As digital product interfaces become more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly difficult for proprietary software creators to adhere to the same design concept. Design systems are used to solve this problem. In essence, they are sets of rules and tools for creating a design that reflects the philosophy of a product or company as a whole. Your humble servant, the Old Snake YUI, will help you to understand the design systems in more detail.
The design system is responsible for the interface uniformity for various software products. From a formal point of view, this, as I wrote above, is a set of principles for compiling user design (colors, fonts, styles, etc.) and user experience. This is a unified standard for front-end developers and designers.
Sounds modern, doesn't it? However, design systems have existed long before the definition of the term. So, everyone who was interested in the history of architecture will certainly be able to distinguish what buildings in the Baroque style look like. Likewise, in the digital age, today we can easily distinguish Apple-branded products. Thus, the design system can be considered ready-made kits for "building new interfaces".
Generally speaking, design systems are created so that designers and API developers can reproduce new products over and over again without having to rebuild common patterns.
As for the global purpose, design systems are used by companies that regularly update and launch new software services, examples of this are Google, Apple, etc. By the way, here you can read a first-person expert opinion on how specifications and design requirements are formed.
Obviously, design system brings many benefits for companies - from eliminating the need to create templates from scratch (to describe the basic principles of user interaction with the interface) to providing broad prospects for hiring third-party designers and front-end specialists (since they will receive a ready-made "charter "on creating new interfaces).
For brand fans, they lower the entry threshold by standardizing the UI, for brands themselves, they increase awareness and provide a significant competitive advantage.
As for long-term benefits, the development of design systems helps to significantly reduce the costs associated with the design and development stage of the user interface. Also, the design of the system accelerates the launch of the product and reduces the number of edits, due to tighter specifications, which literally prevent the teams working on the project from "poking a finger in the sky" (especially if they work separately from each other).
As you already understood, design systems have been around for a very long time, and are used by large brands everywhere. When YUI was young and fit in a child's palm, in 1975, NASA came up with their own list of design specifications back. As for the design systems that are used in our time, one of the first unified systems for creating interfaces can be considered Material Design from Google, which was first proposed in 2011 and finally formed in 2014.
The design of the system of our days differs from its prototypes by taking into account all the parameters of modern media devices. We are talking, first of all, about mobile (and in general, multi-format) gadgets and the adaptive design required for them.
Obviously, from a practical point of view, design systems are most useful to designers. Especially for those who work on the project separately from the development teams.
Such systems are mandatory for companies that one after another release branded software products and seek to increase their recognition within the target audience. Thus, it can be argued that any software development company that seeks to:
needs a design system.
This responsibility is usually assigned to design teams, development teams, or front-end teams. Also, designers are sometimes involved in this procedure. Note that it is impossible to complete the list of design system specifications since as new UI elements appear, it will expand.
As you can see, design systems create a powerful foundation for the long-term existence of companies that develop branded digital solutions. I will tell you how to create such systems in the second part of the article.