Design Systems

Creating design systems helps organizations to have a single source of truth which group all the elements that will allow teams to design, realize and develop products.

What are design systems?

A design system is a collection of reusable patterns, components and guidelines, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of applications.

Some examples of Design Systems: IBM, Shopify and Airbnb.

Why you should consider using a design system

By utilizing a collection of repeatable components and a set of standards guiding the use of those components, organizations have been able to change the pace of creation and innovation within their teams.

How to create design system

A Design System is not a single deliverable, but a set of deliverables. It will evolve constantly with your products, the tools you use and new technologies.

It will contain tools for designers & developers; patterns, components, guidelines. But also abstract elements such as brand values or shared ways of working.

1. Conduct a visual audit

The first step in building a design system is to do a visual audit of your current design, whether that’s the design of an app, a website, or some other digital product.

Collect all these design elements of your brand and interfaces and organize them in an overview.

2. Create a design language

The design language is the core of a design system. It’s made up of the patterns that you’ll use to construct your digital products.

These patterns will form the alphabet of your brand

  • 🎨 Colours
  • 🆎 Fonts
  • 📐 Spaces
  • 🔷 Shapes
  • ℹ️ Icons
  • ✏️ Illustrations
  • 🖼 Images
  • 🪄 Animations
  • 🗣 Voice and tone
  • 🔈 Sounds

3. Create a pattern library

In the next step in the process you create the actual components of your interface based on the design language you have defined. Collect all of the distinctive parts of your interface in all their different states and turn them into reusable modular components.

4. Write the documentation for each component

Documentation and standards are what separate a pattern library from a true design system. Without it team members might not know how to properly implement the design system when building products.

When should I use a design system?

If you think your organization will benefit from having a design system then don’t hesitate to start building one. Many big brands have now adopted design systems that have helped them build better products.

Are you looking to build a design system for your brand? Get in touch and let’s talk about how I can create one for your brand!


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