Git for Designers

Or: spellcraft for the magic box • September 8 2011

If you’re a designer, you may have heard your developer compatriots talk about something called git. Git is the new hotness in what’s called version control or source control, which allows lots of people to work on the same codebase without stepping on each other’s toes.

Note for designers: all of this can be ignored. All you need to know is this: git is a magic box.

Unlike other magic boxes (famously known for containing all the evils of the world) git is friendly and largely idiot-proof. There are only a very limited number of transactions most any designer will ever need to have with it. Those are:

  1. Get stuff from the box
  2. Get stuff ready to go back into the box
  3. Tell the box “Here’s some stuff”
  4. Put stuff in the box

If you’re on top of these box-related endeavors, you’re good to go with git.

Do you speak box?

The thing about this magic box is that is speaks a dialect you’ll need to master if you and the box are ever going to see eye-to-eye. Happily, this is also easily accomplished via the below commands. Yes, designers, you will need to use some kind of command line interface, I’m sorry. The computer you’re using definitely has some kind of terminal application on it, and if you’re using a Mac, it’s even helpfully called

  1. When you’re in the directory where all the stuff is (get help with this if needed), do the following: git pull – this makes sure your box is up to date. Do this a lot. Like, a LOT.
  2. After you’ve made some changes to stuff: git add –all – this queues up all the stuff you just changed to go into the box, including any new graphics or whatnot you might have added.
  3. Give a shoutout to the box: git commit -m “Added more rainbow gradients to layout” – where the stuff inside the quote marks is the message attached to the bundle of stuff you’re putting back into the box. Pro-tip: tell people what you’re putting in, and why. This message is largely for your coworkers, not the box.
  4. And finally, put it all back in the box: git push wherein you push your new stuff and edited stuff back into the box, and close the lid firmly. Now everybody else will get all the stuff you just put in.

And that’s it. Congratulations, you know git.