Digital design can be best described as a plethora of moving pieces that come together in confluence to create one, cohesive and functional experience. Yet, for this to come to full fruition, there must be an organized language and design system intact to truly secure an elevated and engaging design. The building blocks to a vigorous user experience are stabilized by design principles to design systems and project scope strategies to visionary perspectives. To embody all these key features, a design language is utilized to create a unified unit.

Design System: A Shared Language 

A design system is an all-encompassing tool that sets a standard for designers and developers to communicate a harmonious design. One can envision a design system as a toolbox composed of different apparatuses to build a website. The different tools that make up the toolbox are style guides, pattern libraries, component libraries, and UI kits. Moreover, a design system allows for a united language that an interface needs to function as one entity. This is highly significant because when there is cohesiveness in webpages, menus, UI features, and tonality, a brand or company’s website will reflect an appealing digital presence. 

Colors

Component Libraries/UI Kits

The first tool to examine in a design system is component libraries, also interchangeably known as a UI Kit. Components make up the digital product and interface with UI elements for a design. Components and their styles make up UI kits/component libraries. Components often include icons, buttons, checkboxes, form fields, widgets, navigational components, and more. Styles are the visual attributes of these components that range from colortypography, and shapes. 

Typography

Pattern Libraries

In a design system, a pattern library functions as a set of design patterns that are composed of components and elements. For example, the patterns utilized may be a common module for submitting a contact form or submitting payment information fields on an e-commerce website. These patterns are pre-established because they are the common language of the components in which a design is built, and what most users are familiar with when engaging in interactivity.

Pattern Libraries

Brand Guidelines & Style Guides 

Brand guidelines inform designers with details regarding all the encompassing elements of a brand’s identity. This ranges from a company’s logo, color story, typography fonts, and tonality. They highlight what a brand is all about, which in turn informs design directions. Brand guidelines are also a great source at the premise of a project, as they steer designers in the proper direction that will eventually inform future graphical implementations of the whole design system. 

Similar to a brand guide, style guides also embody a company’s established features and how they would work if against the backdrop of new design directions, logo treatments, and color schemes. What is important to note about a style guide, however, is its emphasis on the tonality of brand language and emotions conveyed. 

Iconography and Graphic Elements

Why Are Design Systems Important?

When carefully examining the details of a design system, its emphasis on cohesiveness and consistency with components and elements can pave the way for a positive user experience. A design system can be seen as a set of deliverables that guide a design’s outcome. Designing experiences function best when there is a human-centric approach to it, thus a design that is interactive, easy to utilize, and interconnected, reflects a positive user experience.  

Productivity and Efficiency

Design systems are not only great for building experiences, but they also attain a productive advantage. Creating components and graphical elements from scratch can take a lot of work and be quite time-consuming when you have a list of running projects to take care of.  Yet, design systems encourage the reusability of components that can be used but also modified to align with a brand’s visual identity. This is a great advantage for designers and developers to save time, effort, and overhead costs. 

Consistency 

With any form of a lexicon, consistency ensures there is a complete level of understanding to convey a message, story, or idea. Design languages convey the message of a design—whether that entails a brand’s identity or a company’s service. Thus, all visual elements must convey clarity and a unified look to avoid cognitive disruptions when a user navigates a design. 

When all the pieces to a design come together at the nexus of innovation and productivity, the possibilities of an unforgettable experience are limitless.