It sounds a bit too deep, doesn’t it? However, the idea that a design system has a reason to exist and a unique purpose makes complete sense to us. Why is that?
Technology moves fast. The need for applications and websites to scale and adapt to different browsers, devices, and customers’ needs continues to grow daily. This pace implies that design and development teams need to move fast, too (and in the right way!); that’s where a design system comes in.
As we see it, a solid design system as the foundation of a product can be the key to scaling fast, having the entire team collaborate easily, and producing a consistent user experience.
Let’s make a short introduction for those who are not entirely familiar with what a design system is and how it works. For the ones who already use it, you are allowed to skip the intro and discover our experience with design systems here at Miew :).
What's a design system, and what's not?
A design system is “an interconnected platform that stores all the design elements/tokens that can be used and reused for creating digital platforms.”
It allows everyone in the project to stay in sync: guiding designers, developers, and stakeholders by clear standards, constraints, and principles. In addition, it should evolve through time, supporting your products as they continue to grow and change.
Do not believe in making one and magically hope it will work forever.
A design system can often be confused with a component library, a collection of UI components. Extensive component libraries like MUI or React-Bootstrap may look similar, but both allow designers and developers to make edits without restrictions.
However, as opposed to a design system, these component libraries can make the path to designing consistent-looking user interfaces very rocky.
Design systems are also often mistaken for a design guide when they are more extensive and granular. Let’s quickly review the main differences:
You can think of it as the source of truth; for instance, your design system will have the final say when building or changing components and patterns.
Design systems at Miew.
Have you ever been involved in a project where no one remembers why specific components or patterns are the way they are? Or what are the values behind the brand they are working with? And next thing you know, the design is hugely inconsistent?
Well, gladly, we’ve been avoiding that type of scenario. Instead, the design systems built here at Miew typically contain brand values, principles, tools, components, patterns, and guidelines.
With this type of design system in place, our developers are sure about which components are necessary and how they work, making it much easier to implement them right away.
Our designers can focus on making the most challenging decisions, and they get to have more room for innovation. Stakeholders sleep well at night knowing their brand is unified across all their products and platforms.
At the end of the day…
As with any methodology, technology, or tool, we believe that building a good design system relies – at the end of the day – on the team of professionals who create it, use it, and evolve it.
The focus on the end-user, collaboration and communication, and the desire and commitment to deliver high-quality products can make or break a design system.
Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts. Or even better, join us! And bring your experience and ideas with you!