Setting up a design system – Part 1: Overview

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Some changes take time

Working with design systems is slowly becoming a more mainstream thing. When we created the uiengineering initiative back in 2016, almost four years ago as of this writing, some leading teams and companies had already embraced the ideas of design systems, Pattern Libraries, and the necessary workflows. But many were not there yet to pick up the baton and start working in a similar way.

Status Quo of design systems in 2020

Today things are a bit different. Companies have stumbled upon the ideas more and more often, a lot more has been published, it is hard to avoid a discussion about design systems and their benefits and caveats these days.

Who is this design systems series for?

This article series aims at getting you up to speed and helping you in getting your design system started.

Now you might be a designer, a front end developer, a project manager, or the owner of an e-commerce site. Great, this is for you. This series will be for everyone, not too technical, important aspects for everyone on the team will be covered. Why? Because in short design systems are for everyone on a team.

My experience shows that there are so many things to be taken into account to make a design system successful, making it relevant, and keeping it alive and shining. For over a decade or so design systems have been evolving, at least what we would consider a design system today. Designs, partially due to the nature of the way code is written, has turned from mere layouts to more usable components. Something that has been used in many areas before as a standard, think about catalogues and magazines, but on the web this tended to be a bit different and changed while technologies and browser capabilities improved throughout the years.

What's in the series

We will be covering the following topics in this series. The topics will be linked as soon as an article gets published.

  1. Overview (you are reading this)
  2. Why do you need a design system
  3. Who is involved in the making
  4. Talking design system budgets
  5. Checking your UI inventory
  6. Platforms to be taken into account
  7. A test project for your design system
  8. Documenting your design system
  9. Reviewing experiences with a design system
  10. Finding the right software for a Pattern Library
  11. Workflow integration for a design system
  12. Design system stakeholders and guardians
  13. Auditing and quality control of a Pattern Library
  14. Living design systems vs. Parallel systems
  15. Nature and content of the design system

Feedback and Podcast

Just like a design system needs constant feedback and work, I am happy to get feedback from you as well. Should you have additional questions feel free to ask me on twitter or via email as there might be more than you interested in answers. That way I can add to the articles.

Furthermore there is a podcast over on in German for those who like to hear about design systems, Pattern Libraries and much more.

Last but not least I am happy to help as a UI/UX designer and a hand-on consultant in your projects, getting the basics set up, optimising and improving your workflows, making your design system shine and thrive. Feel free to get in touch. I am happy to help.

And now enjoy the first article

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