This is the roadmap for the Carbon Design System, based on our planned design and development path. It is a list of our priorities in various broad initiative areas.


Icon updates

This plan captures our work on the icons project for August 2019. This work will result in the general availability of the IBM Design Language iconography assets in design tooling, code, and on the site. It also includes work to introduce pictograms into the system, alongside general enhancements to our icon contribution process.

Primary goals

  • Deliver an Elements Design Kit to replace the existing IBM Design Language Kit and update our existing Design Kits
  • Deliver an improved website experience for finding icons
  • Introduce a new pictogram package
Icon project workflow

Icon project workflow

Workshop curriculum

Primary goals

Create interactive materials for part 2 of Carbon workshop for ECPs and interns


  • Introductions
  • Design Language/Design Systems refresh
  • Carbon Intro (discuss atomic model, open source)
  • Getting set up (design environment)
  • Exercise 1: Instructor Led Sketch Artifact creation*
  • (Review and Questions)
  • Exercise 2: Class participants use our Sketch Libraries to interpret AirBnB as IDL
  • (Review and Questions)

Content audit and strategy

Primary goals

Our primary goal is to conduct quantitative audits and to begin qualitative audits of the Carbon Design System, to understand where Carbon stands alongside other design systems. This includes the following work:

  • Conduct a quantitative audit to determine current breadth of components and patterns in other design systems and internal pattern libraries.
  • Conduct a full audit of the Carbon site.
  • Comparative analysis of other design systems and internal sites. Outcome is a list of best practices as well as things to avoid.

Stretch goals

  • Create standardized content templates of content needed (topics, images) for components and patterns.
  • Strawman IA for technical discussions
  • Lo-fi prototype to support technical discussions and UX explorations

Deferred items

  • Qualitative strategic assessment of target audiences, branding/messaging, channels, workflows, competitors, and influencers.

Component specification


The primary goal is to define the structure for a a written document that formalizes the specification for components in the Carbon Design System, alongside a structure and runner for rules to verify that specification.

This work will include the following

  • Define the minimum required sections for a component specification
  • Write initial specification for the following components: Accordion, Button, and Tabs
  • Implement initial rules for these components
  • Run rulesets against our current implementations in core
  • Reporting

Deferred items

  • Define the initial visual style for the specification document (more important to focus on content this project cycle)

Contribution model

Primary goals

  • Define scope for contribution model workshop
  • Host contribution model workshop to iterate through community model protocols/expectations
  • Define a clear protocol for contributors and add-ons
  • Define a clear distinction between Carbon and Community

Stretch goals

  • Document workshop outcomes and protocols

IDL site QA and release


We plan to launch the updated IBM Design Language website using the Gatsby Carbon Theme as the underlying codebase.

We will accomplish this by doing the following:

  • Image Gallery component #229
  • Spacing audit for all components in the theme #252
  • Mobile specific images #249
  • Sync up on content questions around UI pages #94
  • Close out outstanding bugs #22

Continued support

This project includes outreach, bug fixes, and issue triage.