STRATEGY

Setting your design system up for Success.

Jonathan Finlay

Jonathan Finlay

UX Designer at Origin
UX enthusiast | Shameless nerd & GIF connoisseur

26th September 2018Strategy

So you’ve decided that it’s time for your organization to create a design system and put it into effect. That’s great. You’re joining a group of companies like IBM, Uber, and Airbnb that are creating digital products whose experiences are more consistent and whose production processes are more efficient.

But don’t go in unprepared. A design system is a long-term commitment that will require continuous capital in the form of people and time, but the investment is far outweighed by the reward. Here are some things you’ll want to consider as you’re getting started that will set you up for design system success.

Allocate appropriate resources

There’s nothing worse that a well-intentioned product that’s left to wither away. Don’t let it
happen to your design system. Make sure you invest the right amount of
resources up front.

To get those resources, you’ll need support from both ends of the spectrum. You’ll need to
foster top-level support from project managers up through VPs. Encourage them to see the value
of a design system so that they’ll provide resources for its implementation and advocate for
its use company-wide.

You’ll also need to cultivate lower-level support to increase adoption. Your design system
should be a company-wide initiative, and everyone should be encouraged to contribute. This
creates a sense of ownership and pride in the product.

INVISION’s design system MANAGER

There’s nothing worse that a well-intentioned product that’s left to wither away. Don’t let it
happen to your design system. Make sure you invest the right amount of
resources up front.

To get those resources, you’ll need support from both ends of the spectrum. You’ll need to
foster top-level support from project managers up through VPs. Encourage them to see the value
of a design system so that they’ll provide resources for its implementation and advocate for
its use company-wide.

You’ll also need to cultivate lower-level support to increase adoption. Your design system
should be a company-wide initiative, and everyone should be encouraged to contribute. This
creates a sense of ownership and pride in the product.

Make commitments and follow through

The best way to drive adoption of your design system and show its true value is to deliver
design components that save time and align with an urgent business goal. By doing this, you’ve
won over designers and engineers by making their jobs easier, and you’ve convinced upper
management of the value by contributing to company objectives while saving resources.

Drive adoption of your design system by delivering design components that save time and align with an urgent business goal.

There’s nothing worse that a well-intentioned product that’s left to wither away. Don’t let it
happen to your design system. Make sure you invest the right amount of
resources up front.

To get those resources, you’ll need support from both ends of the spectrum. You’ll need to
foster top-level support from project managers up through VPs. Encourage them to see the value
of a design system so that they’ll provide resources for its implementation and advocate for
its use company-wide.

You’ll also need to cultivate lower-level support to increase adoption. Your design system
should be a company-wide initiative, and everyone should be encouraged to contribute. This
creates a sense of ownership and pride in the product.

UX PIN’s design system

Don’t lose site of your long-term vision

Creating, implementing, and maintaining a design system is no simple task. You have to find the balance between helping out with the immediate needs of your design and development teams while staying the course of your long-term design system plan.

Change starts here

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