Design System Myths

There are many myths that surround the topic of building UI Kits, Design Systems, and Pattern Libraries. It's time to get to the bottom of this!

One of the most common concerns we hear from designers is “won't a Design System limit my creativity?”. If it does, the approach should be shifted. A Design System should allow you to off-load trivial tasks, allowing you more time to spend crafting on what makes your brand or project truly unique.
Save and share! Design systems limit creativity

The word system sounds pretty intense but in reality, it’s just about organizing what you need right now to make progress. First, it’s helpful to start, with maybe a button or simple input. Start with what you know you will use. It’s even better to start with the patterns you already are using and be sure to bring engineers and product managers or owners along for the whole journey.
Save and share! Design systems limit creativity

If you get anxious when you hear the words design system, don’t worry. If you are too busy to stop everything, try starting small and devote just an hour here and there during the week to identify what problems are being experienced and how to address them.
Save and share! Design systems limit creativity

So you have built the perfect design system and now you want to sell it to the whole organization. You may want to pump the brakes and ask yourself “why should I as an outside party be excited to use this?”. Maybe the best approach is to ask an engineer what problems do you face. Or you can ask the same question of ahead of product or operations. It’s best to start with those perspectives and build with them in the first place.
Save and share! Adoption of design systems is difficult to achieve.

Design systems should not be seen as set in stone. They will provide a better level of consistency so you don’t want every pattern changing every other week but it should always be improving and keeping with the times, trends, and changes in user behavior. A design system is only a collection of past successes. It should never determine the path of future innovation. Think about the component patterns as a foundation to build from and evolve. They are not to be seen or used as a ceiling to stifle progress but a living document that is refreshed with new changes to trends or user needs.
Save and share! Design systems are set in stone

This is simply the wrong attitude to take and never a winning technique. It has a very low appreciation level. In the long run, even if you manage to get your way, you will find people starting to resent you for it. The Design team should be here to come alongside and help steer the ship towards incredible experiences for our users and innovative solutions for the business. We are here to guide and serve not to dictate.
Save and share! Design systems are about dictating control

Yes, it’s true that design systems help companies grow design at scale. However just because you are a smaller operation does not mean they would not offer benefits for your situation. Having a small UI Kit of design components will allow for more speed and productivity. When wearing many hats on a small team you can think of a design system as last-minute change request insurance.
Save and share! Design systems are only for huge teams

While design systems start in UX or Product Design Ops team they definitely don’t end there. Working together with product management design teams can build consensus on roadmap deliverables and help provide project and product managers and owners peace of mind. This assurance that designers and developers have a single source of truth allows product managers to ensure less project risk and better hit project estimates and product deadlines.
Save and share! Design systems are just for designers

A design system is very different from a style guide although a style guide or brand book can have a huge influence on its content. A style guide points out standards of construction when designing or marketing with the company’s brand assets. Items like brand mark or logo mark lockups, color palette, font family, and sizing/padding and respectful use of logo design treatments are all carefully noted.
Save and share! Design systems are similar to a style guide

If you are a digital design agency you may or may not be working with a pre-coded set of components. This coded set is called a pattern library and often is hosted in the cloud on GitHub and NPM. While a Design System can and often does contain a Pattern Library, it does not have to have code to be considered a Design System.
Save and share! Design systems only benefit multiple products

Who benefits from a Design System?

👩🏽‍🎨 Designers & Teams

Free up time by off-loading trivial basics so you can craft in the areas that make your products truly unique.

🚀 Startups & Agencies

Iterate on ideas faster, close more projects, and provide better workflow balance for design teams.

📊 Product Managers

Deliver more consistent products while reducing risk and enhancing predictable roadmap estimation.