Design system: moving design to the cloud
We live in a transition world, where much of the data and content is digital, but much remains analogical. Some companies are more digital and others less, but all of them are somewhere in between. Of course, technology help us and our team to do the job in the best possible way, and nowadays, with so many tools and so many things available, how can we use technology to our advantage? How can we organize the entire system to make the team’s work easier? How can a design system helps us digitally?
Time to introduce the story time!
I worked a few years ago at a company that underwent a rebranding process where only small logo details were changed. However, after a year of change, many employees still used the logo and old materials in the company presentations.
This happened because people often reuse materials from their databases, which may not be up to date.
We didn’t face this problem at Angry Ventures despite also going through a rebranding process, updating both the logo and the identity materials used. In our case, we needed to centralize all the materials as much as possible so that everyone on the team could access the latest content.
The first decision was to create an online repository in the cloud that anyone on any device could access at any time.
Meet Design and Content System
We call it Design System and Content System. It contains all the materials and design items needed in the company and some usage rules.
The effectiveness of creating this Design System was so positive that we are quitting the creation of traditional brand manuals in PDF and starting Design Systems for our internal projects and clients.
Of course, despite the name, it is adapted to the complexity required in each project. Some are just the logo, colors, and typography, and others include physical materials and even elements of the interface of some web or mobile system.
What do we need to do to create an online design repository?
1. Choose an online platform. It may be the one your team is most familiar with. This is the key point of the solution because, unlike the brand manual that used to be made in a PDF and it was necessary to pay attention to the date of the document to make sure it is the most current version, the materials in the cloud will always be correct and up to date.
2. The platform must have free access. That’s because it should allow anyone to have access to design items. Remember that these items are essential for the correct use of the brand, so it shouldn’t be a secret. It should be possible to share with customers and partners so that the reproduction of the brand is correct on third-party materials as well.
3. The platform needs to be responsive. For the same reason as the previous item, it should be easy for anyone to access, at any time and under any circumstances, including from other devices such as mobile.
4. It must allow copying and downloading of files. Therefore it is required to have a database in the integrated cloud.
5. It must be possible to organize files and information. When we share the design files with anyone, it’s essential to remember that this person may not be a designer, and most of the time, they are not. Therefore, organizing the information, explaining the rules for using the brand, and explaining the difference and purpose of the different color codes (CMYK and RGB, for example) becomes indispensable for correct reproduction. In addition, shared files such as the logo must be available both in the vectorized form, to be used by an experienced professional, and in simpler formats, such as .png or .jpg of all institutional colors for users who do not have a vectors image editing program, and that need the brand for a specific purpose.
6. The platform must be easy to update. Because the Design System is not a closed project, it will always be under construction and updating as the brand and materials grow and expand. Therefore, it must be possible to update quickly and instantly every time there is a new material or design change.
7. The platform must be backed up or recoverable from a previous version. Again, it’s because with the access of many people and even a large team of designers who help update the system, an error may eventually occur, or someone may delete a file by mistake. Therefore it is crucial to be able to recover this file.
Following this proposal of making the files available in the cloud, we at Angry Ventures are starting to migrate all our editable materials to a cloud platform. Institutional presentations, social media materials, and all graphic material are being built in a medium that any team member has access to and can edit online. Thus, development is becoming more and more agile because a modification of a text or a word, for example, can be made by the project facilitator or the marketing person without the need for the designer to do it in some specific software that only this professional has.
When the team has more than one designer, this type of tool and management becomes almost paramount because we all have access to the most up-to-date materials and the latest version and can still follow the material development progress. Remember that, even if there are any mistake changes in these materials, it is always possible to check the history of the change and restore a previous version.
We hope to continue with this process to become increasingly efficient. All digital strategies facilitate the organization and operation of a company of any size, from a small company with few people to a huge company with many employees where information is easily lost or outdated.
Originally published at https://angry.ventures.