Design Systems

What is Design systems?

A design system is a collection of reusable components, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of applications.

A design system isn’t only a collection of the assets and components you use to build a digital product. According to Emmet Connolly, director of product design at Intercom, “… most Design Systems are really just Pattern Libraries: a big box of UI Lego pieces that can be assembled in near-infinite ways. All the pieces may be consistent, but that doesn’t mean the assembled results will be. Your product is more than just a pile of reusable UI elements. It has structure and meaning. It’s not a generic web page, it’s the embodiment of a system of concepts.”

Many organizations have what they consider to be a design system, but these collections typically amount to no more than a group of elements and code snippets. While a style guide or pattern library can be a starting point for a design system, they are not the only components. Let’s dig into the fundamentals of design systems, plan how you can build and implement one in your organization, and explore several examples of organizations that are using design systems to drive success.

Get A comprehensive guide to design systems