GitHub’s version control and the issue tracker are handy tools also for non technical projects.

Have you ever considered using GitHub for your design projects in order to manage versions of your artworks and to collaborate with your team?

Let’s check this out and see what benefits and constraints there are.

Principally most collaboration features are working also for design projects:

  • Issue tracker is great to keep track of what needs to be done and discussing stuff
  • Milestones can be use to schedule issues.
  • Wiki can be used to collaborate on a corporate design manual or just in order to write down specs.
  • Commit messages are a great way of summarizing changes and also documenting the process.

Supported File Formats

Besides all those benefits, what’s most important: what kind of files are supported by GitHub. While common web formats for pixel graphics like png and jpg can be compared using the awesome image diff view modes (2-up / Swipe / Onion Skin / Difference) proprietary formats like PSD can’t be displayed in the web app at all. Using a Fireworks PNG is probably the best choice for pixels, as diff view modes are working while having a fully editable layered file.


What should be considered with pixel graphics though is that GitHub limits the file size to 100 MB and a repository shouldn’t be larger than 1 GB in total.

When it comes to vector graphics, it’s worth having a look at SVG. SVG files are written in open and readable xml code. That means you can benefit from git’s full potential. Each commit/change can be reverted separately. Unfortunately GitHub doesn’t display SVGs yet and there is no chance of having a visual comparison.

Display at
Display in GitHub for Mac
Display in GitHub for Windows
Image diff view mode
Revert single commits

For testing file support I’ve made a public repository – feel free to play around with it.


If you don’t feel GitHub is the right choice for your design project you might want to check out other solutions which are particularly built for designers, their specific files and processes:

  • Layervault - Version control for designers.
  • Pixelapse – Visual version control for designers.
  • Pixelnovel – Subversion client for designers

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