What is the design system?

It is a collection of visual components that can be used in different combinations to build digital products. These components should have a properly defined guideline when you use it in your project.

You can think of a box of Lego and you can use small pieces to construct a larger system.

Sometimes when we do the PSD to Responsive HTML conversion jobs we get the design system assets along with the PSD files from the clients. Then our team can refer to that design specification and convert the PSD to pixel perfect HTML files.

design system books

Why do you need design systems?

1 You can save money

When you analyze your business applications you will realise that factors like scaling, efficiency, consistency and teamwork will consume a lot of money and energy.

Scale 

If your web application needs more functions you can follow the design system and add more pages easily to scale it.

Efficiency

Designers and developers do not have to waste their time asking how to implement the new business logic because they have well defined visual components to represent everything that they need.

Consistency.

You have to maintain consistency among your website, mobile app and other applications. With the design system, you can do it easily.

Team work

You have lots of user interface designers and frontend developers working on the same project but you have proper guidelines for your design system. So team communication is very simple.

2 Bridge the gap between designers and developers

Now developers and designers are speaking the same language. When designers change something or add a new feature to the system developers know what it is and how to add it. No one is going outside of the design system.

3 Design systems will be more popular in future.

We have compiled some of the best design systems under the example section of this post. Now design systems are getting popular among designers, developers and brand owners because it solves a lot of issues in your design and building processing.

In the future, design systems will be more popular like Frontend Development framework. CSS framework and design system will be coupled together for you to customize your own design system for your organization.

Let’s wait and see what is going to happen in future !

How do you build a design system?

Although you have different names for the design system you can follow similar steps to build your design system.

1 Conduct Visual audit

You can do a visual audit of your existing system and evaluate how you have done it. You can check the attributes of the current design system and analyse what is missing with current design standards.

2 Visual Design Language

Visual language is the core of the design system and you have the visual components in your design system. 

Visual language has components which you can use in your design process.

There are four categories in the visual language.

Color

When you select the colour for your design system you can select 1-3 primary color. If you need more color option you can use the combination of these color and you mix the color with white etc.

Typography

Do not use several types of fonts for your system. You can use two types of fonts: One can be used for heading and body text and other can be used for your code.

If you use an excessive number of web fonts it will lead to the performance issues.

If you want to know more details about typography for your design system you can refer to the article Typography in Design Systems by Nathan Curtis. This article describes in-depth how to use typography in your design system

You follow guidelines to study typography.

Sizing and Spacing

Sizing and spacing are also in your design system to have an elegant look. Now designers use A-4 scale and it supports the iOS and Android devices too.

3 Create UI Components

At this stage, now you can create the visual elements or components to be used in your system. You can create buttons, form, tabs etc. You can use good design tools like Photoshop, illustrator or sketch.

4 Documentation

A most important part of the process is the documentation. Your documentation should be up to date and maintain the version properly when you update content.

You can share the documentation among your company so that anyone can refer it.

All you need is design to get started!

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