Design System : why do you need one? 

Design System cover

The world of modern business doesn’t tolerate reinventing the wheel, the steel, and hot water, especially when modularity — a very reliable principle that breeds consistency and productivity — has become a tangible standard for practically every system that exists today.

The value of modularity extends to design systems, where it has become standard practice to create digital products in a modular fashion, enabling scalability during development and easier maintenance during the product’s life cycle. What exactly are design systems, and how do these organized systems work?

What Is a Design System?

A design system is a set of functional reusable components and patterns used by product teams to produce a consistent user experience (UX design) governed by defined design principles across various products.

Design systems serve as a foundation of the universal design philosophy for an entire business, a single source of truth that guides product development using a single design language.

Design systems are usually built upon design principles, which relate to UI designs, and design vision, which usually explains the overall goal of the product design. In addition, these systems, which are a documented set of components and styles used in product design, usually include the implementation plans of the same.

A Simplified Explanation

Frost’s atomic design foundation is an understanding of user interface (UI) components, which are compared to atoms, the fundamental building units of matter. UI components can be used to build a digital product’s screens and, eventually, a full-fledged design system.

The combination of UI components creates molecules, forming the tissue of visual design. These “tissue samples” are then used to create the templates, which later become product pages.

Design System Roadmap

Here are the key steps to creating and building a design system:

Revise and Audit Your Visuals

Revising and auditing your existing visual UI elements is the first step toward building a design system, whether it’s an app, a website, or another digital product. Taking stock of the CSS component library you’re employing, and the aesthetic attributes of the elements will help you determine how difficult this approach will be.

Design System Language and Thinking

A design system’s visual language is its foundation, made up of the different design components you’ll employ to build your digital product. Your visual design language is divided into four categories, and each of these design aspects should be considered in every component on the screen.


The most commonly used colors in design systems are one to three primary colors that symbolize your brand. You may want to employ different tints and shades to give your design system team a wide range of possible design patterns.


Most design systems use only two fonts: one for headings and one for text body or body material. A monospace typeface is reserved for code snippets. You want to avoid overloading and misleading your users, so it’s best to keep things as simple as possible.

Reduce the number of fonts you employ; it’s not only a good typographic design decision, but also reduces performance concerns caused by too many online fonts.

Sizing and Spacing

The design system you use becomes more aesthetically pleasing when you strike a balance between spacing and sizing of UI design. Due to its use in iOS and Android platforms’ standards, ICO size formats, and even the standard browser font size, a 4-based scale is becoming more prominent as the recommended scale.


When it comes to imagery, the key to successful design is having clearly carved out style guides for graphics, icons, and image formats.

Create UI Pattern Library

Unlike the previous visual inspections (which audited aesthetic attributes of your design pieces), this phase examines the actual components of your UI. First, gather all of the components of your UI that are currently in production. This includes all buttons, forms, modals, and images. Next, merge and remove what isn’t required and necessitated by your design system.

Document Elements and Components

Documenting elements and components within your design system is crucial, as it contains information about the element/components’ nature and use-case. In addition, having a well-documented pattern library will increase your team member’s workflow, increasing the effectiveness of your design process.

What Should a Design System Contain?

There are two main components a design system should contain:

Design System Repository

Repositories usually contain a style guide, a component library, and a pattern library.

  • Style guides — These offer specific implementation rules, visual references, and design concepts for producing interfaces and other design deliverables. These mostly center on branding, including colors, logos, and typography, but may also provide content guidelines — which can be implemented into a component library for context-sensitive guidance.
  • Component libraries — These hold preset, reusable UI elements designers and developers use to build certain aspects of the UI. Unfortunately, creating such libraries is a time-consuming and costly process.
  • Pattern libraries — Though used synonymously with “component libraries,” is a specific term, as there are notable differences between the two libraries. For example, unlike component libraries, which contain individual UI elements, pattern libraries contain sets of UI-element groups or layouts.

Design System Team

A design system is only as good as the team that runs and maintains it. Design systems require ongoing maintenance to avoid becoming obsolete, outmoded, or overburdened with redundant inputs, entries, or submissions. The size of your team should reflect the size of your design system — the larger the system, the larger the team maintaining it.

Benefits of Design Systems

Design systems offer several benefits, and here’s why anyone should invest time and effort into building one:

  • Consistency — Consistency is one of the most important aspects of good design and UX. A consistent design is intuitive, logical, and easy to follow. Front-end consistency includes consistent visuals, functionality, and accessibility, while consistency at the back-end allows for faster web design prototyping.
  • Reduced Building Time — Consistency within the system design often leads to faster development. Building a system is time-consuming, but it’s an investment toward long-term benefits. Having reusable and well-cataloged elements makes prototyping much faster, cutting down the building time.
  • Unites Everyone — A well-documented and maintained design system allows different teams joining the product pipeline to understand the task and hand and available resources. Instead of having individual team members “reinventing hot water,” a design system provides everyone with the same documentation, resources, and guidelines.
  • Promotes Innovation — Though using predetermined elements within a design sounds like an innovation-killer, design systems actually encourage innovation. They eliminate the need to create everything from scratch, allowing team members more freedom to invest their time into advancing UI and UX through innovation.


Design systems are composed of several different components, patterns, and guidelines that help optimize your team’s design effort. However, they’re still designed and managed by people.

If you’re interested to learn more about design systems, UI and UX development, and digital transformation, contact Anais Digital and book a meeting with one of their design experts.

Ces articles devraient aussi vous intéresser


A Day in the life of : Alex Zamfir, Lead React and React Native Developer

Behind every successful Anais project is a team of experts, working together to deliver the best possible solution for our clients. We pride ourselves on building teams with diverse backgrounds, complementary skills and an agile spirit. In this series, you’ll learn more about the individuals that make up the Anais team as they share a […]

10 Best Tools for Wireframes and Prototypes


The 10 best wireframe tools to use in 2022

The construction of a building generally requires a sketch and a blueprint. In the same vein, developing a website or app often requires wireframes, mockups and sometimes prototypes. A wireframe is a low-fidelity sketch of what will eventually become a digital product. A mockup, on the other hand, is a higher fidelity version of the […]

Cover with Dan Nicolae, Delivery Manager at Anais Digital Agency Romania


A Day in the Life of: Dan Nicolae, Delivery Manager (DEV COO)

Behind every successful Anais project is a team of experts, working together to deliver the best possible solution for our clients. We pride ourselves on building teams with diverse backgrounds, complementary skills and an agile spirit. In this new series, you’ll learn more about the individuals that make up the Anais team as they share a day in their life.

First up, Dan Nicolae, Delivery Manager (DEV COO) in our Bucharest, Romania office.

become UX designer


How to become a UX Designer in 2022? 

User Experience (UX) is one of Anais Digital’s strengths. It is part of our DNA. But what are the skills you need to become a UX Designer? What training should you do to get into the profession? Our UX team shares its point of view and experience on the topic. It is the Holy Grail […]

No waste podcast ep10


Ep10 – Définir la gouvernance d’un projet digital

Saviez-vous que la performance de vos projets ne se trouve pas uniquement dans la mise en place d’un plan efficace ? Elle se traduit aussi par la mise en place d’une gouvernance efficace et adaptée au contexte. La mise en place de projets digitaux au sein d’une entreprise implique la définition d’une structure : la […]

No waste podcast Ep 9


Ep 9 – Un moment pour tout et un temps pour chaque chose (Ecclésiaste-3)

C’est sans doute l’une des perspectives les plus séduisantes de la vie d’entrepreneur : être maître de son temps.  Quand on comprend que dans la vie chaque minute compte. Apprendre à gérer son temps devient une compétence indispensable de l’entrepreneur.  Dans cet épisode, Christophe Jouret revient sur ce célèbre adage de l’Ecclésiaste : “Un moment […]

No waste podcast ep 8


Ralentir pour mieux saisir les opportunités (ep. 8)

“Qui chasse plusieurs lièvres, n’en attrape aucun” : cet adage vous parle t-il ? On pense parfois que efficacité rime avec rapidité, c’est souvent le contraire.  Pour des raisons budgétaires, de manque d’informations ou de visibilité, les porteurs de projets ont tendance à choisir la facilité ou à vouloir aller trop vite.  Dans cet épisode, […]

No waste podcast ep7


Startup et corporate : des cultures qui s’affrontent ? (ep. 7)

Vous connaissez probablement ce qui oppose la culture des startups à celle des corporates:D’un côté : la structure et la réglementation, de l’autre l’agilité et la rapidité. Si ces deux systèmes peuvent paraître antagonistes, ils gagneraient à apprendre et à s’inspirer l’un de l’autre. Dans cet épisode, Christophe Jouret, associé d’Anaïs Digital nous explique comment mixer les […]

No waste podcast ep 6


Mettre l’ego au service du collectif (ep. 6)

En matière d’ego, il existe deux types de personnalités parmi les porteuses et porteurs de projet : quel est le vôtre ? Le “bon” porteur de projet : celui qui met son ego au service du projet. Le “mauvais” porteur de projet : celui qui met le projet au service de son ego. Si on […]

No waste podcast ep 5


Introduire la culture de l’aide dans son organisation (ep. 5)

Dans le monde corporate ou des startups, il est rare d’entendre quelqu’un appeler à l’aide.  Pourquoi ?  Parce que parfois on a tout simplement peur de déranger, peur de ne pas la mériter ou encore pire, peur de s’entendre dire non.  Dans cet épisode, Christophe Jouret, associé d’Anais Digital, nous explique comment surmonter nos peurs […]