Design as part of a system

Gwilym :: November 22nd, 2018
Design as part of a system

I used to think design was a discreet, segregated process in which one cloistered themselves in a room somewhere with a box of coloured pencils and a computer.

The creative explosion 'process' would happen, then the pruning and refinement. I would then present a nicely illustrated, relatively finished and glossy solution to the (hopeful) applause of the client or team.

But no longer! It's almost 2019 people and Design Systems are here, the software is here and awesome, people can communicate across discipline, we can all help each other be more awesome with less stress and better results!

There is a lot of information on the net about what a design system is, the things that have made the most immediate difference in my practice are:

  1. Treating every thing I produce as a component in a system, it should reference other material upstream, re-use components where ever possible and be a documented piece in the bigger puzzle

  2. The discipline of wireframe / design / build works. It forces concentration on the right thing at the right time, no veering off to think about colours when all the thoughts should be directed at the user interaction itself.

  3. Using the right software for the job. Illustrator and Photoshop have their place for sure but I think there is a third app niche which is tightly bound to digital prototyping and production. I've found using Sketchapp for wireframing through to production is super powerful, especially since their live prototype cloud came online and I figured out the power of symbols and libraries.