Join the Evolution: Penpot's Journey Towards a Sustainable Model

Hi all,

We are starting a new chapter at Penpot, and we want you to be part of it, as always. As we explore innovative paths to sustain and grow our platform, your insights, and contributions are priceless. We know that making a platform like Penpot requires many great people with good ideas and a clear plan.

Because of that, we plan to launch a first iteration with a business model by 2025 Q1. However, we already want to start this conversation with our community. Your feedback will play a vital role in refining this approach, ensuring it aligns with the needs and aspirations of our diverse community.

Why Does Your Voice Matters?

Penpot is not just a tool; it’s a community-driven project that thrives on collaboration and open dialogue. Your experiences, ideas, and critiques are valuable to us, helping shape Penpot into a platform that truly reflects the needs of its community. Whether you’re a designer, developer, project manager, or open-source enthusiast, your perspective is key to our collective success.

If you would like to understand our path until here, check this post:

But what are our ideas for this future model now?

We are considering an innovative approach to sustainably scale Penpot while staying true to our open-source roots without resorting to an open-core business model.

This model aims to provide for free the complete Penpot experience as an open source product for all users (from casual to power). At the same time, organizations that require more control and customization of their Penpot experience will be ones contributing financially through a paid offer. In other words, there won’t be user-facing features behind a paywall.

Other simpler and well-known paid levels could offer limits based on some simple metric, such as storage for our public Software as a Service (SaaS) at or provide separate certified builds for self-hosting that are particularly enterprise-friendly.

We encourage all to join the conversation right here in our community space. However, if you are a part of an organization that could benefit from this model and would be interested in knowing more about this, please write to us on


Thanks for sharing this!

I’m not sure many people will have something to add since you seem to have a clear idea of how to make Penpot sustainable in the future.

Out of curiosity, are there already organizations paying for Penpot? In this FAQ post, one of the answers to @diacritica mentions a talk from Nextcloud’s founder. At the end of the talk he explains that Nextcloud has been profitable since day one, having customers pay for consultancy.

Thanks @theodore ! What I personally like the most about the Penpot Community is that no matter how clear our ideas are about something, when we ask for feedback, very often we get extremely positive support but also a “what if you also did this…?” and that makes us become a bit bolder (I’ve always said it’s easier to be bold when you have tailwind, and our tailwind is the Community).

Re you question on organisations that are already paying, the short answer is that we’re in conversations with some of them to make sure we’re aligned on what’s coming next but we are deliberately not asking for money right now.

We know the Nextcloud folks very well (I use Nextcloud, they use Penpot, it’s wonderful) but the consultancy approach wouldn’t work for us (also, they had an easier time since they were a fork of a well established product). Kaleidos, the mother company of Penpot, was a consultancy company for 10 years before pivoting to a 100% open source product company and when we discussed all of this we came up with these ideas:

  • We want to focus on product building.
  • We are a team player, we don’t need to own every single business opportunity around Penpot
  • We want to explore new ideas around open source and sustainability

Are you coming to PenpotFest? We’re going to host a panel or a workshop on all of this too!


Hey, I’m pretty sure you’ve already thought about many ideas, but here are a few that pop into my mind:

  • Enterprise support plan : a premium offer that includes quick dedicated support, or maybe a dedicated coach/technical support

  • Custom development : maybe you could offer this as a service for companies that would like to modify/add a functionality to their Penpot instance (although if it helps someone, if might also help others, so it would make sense to have it as a plugin)

  • Training: group or 1-1 classes

  • White labelling : give the ability to modify the Penpot logo and other things …

  • Advanced security features : you could offer to host some instances on an encrypted server, with advance security features such as 2FA

  • Create a premium bundle package with Taiga (especially if it’s planned to integrate Penpot comments into Taiga)

  • Sponsorships/Mecenat : for events, or regular donators that support the project in exchange of visibility

  • There might also be the possibility to generate some revenue through selling premium templates or giving access to premium plugins. But it has to be well thought (I’m thinking about the WordPress plugins library model).

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I love this idea! We use Penpot over at Fastr, and our focus is on functionality specific to folks running ecommerce businesses. There’s a ton of stuff that would be broadly applicable that we just haven’t had time to pick up yet (as an example, a smaller one we will be working on soon, Hyperlinking). It would be cool for us to be able to “Sponsor” development of things that benefit everyone while we put our efforts into the things that benefit our niche.


Why not open up the possibility of making free donations to support the project with platforms such as https://liberapay or opencollective.


First and foremost, thanks and kudos for launching this forum! It showcases how Penpot is maintained and developed by great individuals! Well, I’m a member of a worker-owned cooperative and we’re all about solidarity and a sustainable economy. Btw, It’s not easy to maintain a sustainable model nowadays.

I found completely understandable that you need to charge for the service you offer. And it sounds reasonable to define price levels for public usage and storage (, or even charge for a licensed copy (for self-hosting) and/or support. Though, charging for public storage is efficient for softwares which are designed to organizations that are unable to set up self-hosting. Not sue if it applies to Penpot.

Some ideas (nothing new):

:slightly_smiling_face: Pay after reaching a certain number of projects (
:smiling_face_with_tear: Pay X or Y after reaching a certain storage limit (
:hugs: Price levels based on team size (
:hugs: Price levels for different organization sizes (small/medium/large organizations, NGOs, cooperatives, students, etc.) (for a copy of
:thinking: Crowdfunding for features, which also helps to prioritize improvements.
:thinking: Work exchanges between the Penpot team and other open-source teams.
:four_leaf_clover: Annual donations, contributions, or crowdfunding efforts.

:cold_sweat: be aware of the risks that some decisions may pose, like:
“Organizations that require more control and customization of their Penpot experience will be ones contributing financially through a paid offer” sounds like an option that can easily turn into “organizations that own and control the future of Penpot.” We’ve seen it happening with many open-source projects out there…

And just to be clear, I’d say that a “symbolic” charge to get a copy of a licensed copy (with strong Copyleft rights) wouldn’t be an issue for me (especially when users are using it for commercial purpose).


I don’t claim to have any answers, but I like how Blender is shaping up in terms of sustainability and industry adoption. I’m not sure how they achieved this and if it’s still doable in the current times, but it’s worth looking into.

I should say I chose Penpot because it’s different from commercial offering since it’s open source. If Penpot would move more towards paid plans, open core, that would be quite the deal breaker for me.

Here’s what I do right now:
I have monthly donations to opensource projects that I use at my small business. My plan is to increase the monthly support for each project the more successful I am with it. I donate to which is in a similar situation to Penpot having raised some VC money (btw, I don’t like their open core approach, but I have no other option that is more open than them).

I would gladly have a monthly donation to Penpot to keep it open. Speaking as a small business owner, what I value is being able to be somewhat in control of my tools (selfhosting) and not be locked in later when someone decides they could buy Penpot and it’s users. As far as I see the Blender success story, it seems like recurring donations from the business sector is very important.

Perhaps we should answer the question, how can businesses and Penpot align their incentives?

As a business, I would pay to know my tool is actively worked upon and the risk of retooling is minimal. I’m making money, you should be making money.

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