Building a Design System for a product is incredibly tough. After attending Ken Skistimas' (Design Manager, Facebook) workshop on creating a Design System, and based on my firsthand experience building one for a SaaS product, I realised that aiming a 'team-first' focus worked best.
The starting point
Bring your team on the same page and encourage them to partake in the process- this gives them a sense of ownership and is more likely to result in them complying with the Design System going forward.
Ken had us break into groups and define our team values
- How will your team operate?
- What are the expectations of the team?
- What are the behaviors for product success?
This exercise helped us all get on the same page right at the start of this process.
Be judicious, it’s easier to add than it is to remove: Design systems can get complex quickly. It’s always better to add while iterating, this ensures a more deliberate and thorough process.
InVision is going to be rolling out new features to help us with documenting the process for DSM on the web.
A few features I’m looking forward to :
- Icon documentation in your Foundations section- I’m anticipating that this feature would help cut down the time taken to manage icon libraries and organize them, especially across projects. This feature is a definite value add for those who are designing for cross functional platforms.
- Ability to archive design systems- as a freelancer I have several design systems to work with and this is going to make it easier to arrange my design systems by ‘active’ projects and ‘completed’ projects.
Check out some others here.
Other resources to help you build a design system:
Have you or your team ever faced challenges while building or executing your design system? If yes, at what stage have you faced the problem-
- Setting a team vision
- Building momentum around the Design System
- Documentation- or maybe tools used to document it
- Scaling strategies