. But not anymore!

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At My Site Pages, we now show the page hierarchy on the pages list (if you have fewer than 100 pages). This makes it much easier to scan your site’s structure and directly find what you’re looking for.

Change Your Slugs

When you give your post or page a title, WordPress.com automatically creates a slug for it. That’s useful, but if you’d like to change it, you can do so yourself by clicking on the chain link icon to the left of your post or page title:

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You can shorten the slug or even rename it entirely. For example, let’s say you had a page called “Our Restaurant’s Menu” — WordPress will create it at “/our-restaurants-menu.” But now you know: You can make it accessible at the shorter and simpler “/menu.” Ideally, you do this before you hit publish, so that your readers will have the correct URL going forward.

Reply to Comments From the Posts List

For many of you, being able to interact with your site’s visitors is one of the most important aspects of having a website. Did you know you can respond to your comments all in one place?

Take a look at your post list at My Site Blog Posts. If a post has comments, you’ll see a small chat bubble among the icons on the bottom right. Did you know you can reply to comments right from here?

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Try it out the next time someone comments on one of your posts. And if you get a lot of comments, this is an easy way to streamline conversations and keep in touch with your readers or customers.

***

We work to make WordPress.com a bit better every day, and we hope that these tricks help make blogging, writing, and designing your site easier and faster for you.

Do you have a pet peeve — a small thing that you think could be made even faster, simpler, or just better? Let us know in the comments.

Filed under: Better Blogging, Features, Resources, settings, WordPress.com
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An All-New Media Library for the WordPress iOS App

We recently launched an all-new media picker for WordPress for Android. Now, iOS users, you’re next! The new 7.8 release of WordPress for iOS includes a top-level Media Library section for each site you manage — making it even easier to share your images, video, and other media with the world.

With just one tap from your site’s details menu, you can view all your media, search, edit metadata, delete items, and upload new items.

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We know that for many of you your smartphone is your camera. We want the WordPress mobile apps to be the easiest way for you to store and share your photos and video on the open web. This is just the beginning of the improvements you can expect to see for
WordPress for iOS.

If you haven’t already, download WordPress for iOS from the App Store, give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Filed under: Mobile, New Features, Photos, Video
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New Theme: AltoFocus

Today we’re happy to announce the latest addition to our collection of free themes: AltoFocus!

AltoFocus is a spinoff of the original AutoFocus theme from a few years ago. Its elegant tiled layout helps artists, photobloggers, and other creatives showcase their talents.

Designed by Allan Cole, it highlights featured images in a way that engages readers and then gets out of the way of what truly matters — your work. The grid automatically shifts and re-forms to accommodate each new post you publish, creating an ever-changing collage of your creativity that draws visitors in while remaining clean and easy to navigate. And of course, it does this no matter the screen size.

Read more about its features on the Theme Showcase, check out the demo site, or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

Filed under: Themes
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The Best of WordPress.com in May

Hi everyone! Check out some of the new updates, designs, and insights that helped make May a great month for the WordPress.com community.

What’s new

How a Detroit Hackathon Turned into WordPress.com’s First-Ever TV Spots

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A team of developers launched new sites for small businesses in Detroit during a 48-hour Hackathon in February, an event which inspired the creation of our first-ever TV spots for WordPress.com.

Happy Birthday, WordPress!

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Celebrating 14 years since the very first release of WordPress, co-founder Matt Mullenweg says he’s “waking up every day excited about what’s coming next for us.”

Launching: All New Media Picker for Android

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“YES!! This is so awesome! I use my phone for photos so much and it was always so many steps to add pictures to the library to add to a post. Thank you!!”Nel

Register for a Free Webinar on June 6: How to Start a Successful Blog

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Whether you’re new to WordPress.com and want to learn about all of your options for publishing online, or have been blogging for a while and would like to hone your practice, consider this upcoming webinar on June 6 from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. MST (Mountain Standard Time) / 5-6 p.m. UTC.

May the Bot Be With You: How Algorithms are Supporting Happiness at WordPress.com

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Each month, we respond to 60,000 support requests on topics ranging from plugins to mapping existing domains to WordPress.com. Recently, in looking at how machine learning and natural language processing could be useful to Happiness Engineers in responding to support questions, we discovered two places where these technologies offer value.


Designing for [X]: inclusion

Inclusive Illustrations, By Design

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Automattic partnered with independent artist and designer Alice Lee, who seamlessly integrates abstract ideas with concrete solutions. Read an interview with Alice and John Maeda that is followed by another interview with Joan Rho, the designer who led the project.


In your toolbox: inspiration + insights

“The Backfire Effect” Is the Cognitive Concept of the Moment

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There’s a good chance you came across this lovely viral Oatmeal comic in May. It’s based on a three-episode sequence from You Are Not So Smart, a popular podcast and WordPress.com site devoted to the backfire effect, the name of a detrimental cognitive phenomenon which encourages us to shut out information when it doesn’t fit into what we already think we know.

What’s New at Film School Rejects

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Film School Rejects migrated back to WordPress in May, unveiling a new site design. Publisher Neil Miller talks to WordPress Discover about the move, what’s to come, and how he and his team pick the “perfect shot.”

Quotables: “All of us from time to time would think, What am I doing here? But we all had families back home that we needed to send money to.” – Chasing the Harvest: ‘If You Want to Die, Stay at the Ranch’ (Longreads).


Now following

Antonio Santos’s new site, antoniosantos.blog, features an excellent profile of Rosemary Musachio, Chief Accessibility Officer at Ruh Global Communications.

We’re digging the fresh, mobile-friendly layout of Nick Gray’s new site, NickGray.blog.

Hang out with us on Facebook for daily news and insights to inform and inspire your writing, design, and business dreams.


That’s all for now!

What did you love about your own work in May? Comment with a link to a post you’re proud of or something new you learned about designing your site. Feeling motivated? Download the WordPress app on iOS and Android.

Filed under: Design, Diversity & Inclusion, New Features, WordPress, WordPress.com
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Launching: All New Media Picker for Android

imageThere’s this… thing… in the Android WordPress app that we refer to as the “seven-item menu.” It would show up when trying to add a photo to confront you with a list of choices and we confess, we couldn’t always remember what option we wanted, either.

As of the 7.3 release, the seven-item menu is gone! We’ve replaced it with an all-new — and much more streamlined — media picker. See your recent photos below your post, multi-select using long-touch, browse your site’s media library, take a picture — all without leaving the app.

We know that for many of you, your smartphone is your camera. We’re working to make the best place to manage your WordPress media the place where you keep it — your phone. This is just the beginning of the improvements you can expect to see. If you haven’t already, download WordPress for Android on Google Play, give it a try, and let us know what you think!

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Inclusive Illustrations, By Design

I like to think that designers solve problems, while artists ask questions. And when the two go hand-in-hand, real magic happens. Why? Because the right question gets answered with the right solution — art asks, and design responds.

Here at Automattic we were extremely fortunate to recently get to partner with independent artist and designer Alice Lee, who seamlessly integrates abstract ideas with concrete solutions. The following is an interview with Alice that is followed by another interview with Joan Rho, the designer who led the project.


JM: How did you become an illustrator?

AL: My path is a little nontraditional. I was always an artistically curious kid growing up, but was never of the “stand-out art star” variety. Rather, I went to business school, and after graduating, I worked at Dropbox as an early product designer.

Some of my first few projects there involved designing for externally facing projects (new user education, onboarding flows, home & landing pages), and I found that adding illustrations really elevated my work — understandably, no one wants to read paragraphs of text describing file sharing. At the time, there weren’t any dedicated full-time illustrators on the team, so I decided to just do it myself, learning as much as possible on the side and receiving guidance from teammates. Eventually I transitioned over into brand and communications design at Dropbox, working full-time as a product illustrator. I left to freelance almost three years ago and have been illustrating since!

JM: I’ve found that many people confuse an illustrator as someone who is “good at drawing.” I’ve found that description to be terribly narrow-minded. Anything to add?

AL: That’s a really interesting question because it describes two key qualities to being an illustrator. The first is the technical ability to draw — one doesn’t necessarily need to be the “second coming of art,” but it is important to possess a foundation in basic draftsmanship. The second is the conceptual ability to think like a designer — as an illustrator, you’re interpreting challenging design prompts and figuring out how to present visual ideas that often represent complex topics.

Having one piece but not the other is extremely limiting; a great illustrator balances and sharpens both. If you have more of the technical art / draftsmanship piece, this limits the type of high-level projects that you can take on and requires a heavy hand by an art director to guide you through. If you’re more of a conceptual thinker but lack drawing fundamentals, it limits the way that you can express your ideas — e.g. perhaps you can only work in a few basic styles. It’s never so black-and-white, of course, but putting the two together in illustration yields high-quality, conceptually brilliant work.

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JM: Having worked in the technology world for many years, what recurring patterns have you seen in the kinds of commissions you’ve been awarded?

AL: I’m excited by the fact that illustration has become a huge part of the tech branding landscape; so many companies are incorporating illustration as keystones of their brand. Companies are now developing their own unique illustration styles that build into their brand voice, exploring different mediums, differentiating themselves, etc.

This is exciting to me because I love to work in a variety of styles and mediums; it’s a great feeling to extend yourself as an artist. Many of my recent projects have involved building illustration branding systems in addition to creating the illustrations themselves, and I love bring analog media and textures into a traditionally vector world. We experimented with this a bit on this WordPress.com illustration branding project, of adding a subtle, candid brush stroke to accent vectorized, precise shapes. With little touches here and there, under an editing eye, this interplay between mixed media does a lot to elevate what an illustrative voice is saying.

JM: Tell me about your commission from Automattic.

AL: This project had two parts: 1) the first, building out an illustration branding system: the voice and style guidelines for how to create illustrations that extended the brand; 2) the second, producing 50+ illustrations that expressed this style to be used for the product and marketing collateral.

We went through lengthy explorations of the illustration style: what brand did we want to express, and how could it be expressed visually? A key tension was in balancing the friendly, fun, accessible direction of the brand with the business need of still being professional and refined. In many ways, our final output reflects this: it’s a combination of sturdy, grounded shapes that fill out most of the composition, guided by the expressiveness and imperfection of linework that adds in quirky detail. The solidness of these geometric shapes is still tied in to the prior style of illustration used in the product, but the linework adds in personality, playfulness, and a hand-drawn quality.

JM: What was the same with respect to your past work for tech companies, and what was different?

AL: One thing I’ve noticed is that this balance of “warm, relatable, friendly, fun” and “polished, serious” is a common tension in past work for tech companies. I think this is due to a few factors: first, it’s a natural tension to exist when you’re trying to express complicated, often technical concepts via visually appealing illustrations. Second, though I work with each company’s unique brand voice, you can still see my personal voice coming through across all of my work: energetic, bright, and purposeful.

Something different that I loved was how the team uses the WordPress product to document and comment on the design process, because everyone is remote! We had a central illustration blog where I would post up each round of exploration, pose questions to the team, and receive feedback. At the end of each major deliverable, it was nice to look back on the progression and evolution of the style and work produced. It was a very structured way to document the process, which is lacking when your working files exist solely in emails or asynchronous chat tools.

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JM: How did it feel to be pushed harder on the inclusion question?

AL: It was something that I deeply appreciated. We all carry our own internal assumptions and biases; and just like in design, assumptions should be challenged and improved with different perspectives, user research, and critical thinking.

For instance, John, you had just gotten back from doing user research in the field, talking to small mom and pop shops and individual entrepreneurs in the suburbs. In some early illustrations, I had drawn a lot of younger characters sipping coffee on their computers to illustrate people working on WordPress.com, and you challenged the “perfect latte / laptop world” that is a common backdrop in tech illustrations.

This made me realize that there was a whole range of characteristics I was missing from my internal definition of inclusiveness in illustration, due to my own biases: age, occupation, location, lifestyle, socioeconomic background, etc. I worked to place characters outside of the “perfect latte / laptop world,” drawing different backdrops in the larger scenes, expressing different jobs and backgrounds through props and attire, and including a section on how to depict age in the style guide.

JM: What is difficult about taking this direction? And what is easier?

AL: It is always challenging but necessary to address your own biases and assumptions in order to produce better work. In the above example, for instance, user research about who actually uses the product helped inform what the brand illustrations looked like — which in turn results in visuals that are more in line with the business objective of catering to the actual users.

It can be difficult because it’s also personal: the biases in a person’s artwork can also reflect their personal biases. Sometimes it can be hard to be challenged on that, but it’s necessary to acknowledge and no one is ever finished with this journey. I also think it is easier to start with inclusion and representation as core values than it is to tack it on after you’ve finished the branding process.

JM: What are your hopes for how people use this language you’ve produced for us?

AL: Artistically, I hope that this language can be extended and applied across the platform by many collaborators: designers, illustrators, animators, etc. I always love to see how a style evolves, and I also think it is really cool to have distinct mini-styles within a larger brand family — so that would be neat to see.

Socially, I hope that we can use these conversations around inclusivity to spark a larger dialogue in the illustration community about what it means to be inclusive in the work we produce. For instance, I personally rarely see people of color depicted in tech product illustrations (or, on a personal note, even Asian characters). When John pointed out the “perfect beautiful latte / laptop world” bias that’s common in tech illustration, I sat back and thought to myself, “you’re so right!” It made me realize some of my own assumptions about what should be depicted in illustration, and I hope that we can continually challenge each other within the illustration community.

Just like photographers, art directors, and designers, we as illustrators have the power to be thoughtful and inclusive in our work, to create artwork that shows people that anyone can use these products, not just a certain perceived stereotype of who “should” be.


I’ve found over the years that behind every innovative project launched by a company partnering with an outside artist, there’s a special somebody within the company who cared enough to make the case for doing things differently. That person, in the case of this project, is Joan Rho — one of our new Marketing Designers here at Automattic.

JM: How did you come by the work of Alice Lee?

JR: I’d seen Alice’s illustration work before and admired both the quality of her work and range of styles she was able to execute. After a brief initial chat with her about her work, her process, and learning that she was already familiar with our platform having been a longtime blogger on WordPress.com, I could tell she’d be a great collaborator who could help us elevate and unify our brand’s visual language.

JM: What is “design”?

JR: It’s communication, it’s innovation, it’s aesthetics, it’s optimization, and it’s strategic. Design shapes the way a message or experience is delivered. Good design is informed by human behavior—it makes things easier to use, more intuitive, and more enjoyable to experience.

JM: Can you describe the development of this project — from its conception to completion?

JR: Our company, Automattic, was founded on open-source principles: community, collaboration, and hard work. We’re fully distributed with our ~550 employees spanning the globe representing over 50 countries and over 76 different languages. WordPress.com, our major product in our family of offerings, is powered by WordPress, the open-source software project (which was co-founded by our CEO). WordPress.com has been around since 2005 and is primarily known as a powerful blogging platform. However, these days, you can use WordPress.com to do much more—such as starting a website for your business, creating a portfolio, or even just getting a domain name. So, as part of updating our message to communicate this better, we wanted our visual language to also reflect what we stand for and what we offer.

This illustration project was a collaborative effort that looped in many different members of our Automattic team spanning various timezones, cultures, and backgrounds. Some of our collaborators weren’t even designers, but one thing they all had in common was that they intimately knew WordPress.com and Automattic, which helped me greatly as a relative newcomer to the company. I had the benefit of working closely with Kjell Reigstad, a more veteran designer on the team, who was my “brand partner” in this project from the start. Kjell’s knowledge of our brand’s history helped us develop an illustration language that combined a geometric style in line with how we historically represented the WordPress.com brand with a newer, organic style that felt more distinctive and embodied our brand values and personality.

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JM: What are a few turning points in its evolution where you saw “inclusion” coming into the picture?

JR: During one of our creative reviews, we were exploring the representation of human characters (which we hadn’t ever used before across our site pages or UI) and it was actually a comment by you, John, that initiated the discussion of introducing more diversity in skin tones, body types, hair color, age, etc. into these characters. Many Automatticians joined the conversation thanks to a prompt by Mel Choyce, sharing personal stories and pictures of themselves and their friends representing a wide variety of people, backgrounds, and personal styles. This provided inspiration for the diverse cast of characters you can now see across our brand illustrations. As a minority female who grew up seeing mostly Caucasians represented in media and design, it’s been very rewarding to help shape a more inclusive brand identity.

JM: When you consider our company, as a fellow newbie as we joined around the same time last year, what lessons do you take away from leading this project with Alice?

JR: Your best work will always be the result of collaboration. Great collaboration happens only with equal trust, respect, and engagement from everyone involved. Leadership isn’t about bossing people around; it’s about fostering an environment that encourages great collaboration.

JM: Any shoutouts for other designers who participated in this work?

JR: Shoutout to Alice Lee, Kjell Reigstad, Ballio Chan, John Maeda, Ashleigh Axios, Dave Whitley, Davide Casali, Mel Choyce, and all of the Automatticians who participated in the brand discussions and creative reviews throughout the process.


You can find these new illustrations by Alice Lee on any of our main pages, such as /create-website, /create-blog, /business, /personal, /easy, /premium, and more!

And you can read the complete story behind these illustrations at Alice Lee’s site right here from the same titled post, Inclusiveness in Illustration.

Filed under: Design, Diversity & Inclusion, WordPress.com
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