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What is Carbon?

Carbon is IBM’s open source design system for products and digital experiences. With the IBM Design Language as its foundation, the system consists of working code, design tools and resources, human interface guidelines, and a vibrant community of contributors.


As IBM’s official design system, Carbon serves a wide range of designers and developers building digital products and experiences.

Carbon is funded and built by IBM. Although that means we build for the company’s business needs, it also means we have a brilliant team of engineers and designers working full time to make Carbon better. It is maintained by a core team of designers, developers, and writers based in the Austin, Texas IBM Design Studio.

The goals of the design system include improving UI consistency and quality, making the design and development process more efficient and focused, establishing a shared vocabulary between designer and developer, and providing clear, discoverable guidance around design and development best practices.

The design system is built React first. We also support core parts of the system in vanilla JS, Angular, Vue, and Svelte. If you’re using a different framework, you can still build components by following our guidelines for other frameworks.

Guiding principles

Carbon is open. The design system is a distributed effort, guided by the principles of the open source movement. Carbon’s users are also its makers, and everyone is encouraged to contribute.

Carbon is inclusive. It’s designed and built to be accessible to all, regardless of ability or situation.

Carbon is modular and flexible. The system’s modularity ensures maximum flexibility in execution. Its components are designed to work seamlessly with each other, in whichever combination suits the needs of the user.

Carbon puts the user first. Using rigorous research into users’ needs and desires, Carbon is laser-focused on real people.

Carbon builds consistency. Based on the IBM Design Language, every element and component of Carbon was designed from the ground up to work elegantly together to ensure consistent, cohesive user experiences.