I really like this post by Brad Frost about what is and isn’t a , particularly when he de-emphasizes the importance of tools when it comes to that sort of work :

…components living inside static design tools like isn’t itself a design system. Pardon my clickbait. Perhaps a better title would have been “Your is not a(n entire) design system.”

No doubt tools like Sketch are super valuable, and having a set of reusable components inside them helps design establish thoughtful and consistent UIs. However, a Sketch library is just one piece of the design system puzzle. A design system also can include other puzzle pieces like:

  • Design principles
  • UX guidelines
  • Development guidelines
  • Coded UI components
  • Component guidelines, usage, and details
  • Page templates
  • User flows
  • Design tools
  • Dev tooling
  • repositories
  • and tone guidelines
  • Implementation guides
  • Contribution processes
  • Team structure
  • Resources (internal and external)
  • Other guidelines/resources/tools/process

I’ve been mulling this post over the past couple of days and I’ve started to think of design systems as much more than a suite of tools. In fact, I’m starting to think that folks who work on design systems should start to de-emphasize how important specific tools are and focus much more on the community-building aspects of the work instead.

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Your Sketch library is not a design system redux is a post from CSS-Tricks

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