A design system is a great tool for bringing consistency to all of your brand's design outputs; particularly for organisations that are designing at scale, for multiple mediums and with teams that need to collaborate regularly.
What is a design system?
A single source of design truth
A design system is a consolidation of an organisation’s visual identity, strategy, brand values, purpose and audiences into shared practices, principles, design patterns, templates, themes and end products such as websites and printed media.
It acts as the single source of truth for everything a brand will deliver visually, and otherwise. It's a playbook for how a brand and strategy translates into real-world assets.
It is constantly evolving, a living thing, and as such is never ‘finished’. As an organisation or brand grows, the number of outputs to maintain grows, and the design system grows along with them.
Design system benefits
They're not for everyone
One of the major benefits of implementing a design system is increasing the speed of design and, by extension, reducing the overhead involved in repeating tasks.
Therefore, for smaller organisations and brands with very few design outputs, the benefit of using a design system is often negated by the cost of implementation.
But, organisations with an array of different design outputs, both online and offline, benefit hugely.
Design system examples:
→ Co-op Experience Library
→ BBC GEL
→ Atlassian Design System
Reap the benefits
A design system will improve the visual consistency across a brand's outputs, from stationery to physical signage to websites and online applications. Consistency is also achieved in the standards that all design adheres to, like accessibility and tone of voice.
As it removes the need to repeat the basics, a design system can also reduce the cost of creating new design outputs or maintaining existing ones.
At Kind, we work regularly with complex organisations for who a well-maintained design system is invaluable.
SHU Digital Design System
Creating a sustainable design system to improve the consistency and productivity of SHUs digital projects.
Rewilding Britain Digital Rebrand
A platform to enable and inspire rewilding projects across the country.
Benefits of a design system for complex organisations
What exactly is a Design System and what are the benefits of implementing one?