Why a design system?

Building an Enterprise Design System, Part 1

Design Systems Are Abstract

The most common question I get from people who are not familiar with design systems is why. Why are we spending the effort building internal tools when we could be improving the experience or adding features? It’s an incredibly valid question that needs to be answered to get buy-in from stakeholders and leadership teams. It’s hard to see the reasons to spend the time working on it when you don’t experience the pains yourself.

Explosive Growth

ServiceTitan hired their first designer in 2015. Since then, we’ve gone through four rounds of funding and have a double-digit design team. Most of that team growth has happened in the last year. With this newest round, we’re hoping to double the team in the next year (shameless plug: We’re hiring).

“When can we update our legacy pages?”

Interfaces change. Design patterns change. Processes change. Branding changes. Technology stacks change (thanks React…). The people keeping track of the interface changes. All of that leads to design debt.

Enable other work to be built

Product design is incredibly challenging work juggling multiple different tasks. Shipping good experiences requires understanding requirements, research, testing, wireframing, visual design, prototyping, iteration, handoff specs, feedback rounds from stakeholders, and more. You’re focusing on so many different tasks to get your product in a usable place, it can be inconvenient to have to design for consistency as well. It’s the problem of having to craft a tree and also build the forest at the same time.

It’s the problem of having to craft a tree and also build the forest at the same time.

If we have a dedicated person or team who is responsible for this high level view, it will allow other designers and engineers to focus more on creating the right experiences for our customers.

Anvils On The Horizon

So the issues we found above helped enforce the reasons we needed to build a design system. Those were:

  • Inconsistent and expanding design patterns
  • Design & engineering efficiencies



Insights and opinions from ServiceTitan’s design and research team

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Matt Felten

Knows the names of all the bounty hunters in Empire Strikes Back. America’s Sweetheart. Design Systems @ServiceTitan x @YouCaring x @DreamHost