Forward-thinking brands are improving the way they create digital products by implementing design systems. More than just a collection of assets and components used to build digital products, design systems embody a unified source of truth for a particular brand. With a well functioning design system in place, teams can efficiently build new products, and easily evolve existing products into different territories.
Beyond the technical components, design systems also encompass necessary intangibles such as a set of guiding principles and philosophies that drive your product goals, your brand values, and a design mindset that will align your team's vision. With this, your team can build an indefinite amount of digital products that all manifest the same crucial concepts which encapsulate your brand.
Although developing your own design system can take time, they allow for efficient and defined consistency when building digital products. By creating a shared vocabulary between designers, engineers, and stakeholders, design systems improve communication between teams and reduce inconsistencies in user experience, especially when shipping at scale. This shared vocabulary leads to a wealth of benefits in all projects with a design component:
Design systems help to facilitate easy onboarding of new team members, which is especially useful when partnering with an agency or digital product studio.
Validate Design Decisions
At Crowdlinker, we create design systems for our clients to help them understand the project from a high-level perspective, and implement a more holistic approach to building digital products. This gives validation to each design decision throughout the project build.
Build More, Quicker
Design systems create a solid foundation in which companies can continue to build a dynamic and cohesive system for supporting all future builds. This leads to more efficient design and development for all future projects, decreasing time to market.
Define Your Brand
Not only do design systems ease communication between departments, they also act as a shared dialogue between you and your consumer. This helps to define brand identity and allow companies to build consistent and easily recognizable products.
All design systems should be consistent, allowing the final product to offer customers a more harmonious and familiar user experience. This can help to establish trust between your target market and your brand.
As mentioned above, your design system should be used as a source of communication between designers, engineers, stakeholders, and everyone else involved in building your product. Because of this, the guidelines within should be easy to follow, straightforward, and well organized. This is especially beneficial to the design team, as having all components laid out systematically will help to solidify and visualize the brand identity, allowing for a more efficient process, and of course, better design.
Creating your own design system can be a daunting task, but it’s difficult to ignore the benefits. At Crowdlinker, we view design systems as a powerful communication tool for all of our clients that require a design component to their project. We would only suggest omitting the use of a design system when working on projects that strictly require back-end technical work, with no visual aspects. With that said, creating design systems for our clients is a process that depends entirely upon each individual project.
Occasionally, clients will approach Crowdlinker already armed with a set of well articulated guidelines for designing their products. Under these circumstances, our team can offer expert help to flesh out these concepts into a comprehensive design system. However, building a completely new design system from scratch requires a little more input.
Here are 3 things to consider when building your design system from the ground up:
When starting from the ground level, it’s important to try to familiarize yourself with the problem space that you’re solving for. By considering other successful solutions that could be comparable, you can try to define and emphasize those experiences through your design. At the same time, you can also study unsuccessful examples, and evaluate why they didn’t work.
There will be certain parts of a new design system that can be built out during the discovery phase. This might look like laying out colours, or choosing certain typography. However, there are usually some components that aren’t immediately known. As the project moves along, more parts of the design system become illuminated. In this way, a design system is a living document that evolves along with the project.
User testing can give valuable feedback as to what sort of variations of a design will be most preferable to your market. An example of this could simply be walking users through screens and documenting what they liked and what they didn’t like. Additionally, things like interviews and surveys can all give similar user-feedback that can assist in building out a design system.
Clients that are unfamiliar with the design process often partner with Crowdlinker without knowing that creating a design system is an important part of building digital products. However, our team recognizes that these systems are a necessary element for any product design project because it keeps everything organized, aligned and well documented.
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the end product and trying to rush towards the final stage before taking the time to understand purposeful choices and how it will all work together.
A message from our Product Manager:
“We put a lot of focus on the design process. The more user research we can do, and getting to know a client, the product, and their end-user, the easier the sprints are. There’s less unknowns and you can be better equipped to create better quality products.”
Our clients get the benefit of working with a team that can create a robust and dynamic system by consulting experienced developers, designers, researchers, and product managers. Leveraging a skilled team that is familiar with this process will help you to know how to best structure the system based on your unique projects needs, leaving you with an optimized strategy and system that will help you tackle whatever problem you are trying to solve.
If you choose to partner with a digital product studio to satisfy your project needs, you have the advantage of capitalizing on years of tried and tested design experience. Crowdlinker offers the ability to guide clients through this process so that the end product is better informed and ultimately more successful.