what is a design system?
Design is visual, sure. But it is also verbal. It also has do with how something feels and how it sounds and what you take to be inherently important about an organization. When all of these components are consciously implemented across channels—print, web and social—we call it a system, a system that culminates in an intentional, consistent and active institutional presence out in the world.
anatomy of a Design System
Components of Success
Comfort with change
Adopting a new design system for your organization can be jarring, particularly for those who are not directly involved in the process. We work with clients to enfranchise key staff and make our systems as easy to establish as possible.
Buy-in at the top
Our most successful projects are done directly with—or with significant input from—an organization’s leadership. These are the people who have the vision we need to capture. These are the people who need to be onboard when it comes time for roll-out.
Reckoning with resources
Budgets are a reality at every level. The good news is that between digital printing and templated software, even the smallest projects can stay true to an organizational vision.
Grand plan vs incremental change
It would be wonderful to be able to wave a wand and have a new design system magically in place. The reality is that it takes time. Often we work with an institution to develop an overall plan followed by a phased roll-out. A benefit of this approach—apart from spreading spending across budget cycles—is that it can allow for a healthy evolution from element to element.