Skip navigation

Design systems are here to stay.


Design systems are here to stay. Design systems are here to stay.

Key Takeaways

  • Design systems for digital products are becoming increasingly important as digital teams grow in size and sophistication.
  • Design systems show how teams collectively work with a set of design patterns, which are individual components in a website or app.
  • Organizations can create a healthy and usable system by adapting it to the needs of their contributors and having a roadmap and a backlog.
  • Adopting a design system can clarify an organization's values and focus, resulting in better business and happier customers.

The field of web design has always had noticeable and distinct trends. Some of these are related to sudden availability of new technologies (for example the outbreak of parallax websites in the 2010s) and some of them are strictly stylistic, such as flat design, (itself a reaction against the trend of realistic 3D or skeuomorphic design from the prior decade.)

If you've been following the industry for the last decade or so, you might be tempted to discount design systems as yet another trend: i.e, a hot topic that seems unavoidable at your favorite web conference or blog but perhaps one that will fade away to be replaced by something new. You'd be wrong.

Design systems for digital products are here to stay. They have already changed the workflow habits and collaboration techniques of teams working at Airbnb to Zendesk and everywhere in between. I would go as far to say that if you aren't using a design system, your organization's digital products aren't living up to their potential.

Taking a step back, let's allow Ethan Marcotte to define the term:

Jeremy Osborn

Jeremy produces the free, online courses at Aquent Gymnasium, an educational platform that helps web professionals learn new skills. In the past, he has written books and articles related to the web, hosted webinars, consulted with Fortune 500 organizations, and was the Program Director of a web and graphic design program at Boston University.


Read more by this author