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10 Surprising Insights About Design Systems

Design systems are fundamentally transforming the way UX/UI professionals, designers, and web developers approach product development. But while many understand the basic principles, there are nuances that often go unnoticed. Here, we’ll dive into ten surprising insights about design systems that can elevate your work and better align your team’s efforts.

Design systems are fundamentally transforming the way UX/UI professionals, designers, and web developers approach product development. But while many understand the basic principles, there are nuances that often go unnoticed. Here, we’ll dive into ten surprising insights about design systems that can elevate your work and better align your team’s efforts.

10 Surprising Insights About Design Systems

1. A Design System is Not the Same as a UI Library

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse a design system with a UI library. But they serve distinct purposes. A UI library is simply a collection of user interface components, while a design system is a comprehensive framework that includes not only UI components but also guidelines, principles, and tools to ensure consistency and coherence across all product development stages.

2. Productise Your Design System and Your Users Will Thank You!

Treat your design system as a product. By doing so, you ensure it receives the necessary attention and resources for continuous improvement. This approach helps in creating a more user-friendly and efficient design system, ultimately leading to a better experience for both your team and end-users.

3. Designers and Developers Should Be Like Atoms: Inseparable

The synergy between designers and developers is crucial for a successful design system. Much like the components of an atom, these two groups should be inseparable. Collaboration from the ground up ensures that designs are both aesthetically pleasing and technically feasible, avoiding any disconnect that might arise later in the development process.

4. Fancy Naming Conventions Aren’t Always Practical

While it might be tempting to use elaborate or creative naming conventions for different components, simplicity often works best. Clear, concise, and intuitive names help every team member, regardless of their background, understand and utilise the design system efficiently.

5. Atomic Design Helps You Remember the Magic of Basics

Atomic design is a methodology that breaks down design elements into their simplest forms—atoms, molecules, organisms, templates, and pages. This approach helps teams focus on the fundamentals, ensuring that each small component is robust, which in turn makes the whole system more cohesive and scalable.

6. Collaboration Promotes Refinement, Which Supports Business Goals

A design system is never truly finished. Continuous collaboration and feedback loops between team members foster refinement and innovation. This ongoing process not only enhances the design system but also aligns it more closely with evolving business goals and user needs.

7. A Lasting Design System Needs Collaboration Beyond Product and Development

To create a sustainable design system, collaboration must extend beyond just product and development teams. Include stakeholders from marketing, branding, and even customer service. Their insights can provide valuable perspectives that enrich the design system and ensure it meets a wide range of business objectives.

8. Adoption is the Most Challenging Part

Creating a design system is one thing; getting your team to adopt it is another challenge altogether. Encourage adoption through comprehensive documentation, regular training sessions, and by demonstrating the clear benefits of using the design system. Gradual implementation and gathering feedback can also smooth the transition process.

9. Accessibility is a Must

Incorporating accessibility from the outset is non-negotiable. An inclusive design system ensures that all users, regardless of their abilities, have a seamless experience. Adhering to accessibility standards not only broadens your user base but also demonstrates your brand’s commitment to inclusivity.

10. A Design System is Endless

A design system is a living entity. It evolves as your products, technologies, and user needs change. Regularly update and refine your design system to keep it relevant and effective. Treat it as an ongoing project rather than a one-time task to ensure it continues to offer value over time.

Understanding these ten insights can revolutionise how you perceive and implement design systems. By treating your design system as a product, fostering collaboration, simplifying naming conventions, and prioritising accessibility, you set the stage for a more efficient and effective product development process. Remember, a design system is not a static entity; it’s a dynamic, evolving framework that requires continuous care and attention.


Looking to delve deeper into design systems or need help with your own? Connect with us at Tokyo Design Studio (TDS) for expert guidance tailored to your specific needs. Let’s make your design journey seamless and successful!

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