A design system is a single source of truth that helps an organization's design team work more efficiently. It creates a standard design language to ensure uniformity and efficiency in designs and has transformed how businesses of all sizes create digital goods.
Design systems are practical tools that can change how companies approach product design. This article explores the fundamentals of the design systems process by defining and comprehending what a "design system" is. We will also consider the various types and strategies for successful design systems.
The size and speed at which UI screens must be produced have grown as UI design progresses. In addition to the fact that there are millions of applications and billions of websites (with new ones being made daily), each resource may have hundreds or thousands of pages (or screens).
Organizations urgently need to streamline design work due to this dramatic expansion. As a result, many design teams use effective design systems to manage designs at scale, and Fetchly is no different.
This article will examine the foundations of the design systems process by understanding what a ‘design system’ means. Also, we will highlight some of the types and approaches to making design systems successful in any organization.
What is a ‘Design System?’
A design system is a group of reusable parts with established usage guidelines. To assist businesses in achieving uniform visual design at scale, these components include pattern libraries, color palettes, and typographic standards.
Teams and workflows that employ design systems incorporate these design building blocks to produce consistent user experiences even when the design is distributed among many designers and other visual artists.
What is contained in a design system?
As the design systems in Fetchly get more refined, they start to contain standards for all customer touchpoints, such as digital ads, emails, and multichannel campaigns, along with specifics like typefaces, spacing, typography, iconography, and theming.
Design systems generally include;
Brand guide: High-level public brand standards, rationales, and other information.
Design principles: A common goal and industry standards that tie the many parts of the design system together.
Style guide for marketing: Recommendations for writing, page layouts, color, font, tone, and pictures.
Tools and patterns for product design: Design tools and reusable elements like design pattern libraries and code snippets.
Types of Design Systems
1. Rigid vs. Loose:
A rigorous system is comprehensive and all-encompassing since it addresses practically every use case. All new additions to the system are made following a stringent screening procedure, and such systems have thorough documentation and work with design and development in view.
Contrarily, a loose system gives the team more flexibility, and depending on the circumstance, the team can choose to employ it or not. Ultimately, the goal is to provide a fundamental foundation while creating room for experimentation and innovation.
2. Integrated vs. Modular:
An integrated system comprises pieces that are not interchangeable; they are made for specific situations and may not contain recurring elements. As a result, they are utilized to streamline designs for things like marketing campaigns and portfolios that demand a lot of creative thinking.
A modular system with many replaceable and reusable elements is helpful for large-scale designs like banking applications or e-commerce user interfaces. A modular system is adaptable to various design needs and makes it simple to grow projects fast.
3. Distributed vs. Centralized:
In a distributed system, the design system is managed by several individuals from various teams who use it in their regular work. Distributed systems are more likely to be adopted since most users are directly involved and feel a sense of belonging.
With a centralized system, the design system is managed by a separate team. They are responsible for ensuring the system satisfies users’ needs while supervising others' work and updating the system when necessary.
How to Approach the Adoption of Design-Systems
A design system can be applied in one of three ways:
- Adopting a current design methodology.
- Adapting an already-existing design system.
- Producing a unique or custom design system of your own.
Each has advantages and disadvantages, but the more customized your design-system solution is, the longer and more expensive the implementation process will be. Therefore, adapting an existing design system is the most time-saving and cost-effective strategy used in Fetchly.
A custom design system will be worthwhile if the firm has unique requirements that open-source design tools cannot satisfy. The cost savings could decrease by using the current design system as changes and adjustments to it will be reduced, and in the long run, you can develop your design system.
Before designing systems and weighing the tradeoffs, know your organization's requirements, which will help you plan effectively.
It's crucial to create a design system specific to a given company if you want it to help that organization as much as possible. A method that works for one company may not be appropriate for another since the goals of the various companies can vary.
Before creating a design system, consider its unique purpose, the challenges to be solved, and how the design system might be helpful. Although it initially requires some effort, it eventually improves the organization's efficiency.
*This is not the official Fetchly opinion but the opinion of the writer who is employed by Fetchly*