One myth surrounding design systems is that it is the same as a styleguide. A styleguide, especially a living or coded styleguide can be a fantastic addition to your Design System. However, it is not always necessary. Also, a styleguide does not necessarily make a design system.
The popularity of large public design systems such as MailChimp, Salesforce Lighting or Google Material Design fuels this conception.
It is easy to see these huge, very polished systems as the ideal you work towards. Simply put, there is no ideal.
The best Design System for your organization might be fundamentally different.
- It might have a public styleguide.
- It might have a private living / coded styleguide.
- It might not even have a styleguide.
The goal is to create a set of documents that allows your team to manage a growing set of products and perhaps a growing number of platforms. It is important to be able to scale and roll out changes quickly.
A Design System Engineering is a framework that allows you to span the gap between design and engineering.
It improves communication and allows for a systemized process. This allows you to scale your products quickly and seamlessly.