Sharpening Your Design Process Saw

Is this the second wave? Or is this a reeeeally long first wave? Or a vast conspiracy? Whatever your particular flavor of the truth is these days, it doesn’t matter. The unavoidable truth is that many of us aren’t going back to an office anytime soon. I used to be excited that my personal “grid” wasn’t more than a few square miles–now I’d be thrilled if it extended beyond my refrigerator.

Back when this all started, I had been reading about what businesses could be doing in their “downtime.” It may have felt like the downtime had passed (Yay! Back to normal), but I think we’re all going to need to get used to a little more (sad trombone). And, maybe you’re resetting your own plans. Trying to figure out the best strategy to bring your design team out of this on the other side, in a better place than where you started.

Based on my conversations with our friends at InVision, one way a lot of design teams are “sharpening their saw,” as Dr. Steven Covey puts it, is by investing their time now in a Design System. Design Systems are a collection of reusable atomic design components, guided by clear standards, that can be assembled together to build any number of websites or applications. Think of “design LEGO blocks” if you will. A design system manager is the “dashboard” and tools per se for using the design system – think WordPress CMS for a system that’s akin to InVision DSM. Design systems can shorten time to market and increase collaboration and consistency across your teams. Now is the perfect time to build it.

But how do you sell it to your team and your organization?

We recently implemented a Design System for a global brand company that has grown to sell in more than 175 countries. Here are four key takeaways you can steal for your own company:

Why implement a Design System?

  • Accelerate time to market. Design projects that are executed in a shorter time frame tie up fewer resources and enable a faster time to market.
  • Achieve consistency. When you have all your components, patterns, and templates standardized, it will be much easier to create a unified look and feel across environments.
  • Improve collaboration. Design systems serve as a shared knowledge base for designers, product managers, and software engineers.
  • Build a user-centric design culture & maturity. With easy access to design standards, guidelines and best practices, it helps everyone in the organization to educate on, embrace and follow the user-centric design philosophy. It contributes to building the design culture and elevates the design maturity level of the organization.

Don’t be intimidated by the work a new Design System Manager may appear to be. It will totally be worth it in the end. There are a lot of fantastic resources out there to help you get started and to guide you along the way. And, Yalo is here to help or to talk through ideas. Reach out to us anytime!