Attracting more designers to Drupal is an important goal in our quest to create a well-rounded ecosystem and to attract more users to Drupal. While we made some great improvements in Drupal 7, we need to do more of the same with Drupal 8, and then some. After conversations with various Drupal designers and front-end developers, I decided that adding a new theme to Drupal 8 core is a great way to attract more designers, both as end-users of Drupal but hopefully also as contributors to the project.
I wanted to kick this off early in the Drupal 8 development cycle, and have asked Jeff Burnz to be the Initiative Owner for the Drupal 8 Design Initiative. This is the third official Drupal 8 initiative after the Configuration Management Initiative and the Web Services Initiative.
Jeff will guide the community through a design process with the goal of producing a beautiful theme that can be added to Drupal 8. The emphasis of this theme will be on design to show the world that Drupal can be used to create delightful experiences.
As important as a new theme for Drupal 8 is, so is the process of selecting the design and building the theme itself. Another goal of the the Design Initiative is to define and execute a new process for the selection and development of new core themes. Jeff has gathered a small team of Drupal UX-ers, designers and front-end developers to drive this process forward. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the coming weeks and months and your input will be sought — this will be an entirely open process, with full community collaboration an important part of the process.
Last but not least, hopefully we can continue to improve Drupal's mark-up, CSS and theming capabilities along the way, as well as further educate the Drupal community about the importance of design.
Long story short, this should be a great initiative for Drupal 8. If all goes well, not only will we get a new theme for Drupal 8, but hopefully we'll raise the bar for design for Drupal in a significant way. If you want to learn more about this initiative, you can find additional information in Jeff's announcement blog post.
If you want to get involved please see this discussion on drupal.org.