You may have heard stories about people not being able to support their system. Perhaps how it slowly fell out of sync. Some even claim that it became useless because no one would use it. I am here to debunk that myth.
Design Systems don’t need beaucoup time in maintenance mode.
The best way to accomplish this is by baking in low maintenance in from the start.
Often a set of Design Systems can look a lot more like a set of Brand Guidelines. Don’t get me wrong, Brand Guidelines certainly have their place, but they are largely ineffective in helping to bridge the gap.
To make the translation seamless, you need a proper set of tools.
Take the design team’s vision. Then make it an engineering reality. Don’t forget: the plan is to assist engineering in hitting its goals. The trick is to not lose too much design intent.
From my experience, for internal systems, you should try to integrate a build process. Ideally use the same Sass CSS build for both design system and production.
Now you can add a new entry when you want to document new components. This is a copy and paste affair. You take a few lines from the production app. Bonus points if you write a sentence or two to describe it.
The ideal person to solve this problem is a Design Systems Engineer. But what if you don’t have that person yet? That’s where I can help.
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My name is James Stone and I am a Senior Software Developer at Futurice in Helsinki, Finland. I typically give talks and write about Design Systems (especially with React), React, TypeScript and how to become a better developer. If you would like for me to send you an email every time I publish a new article or talk, please join my email list. I also will occasiounally send out some secret list only information or offers. I expect the frequency to be about one or two times per week.