Design systems

Inside Design identifies an increased focus on design systems defining them as:
A design system is a collection of reusable components, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of applications.
The efficiency benefits for businesses to reduce costs and increase conversion through common web design elements and for users who have less need to learn different interfaces are clear. But it does beg the question of the difference between a design system and a style guide or pattern library? Well, one consideration is the scope; design systems can be much broader than the web site patterns and style guides as designer Siw Grinaker explains.
A design system maintains the visual and functional elements of your organisation in one place, in order to fulfill your brand principles through the design, realisation, and development of products and services. It may include a sketch library, style guide, pattern library, organisation principles, best practices, templates, codes, and more“.
This interesting design system case study from a designer at Airbnb explains the benefits and their practical approach. I applaud the transparency of Airbnb Design site where their designers share their approach.


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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