4 Paths to building a design system

Lasse Diercks
Apr 2, 2018 · 2 min read
Experienced Chaos

I’ve been working with systematic design approaches for 5 years now. This is a short and rough summary of the different paths I’ve been experienced so far.

All of these are based on the statement: “I want to work with reusable components”.

The Agile Path

  1. I start with HTML & CSS.
  2. I’ll add javascript for interactive behaviour.
  3. I’ll add a javascript framework for routing, state & database connection
  4. I refactor the existing HTML, CSS & javascript into the framework
  5. I plan to add pages with a similar design
  6. I refactor existing design patterns into reusable components
  7. I build pages with a similar design
  8. I want to get others in the loop
  9. I build a demo page with the reusable components.

The Lean Path

  1. I start with a javascript framework I’m comfortable with and an existing, compatible component library like Bootstrap or Materialize
  2. I start to build.
  3. I add custom HTML & CSS in situations where my needs aren’t covered by the component library.

The Mixed Path

  1. I start with a javascript framework and a compatible styleguide builder tool
  2. I start to build
  3. I abstract components only when there is a observed repetition.

The Ordered Integration Path

  1. I create a custom component library
  2. I dissect reusable component in the design process
  3. I build the reusable components
  4. I replace the current interface with the components
  5. I build new pages only when all the components are finished

This is how I experienced it in the past. By no is this a real statistically reflection of the reality. My intention on sharing this is to ask you what your experience have been so far or if this helps you deciding how to start yours.

Please let me know what you think in the comments and/or leave a clap if I should write more of this in the future.


I am an independent coach & consultant from Hamburg. You can find me everywhere as @lassediercks, direct contact guaranteed on Twitter.

Thanks for reading ❤

Lasse Diercks

Written by

I help people to succeed in the web.

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