Contentful’s design system is speeding up our internal workflows, and it goes beyond components. We recently updated areas of our web app by utilizing the design foundation and UX copy guidelines from Forma 36.

Forma 36, our Contentful design system, enables internal teams to make updates to the web app more frequently and efficiently. Because Forma 36 is open-source, our customers can also use the design system to customise their Contentful experience. It covers everything from components to foundational design elements such as typography, color and transitions, as well as guidelines for UX copy and accessibility.

Mike Mitchell, João Ramos, Johannes Bugiel, and Kevin Barnett on the origin story of Contentful’s open-source design system, Forma 36.

Forma 36

The origin story of many design systems starts with a familiar narrative. Without a shared product design language, managing consistency is challenging, duplicate work is created and pains escalate into problems as a company scales.

At Contentful, the challenge of working without a design system presented the opportunity to start one. What followed has been a grassroots effort of design and developer collaboration driven by a strong sense of spirit, hustle and good old fashioned teamwork.

What followed has been…

A recap of our progress in building understanding between designers and engineers in the growth teams at Contentful.

Cross-functional team design sprint

Why do we need to evangelize design?

At Contentful, our product feature teams vary in mission, domain, and size, but they have one thing in common: the average engineering to design ratio on a product team is around 5:1.

The responsibilities of product design at Contentful include discovery and usability research, some product design strategy and UI/UX design. In short, we’re design generalists. This arrangement is ripe in learning opportunities and autonomy for a product designer, but it can also be hard for a designer juggling many crucial design…

Your portfolio site is the ultimate product. Your user is a hiring manager. How would you change the way you present your work with that in mind?

Thinking about your portfolio site as a product can help you make many decisions regarding the messaging, layout, site navigation, detail pages, and how you present yourself overall.

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

See your product through the lens of your user

For the purpose of this article, let’s imagine that the target user of your portfolio is a product design manager or hiring manager. Consider your portfolio through their lens— is it likely that they are looking at many portfolios in one sitting and comparing yours against a large group? Are they quickly scanning your portfolio to understand what it contains before moving on? …

After four years of working at three different tech companies in Berlin, I feel ready to shed some light on how the Berlin tech culture compares to my 5 years in San Francisco. It’s different, but it’s good-different.

Badeschiff on the Spree

But how could I leave San Francisco?
I got this question a lot from European coworkers when I landed in Berlin. Lately, I’ve met enough Americans in Berlin that have spent some time in San Francisco that I’m beginning to feel this route can be likened to modern day trade winds. …

Anyone who has learned a new language will tell you to watch tv shows in said language and, if you’re dedicated, switch the language setting on your phone.

After 6 months of living in Berlin and taking the German classes offered at work twice a week, I made The Big Switch. At first it wasn’t too bad — I relied on icons, and quickly learned the words Speichern (save) and Löschen (delete). After some time, my design curiosity took over and I took special interest in the decisions I made while navigating through an app, encountering options solely in unrecognizable…

Camera starts with a long shot— a row of pastels, tall and slender buildings with enough architectural ornamentation and well-cared for balcony gardens that we know it’s distinctly a set of apartments in Europe. I guess this is where the camera zooms to a 4th floor, pale red balcony and a women in her early thirties is shown, lounging in post-work pajamas, cradling a cup of tea. The camera pans around to reveal that she’s working calmly on a Macbook, with Medium open, simultaneously confident and unsure.

So here we are.

I actually love to write— and I’ve realized that…

Sara Kalinoski

Product design manager in Berlin via San Francisco. Currently at Delivery Hero. Ex Contentful, Apple and AKQA.

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