Having a well-planned design system in place makes it easier for development and design teams to work together. One that takes into account everything from individual buttons to full web pages can significantly reduce the amount of time and effort needed to accomplish the set objective.

Design systems aid industry players by making the design process more standardized and predictable. Many businesses make the effort to create their own design system from scratch. However, despite best intentions, a product team’s hard work on a well-considered design system doesn’t always pay off.

What is a Design System?

In simple words, a design system is a library of digital materials used by UI/UX design and development firms, including but not limited to papers, articles, code snippets, screenshots, guidelines, components, and more.

A design system is a large database divided into the following sections: documentation, graphic components, suggestions, and references. It can and ought to be expanded upon, enhanced, and strengthened with other elements.

If it still strikes you as the standard practice, we’ll immediately disprove it. Colour, typeface, logo, and other visual design hints are provided in the style guide. The design system itself is made up of a lot more. Style, tone of voice, brand positioning, partnership tips, and advertising ideas may all be found here. Being comprehensive and taking into account every little element is one of the design system’s guiding principles.

Key considerations For Building an Eye-Catching Design System

Consider Product And Company Maturity

You should know exactly why you need a design system before you begin creating one. In an effort to save costs and shorten the product development cycle, several businesses have begun using design systems (by spending less time on tedious, monotonous activities). Due to the fact that each company has a varied degree of design maturity, not all businesses experience these issues.

Building a design system from start is a lengthy process, and small teams that move quickly probably don’t need one because it would slow them down. A small company of three to five people still testing the waters for a product-market fit would likely invest a lot of effort in developing its system. When time and effort are devoted to creating a design system, they are taken away from creating the actual product. So, until a company has a clear idea of where it wants its product to go, spending time making a design system could lead to a lot of wasted time and money.

Create a Vision Statement

A design system is all about how people work together to reach a common goal. And people want to know how to answer these questions:

  • Where do we want to go?
  • What do we want to get out of this?
  • Why are we trying to do that?

You must provide answers to these essential issues in order to create a unified vision. A design system will be built around a common vision and provide teams with a framework for developing answers to their product issues.

A vision statement outlines your team’s, product’s, or company’s goals and, more importantly, its motivations. It unifies everyone engaged in product development and directs them toward a shared purpose by bringing teams together around a distinct set of agreed-upon objectives.

One easy approach to writing a vision statement is to describe the ideal condition of your product or organization in five years. Doing so will help you define success and make it simpler to build a plan to get there.

Establish Guiding Design Principles

To what extent do you think you can define excellent design? When is it safe to put anything into action? Designers often depend on their own criteria when judging the quality of a design. However, if you take into account the fact that each designer has their own unique set of priorities, you might end up with a lot of confusion and a subpar final result. The answer lies in the use of design principles in such situations.

Every successful system starts with sound design principles. In doing so, they should capture the core of what excellent design means to the firm and provide product teams specific advice on how to get there (design principles should always be actionable). The product team may evaluate their performance in relation to the established design principles.

Here are a few things to remember when working on design principles:
  • The product’s nature should be reflected in the design concepts. For instance, the most crucial design tenet should be “Safety first” when it comes to designing human-machine interfaces for cars (the goal is to keep the driver and passengers safe). Every design choice should thus be evaluated for safety.
  • The guiding principles of design shouldn’t read like a list of mandates. The energy of innovation should not be stifled. No one working on a product should ever feel constrained.
  • The design concepts should be the outcome of a transparent dialogue. It’s often not difficult to get people to follow rules, but rather, it’s difficult to get people to agree on what those standards should be. Involving as many design teams as possible in a conversation is especially important for large organizations with several design departments. If you ask people for input on the design principles, you may tailor them to their requirements.
Review the Technology Stack and Conduct an Interface Inventory

Many businesses have a tendency to add a design system on top of the existing interface, but this strategy is not ideal for a number of reasons. Consider a scenario in which your business has been developing a product without a system for a long time.

There is probably some design discrepancy with the product. Duplication of design features is often the root cause of inconsistency. When design components are duplicated, a team may avoid the situation where they create an element from scratch only to discover later that it already exists in another form.

Because of this, before implementing a design system, do an audit and interface inventory(opens in a new tab) to determine what is already in use.

Examine current interactions and gather and examine all of the UI components that make up the interface. It’s crucial to complete this step before creating the real design system since it will clarify two concepts for you:

  • How much design debt your company has, and where it needs to focus its efforts;
  • Why there is inconsistency, and what adjustments need to be made to the design process to eliminate it? Either you’ll need to make some adjustments to the way things are done or implement some cutting-edge new tools.

Establish a Core Team

Who should be involved in building a design system? Making a design system is no exception to the rule that design is a team sport. Building a design system requires the knowledge and inventiveness that cross-functional cooperation brings. This is why engineers, designers, product managers, and stakeholders make up the bulk of the team responsible for developing a system. It’s important to start with a small core team (six to eight individuals) while constructing a design system so that you can get traction and make progress rapidly.

Final thoughts:

There is no end when it comes to the design system. The UX design system and the UI design system are continuously updated, modified, and expanded in response to changing needs, trends, and user input. But once put into practice, it establishes the direction and places restrictions on that direction. That’s why it’s important to have a design framework that can scale as the product evolves. AppleTech can help you out in your quest for finding that perfect design system. Whether it’s for a website, web application, or mobile application, our team of experts can help you in building the design system for them.