A set of design principles and standards for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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The CFPB Design Manual


This is the repository for CFPB's Design Manual for developing print and web products. It contains both the assets and the content for the site.

This Design Manual is an open-source resource for CFPB staff to produce effective and visually-consistent products that are easy for consumers to access, use, and understand. The Manual includes our design principles, guidelines for user experience, visual identity standards, and code snippets for common user interface elements. The Manual will continue to evolve as we learn what works best for the CFPB and the people we serve.

These standards reflect our latest thinking and are a work-in-progress. Our goal is to apply them to all of CFPB projects.

We are proud to join the community of organizations that have made their design standards public, such as Mozilla, BBC, and the UK's Government Digital Service. We hope our design manual can serve as a foundation for discussing and practicing user-centered design in government.

All content has been released as open source under the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, and we'd love for other agencies, developers, or groups to adapt it for their own use.

Technology stack

  • Ruby - For installing Jekyll.
  • Jekyll - Static site server.
  • Node - For managing front-end dependencies.
  • Grunt - Task runner for pulling in assets, linting and concatenating code, etc.
  • Less - CSS pre-processor.
  • Capital Framework - User interface pattern-library produced by the CFPB.

NOTE: If you're new to Capital Framework, we encourage you to start here.


This site is powered by Jekyll a Ruby based static site generator. For front-end tooling and asset management we use Node and Grunt. Before running the site locally you will need these dependencies. We use homebrew on Mac OSX to manage installation of software. To install the project dependencies using homebrew enter the following:

brew install ruby
brew install node
gem install jekyll
npm install --global grunt-cli

To install the site's dependencies, navigate to the project directory and run:


If you receive an error saying that bundle: command not found, run bundle install before re-running ./setup.sh.

To launch the site, enter:

npm start

This will start the Jekyll server and the Grunt watch task. Open a browser window at http://localhost:4000.


When first setting up this project, and each time you fetch from upstream, run the setup shell script to install the newest project dependencies and build the website with Grunt:


We use Grunt to build our asset files. The easiest way to do that is to run the watch task which will monitor file changes and re-build the assets whenever you save a CSS or JS file (Note: This is running when you run npm start, no need to run it twice):

grunt watch


Options within the _config.yml file allow you to control the site's title, subtitle, logo, author information, and the left column navigation.

Project Page URL Structure

This is an excerpt from the Jekyll docs on configuring your URL for Project Pages.

Sometimes it's nice to preview your Jekyll site before you push your gh-pages branch to GitHub. However, the subdirectory-like URL structure GitHub uses for Project Pages complicates the proper resolution of URLs. Here is an approach to utilizing the GitHub Project Page URL structure (username.github.io/project-name/) whilst maintaining the ability to preview your Jekyll site locally.

  1. In _config.yml, set the baseurl option to /project-name – note the leading slash and the absence of a trailing slash.
  2. When referencing JS or CSS files, do it like this: {{ site.baseurl }}/path/to/css.css – note the slash immediately following the variable (just before "path").
  3. When doing permalinks or internal links, do it like this: {{ site.baseurl }}{{ post.url }} – note that there is no slash between the two variables.
  4. Finally, if you'd like to preview your site before committing/deploying using jekyll serve, be sure to pass an empty string to the --baseurl option, so that you can view everything at localhost:4000 normally (without /project-name at the beginning): jekyll serve --baseurl ''

This way you can preview your site locally from the site root on localhost, but when GitHub generates your pages from the gh-pages branch all the URLs will start with /project-name and resolve properly.

Getting involved

We welcome your feedback and contributions. See the contribution guidelines for more details.

Note: Currently this file has standard language geared toward code contributions. Interested in contributing to design discussions? Just check out the issues and dive right in!

Additionally, you may want to consider contributing to the Capital Framework, which is the front-end pattern library used in this project.

How to track an issue

The CFPB’s Design & Development Team uses GitHub issues to track potential updates and additions to the CFPB Design Manual. We welcome the public to participate in our discussions and in opening pull requests to the Design Manual.

Design Manual Product Co-owners:
Each discipline, UX and GD, has a representative
Jessica Schafer (UX)
Candice Heberer (GD)

Manual content strategist:
Insert name here

Primary Maintainers:
Jimmy Wilson (FEWD)
Scott Cranfill (FEWD)


1. Create MVP
We work through open issues during group hack hours. During hack hours, you should choose an issue that has been prioritized with the “Hack hours” milestone, form small teams, and work to complete an MVP by the end of the session. This could mean completing the issue, providing a written recommendation, or simply outlining a plan for next steps. The goal will be to add something live to the Manual as a way to provide guidance to the rest of the team on that issue, as well as keeping the Manual a current source of our standards.

2. Review
Updates and additions are ready for publishing after an issue has been:

  • reviewed and agreed upon by a combination of 3-4 user experience and graphic designers
  • content follows DM standards and is reviewed by the Manual content strategist
  • reviewed by one of the FEWD Primary Maintainers to help spot any problems from a development perspective

3. Submit pull request
After review is complete, anyone can submit a pull request to merge the update. The Primary Maintainers are responsible for reviewing and merging pull requests.

The issue will be added to the Capital Framework backlog to be prioritized in upcoming sprints. DM Product Co-owners will attend CF backlog grooming sessions to assist in prioritizing issues.

4. Add patterns to design library
After the update has been merged and is live on the Manual, add .ai pattern files to the design library in the folder ‘New patterns’ within website templates for consumerfinance.gov on CFPB’s Google Drive.

Assigning labels to your issue

Where is it within the process?
1 - Working – apply this to issues you are working on during current hack hours sprint.
2 - Peer review – apply this to issues that need peer review before going live. The page should be reviewed in it’s entirety, including content, before being published to the Design Manual.


Hack hours – This milestone will be named with the month of the upcoming hack hour, for example “February hack hours.” Issues for that session will be prioritized and assigned this milestone in advance by DM Product Co-owners.

Expedited review for component or template updates

In general, we try to build using our templated components to create a consistent user experience and visual design across CFPB web products. If a project team encounters a use case in which they need a template change, a component change, and/or an entirely new template or component, please follow the expedited review process:

  1. Submit an issue to this repo requesting a review of your proposed change. @ mention DM lead reviewers (as noted above) and CF.gov Product Owner (currently Jessica Schafer).
  • Be sure to include your business or user experience justification for the proposed change.
  • The issue should include both a quick illustration or demo of how the new use case would be handled by established components/templates (if it can be handled at all) and how the use case would be handled by your update or addition.
  1. DM lead reviewers and CF.gov Product Owner have 1 week for discussion and consideration of the change. (Comments from others encouraged and welcome!) If consensus is not reached by the end of the week, the CF.gov Product Owner will make a decision.
  2. If approved, add the “Approved concept” and “Documentation needed” tags to the issue and implement the change within your project work.
  • If moving forward with the change requires modifications to our CMS code, the project team will take the lead with support from the CF.gov Platform Team.

By the time the project ends, Design Manual and Capital Framework documentation should be updated to reflect the change per the existing processes described above:

  • Team updates existing DM page or creates a new one to be published. Mark all approval labels that apply per standard DM process.
  • Once all of approval labels have been removed by discipline leads, team implements changes:
  • Update Capital Framework (ideally this will be done as part of project work)
  • Add to the Design Manual
  • Add assets to design libraries

Open source licensing info

  1. TERMS
  3. CFPB Source Code Policy