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Get started

Welcome to Carbon! If you’re just starting out designing with Carbon, you’re in the right place. Here’s a checklist of everything you need to get up and running.

Install design kits

Our primary design kits are built in Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD. All three tools are supported by Carbon for the foreseeable future with Figma having priority over Sketch and Adobe XD for support and maintenance. The design kits are also available in both the latest versions of Carbon with support for v11 prioritized over v10.

These primary kits include all the Carbon core components and styles for your reuse in your product and web experiences to create Carbon compliant designs. By using the kits you will automatically receive updates made to the Carbon libraries ensuring your designs stay up to date with the latest release as well as ensuring consistency between design assets and code.

Head on over to the Design kits section and follow the install instructions to get set up.

Design toolCarbon versionStatusMaintainer
Figmav11AvailableCarbon Figma Guild
v10Available – limited supportCarbon Figma Guild
Sketchv11AvailableCarbon Sketch Guild
v10Available – limited supportCarbon core team
Adobe XDv11AvailableCarbon core team
v10Available – limited supportCarbon core team

Additional design assets

In Other resources, you’ll find links to icon libraries, color palettes, grid and shell templates, the IBM Plex font, and the Github repos. As well as additional kits for mid-fidelity wireframing and prototyping tools like Invision Freehand and Axure.

Learn about foundational guidance

Carbon expresses the IBM Design Language in product and delivers it through tools for designers and developers including guidance, tooling, components, and support. Learn what drives IBM’s design philosophy and principles so that you can make informed decisions in your product work.

The IBM brand systems have been developed for various IBM businesses, audiences, categories, and offerings. Read them to understand the rationale behind every visual and verbal detail to ensure your work is built on these important foundations. This content is accessible to IBMers only.

Review our usage guidance

Our usage guidance is detailed and thorough, and you’ll learn a lot about the system by reading through the components and patterns documentation.

  • Components: Carbon provides in-depth design usage and style guidance for all components. It’s important to be familiar with this additional UX and visual guidance when you are designing with our components.

  • Patterns: We also offer a range of key patterns—best practice solutions for how a user achieves a goal. These design patterns have been harvested from products built with Carbon, and have been reviewed and approved for use by the Carbon governance team.

Connect with us

Join us and the Carbon community

For IBMers only: If you have a question about any aspect of the kits or tools, you can reach out to us on Slack and use that as a way to connect with your fellow designers. Chances are someone has had a similar problem to you and will jump in to help you out.

And be sure to sign up for the latest Carbon news at #carbon-announcements.

Learn about what we’re doing

You can find out about Carbon’s latest changes and future plans on the Releases page.

If you have questions, here are all the ways to contact us.

Join us at a meetup

Attend one of our meetups to connect with us and level up your skills. The bi-weekly design playback is great for getting feedback on work in progress from a group of designers and design leaders dedicated to your success.

If there’s something in particular you’re interested in, we’d love to hear from you.

Learn about the benefits

Learn more about the benefits of using Carbon as a designer, and how Carbon benefits all members of a product team.