What is your biggest challenge with design systems?

Whether you work in a startup, corporation, or agency, these tools, tech, and processes will help you build a kickass design system.

Every week, we pose a question to our members to shake up the conversation and involve everybody. This is our latest #TopicOfTheWeek recap, discussing design systems.

While every designer faces unique challenges with their business and projects, there’s one challenge that unites us all: design systems.

Creating a design system that fosters and improves your workflow and allows for seamless handoff once your project ships is difficult for even the most seasoned designers, as your needs will vary with each release or brand new project.

We asked our members about the different tools, technology, and processes that help them simplify their work, and as usual, we got some great insights from the community. Below are a handful of the most interesting discussions, but Laura Schaefer, Sr. Manager of UX Strategy at CIBC, provided the most concise advice:

When building a design system, it’s important to not only include functions that boost your productivity, but also to ensure the system enables collaboration between designers, developers, and yes, project/product managers.

Obviously, working on a smaller team does simplify the requirements for your design system. However, not all designers work on small product teams. Enrico (from the core development team at Telus) shared his process for building a system that works for a team of over 1,000 people.

While many — if not most — of our members work in startups or in-house design teams, a very real challenge with design systems is their purpose in the agency world, where products aren’t owned by the designers but are handed over to the client once they’re shipped.

What about you? What tools and processes are part of your design systems? And what advice do you have for somebody developing a system of their own? Share your ideas below, or join the Toronto or NYC DesignX Slack groups and connect with other like-minded creatives in the community.

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