This job opening is closed. Applications received after December 15, 2019, will not be considered.


Tails, a portable operating system that protects your privacy and avoids censorship, is looking for a design contractor to create illustrations explaining Tails.

About Tails

Tails is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower people worldwide by giving out an operating system that protects from surveillance and censorship.

We make digital security tools accessible to everyone, whenever they need it: activists, journalists, freedom fighters, and ultimately, you, whenever you need extra privacy in this digital world.

The Tails project was started in 2009 and has now more than 30 000 daily users.

Read more about our mission and values.


We put our users first, not profits.

Free Software

All our work is published as Free Software and we work closely with related projects (Debian, GNOME, Tor, etc.).

Small team

We are a small team that values transparency, autonomy, and horizontal decision-making.

Remote and international

We are a fully remote team and our team members can work from anywhere they want around the world. We have workers in 10 different countries.

Flexible commitment

People work for Tails full-time, part-time, or as consultants. If you like flexibility, Tails is a place for you.

Equal opportunity, equal pay

We are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all. We have a transparent compensation scheme where everybody enjoys comparable pay and benefits.



This work is part of a larger effort to improve the description and explanation of Tails, adjust the voice and tone of the homepage, and implement a newly developed brand identity.

The contractor will create illustrations to aid in communicating:

  • On the homepage: what is Tails and what are its main benefits

    6 small illustrations or icons, around 200px.

  • On the 'How Tails works' page: the main properties and features of Tails

    10 medium-size illustrations, around 400px.

The contractor will work as a team with the Tails UX designer:

  • The contractor will be responsible for all the illustration work.
  • The Tails UX designer will be responsible for the structure, text, and integration on the website.

Target audience

Activists, journalists, people who are being surveilled or censored.

People learning about Tails for the first time.

People who have to explain Tails to others, for example, digital security trainers.

Our target audience is exemplified by our personas.

Proposed process

  1. Mockups

    • The contractor and the UX designer work together to ideate and create initial mockups for each illustration.
  2. Usability testing of the content

    • The UX designer integrates the initial mockups into the draft content.

    • The text and illustrations is tested with a few potential users using the think aloud protocol.

      The contractor is encouraged to participate in the tests if they have experience or interest in usability testing.

    • Mockups might be refined as needed during the tests.

  3. Design & illustration

    • Full illustration (16 images)
  4. Revisions

    • 1 round of revision, based on feedback from the Tails community.

Proposed timeline

Final delivery: January 2020 or earlier

  • Week 1: In-person or remote sprint

    • Ideation and initial mockups
    • Usability testing and refined mockups
  • Week 2-3: Full illustration

  • Week 4-5: Feedback

  • Week 6-7: Final illustrations delivered


All work will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The contractor may retain copyright and will be credited on our license page.


Vector graphics are preferred as they will make the work easier to reuse and adapt in the future. Raster graphics might be considered if well justified.

Source documents compatible with Free Software tools will be provided as deliverables:

The contractor may work with non-Free Software tools until delivery. Only the source documents in the final delivery must be compatible with Free Software tools.

For example, in the case of vector graphics deliverables, the contractor may work with Adobe Illustrator but must deliver working documents in SVG format with all the objects and features compatible with the open SVG standard.


Billable hours paid up to 2 500€, including meetings.

Design considerations

Brand guidelines

See the brand attributes in our mission and values.


When using Tails, people trade off bits of convenience for some extra security. They might have very little time, be under stress, or physical threats.

We take the safety of our users very seriously and we speak to them in a confident and reassuring way without being lighthearted or frivolous.

Our style inspires trust but doesn't sound distant. Even though we address serious issues, we are always empathetic and encouraging.

To be accessible to our diverse and global audience, we value clarity and sincerity above all. We provide state-of-the-art tools without over-promising or sounding elitist.

Visual style

Tails doesn't have a visual style guide yet and the work on this contract will be some of the first professional visual design work done for Tails.

The contractor will have to propose a visual style that matches our brand guidelines and tone without being able to refer to more detailed visual guidelines.

The visual style proposed by the contractor must be easily adoptable and reusable for future work.

Color scheme

The illustrations must be compatible with our brand colors:




  • Our personas: how we think our target audience looks like
  • Boot menu animation: other visuals on our website
  • DuckDuckGo App and About: outdoors to illustrate privacy and empowerment
  • TunnelBear: explain a product using a nature-related theme
  • Google Doogle with bears: encouraging
  • Intercom: sketchy but serious

Design concept

Metaphor: Tails as a tent

Property of TailsProperty of tents and hiking in the outdoors
PortableTents are portable and can be used anywhere.
Avoid surveillanceTents gives you a private space in a public environment.
AmnesiaWhen you set up your tent, it always starts empty, from a clean state. When you tear it down, it is empty.
PersistenceYou can store your personal stuff in your backpack and unpack it in your tent.
AnonymityNobody know who you are when you are in your tent. Many tents look alike, making you anonymous.
Leave no traceWhen you pack up your tent, you leave no trace.
ToolboxYou carry all you need in your backpack. Tails is like a Swiss Army knife
Avoid censorshipWhen walking in the outdoors, you can go anywhere, without censorship.
Avoid trackingWhen walking in the outdoors, you leave no trace.
No virusTents protect you from nuisances: mosquitoes, rain, wind, etc.
No adsWhen going in the outdoors, you leave pollution and noise behind.

Images from workshop

These are images that Tails community members drew at a visual identity workshop. We've included them here to show how the Tails community thinks about the tent metaphor – they’re not meant to be exactly copied.

How to apply

Send an email to

Include as much of the following information as you want. All items are optional:

  • CV

    Feel free to share anything about your identity that will help us constructively consider your application. Legal name, gender, or photo are optional.

  • Cover letter

    • Explain us why you would like to work at Tails. We are particularly curious why online privacy is important to you.

    • Links to other contributions to free software, GitHub, or GitLab accounts

    • Links to your personal website, portfolio, or sample work

    • Your stories about participating in groups that value transparency, autonomy, and horizontal decision-making. What is/has been your role in such groups?

  • References