Design systems have become a popular solution for creating consistency, improving the user experience, and saving time in the design and development process. A design system is a collection of design elements and guidelines that help teams create products in a consistent and efficient way. But creating a design system is not just about establishing a set of design rules. It also involves understanding the product, defining its goals, and establishing a process for scaling and maintaining the system.
In this article, we will cover the key steps to creating and scaling design systems, from the initial planning phase to the ongoing maintenance process.
Step 1: Understand the Product and its Goals
Before you start creating a design system, it's essential to understand the product and its goals. This includes researching the target audience, the business objectives, and the product's unique characteristics. This research will help you define the design system's goals and ensure that it aligns with the product's vision.
For example, let's consider a product that is a mobile app for ordering food delivery. The goals of this product might include providing a fast and convenient way for users to find and order their favorite food, making the ordering process simple and intuitive, and providing real-time updates on the delivery status. Understanding these goals is crucial to ensuring that the design system supports the product's vision and meets the needs of its users.
Step 2: Define the Design System's Goals
Based on the product research, you should define the design system's goals. These goals should align with the product's vision and should include factors such as consistency, scalability, and efficiency.
For the food delivery app, the design system's goals might include establishing a consistent visual style, creating a user-friendly interface, and providing clear and concise information throughout the ordering process. Defining these goals will help ensure that the design system supports the product's vision and meets the needs of its users.
Step 3: Establish a Design Process
Once you have defined the design system's goals, it's time to establish a design process. This process should include the following steps:
- Design principles: Establish design principles that will guide the design system's development. Design principles should reflect the product's goals and should be used to guide decision-making throughout the design process.
- Component library: Create a component library that contains all the design elements, such as buttons, forms, and typography. The component library should be comprehensive and flexible, allowing for easy reuse and adaptation of components.
- Guidelines: Develop guidelines that outline how the components should be used in different contexts. Guidelines should be clear and concise, providing teams with the information they need to effectively use the design system.
- Design review process: Establish a design review process that allows for feedback and iteration on the design system. This process should involve regular reviews of the design system and its components, allowing for updates and improvements to be made as needed.
For the food delivery app, the design process might include the following steps:
- Design principles: Use bold and vibrant colors to attract attention and create an energetic vibe. Use clear and concise typography to make the information easy to read.
- Component library: Create a library of reusable components, such as buttons, forms, and icons, that can be used throughout the app.
- Guidelines: Develop guidelines for how components should be used in different contexts, such as the ordering process, delivery status updates, and product listings.
- Design review process: Conduct regular design reviews to gather feedback from users and stakeholders, and make