Cornerstone Design System (CDS) consists of a UI library and design guidelines for creating products at Company [A](client name changed) that are consistent with the brand and practices sound UX fundamentals.
While the hundreds of publicly available design systems, blog articles, and conferences all make a claim as to what a design system is supposed to be, our challenge was to figure out the design system that [A] needs. [A] has numerous independent development groups and no centralized design practice.
CDS needed to serve as a voice that defines the “right” design. The UI library was designed by looking at two sources of reference.
- The Brand: Distinguish between what’s a “good” design and what actually fits with the character of the brand. We conducted a brand analysis and worked out a set of visual principles.
- UI Conventions: We know how date pickers and dropdown buttons work because they are established by convention. [A]’s design approach was not dialed in to those conventions and often created components that worked in unusual ways to meet very specific requirements. CDS sought to re-surface those conventions.
We discovered that development teams had no interest in using a custom made component library. So we kept our focus on existing designers and gave them templates to redline their designs when handing off to development.
My Role: Product owner and creative director