I'm Dan Mall. Ask me anything!

3 days ago from Dan Mall, Founder & CEO

  • Josiah DJosiah D, 3 days ago

    Hey Dan! Been following for a bit and appreciate your excitement for design systems.

    1) In your view, what is the difference between a set of brand guidelines and a design system?

    2) What is the best way to wade into design systems? It seems like there's a lot of poor frameworks and advice out there. A lot of it seems focused on design systems for giant companies. Is it even worth going down that path for a one-off website?

    2 points
    • , 3 days ago

      Thanks Josiah! It's an exciting time for design systems.

      1) In your view, what is the difference between a set of brand guidelines and a design system?

      I think there's a hierarchy to them. Brand guidelines belong within a design system. The design system is the whole ecosystem; it's the combination of guidelines and components, expressed as software.

      2) What is the best way to wade into design systems? It seems like there's a lot of poor frameworks and advice out there. A lot of it seems focused on design systems for giant companies. Is it even worth going down that path for a one-off website?

      Our industry is spoiled to see lots of exhaustive, mature design systems. But that's also intimidating! One thing I often encourage when starting a design system is to think small. What I love about product and software design is that it's never done. That means we always get to start somewhere and grow from there. We don't really have good example of this in the wild, but who says 1 component can't be the start of a design system? Even for a one-off website, if you create 1 card component that you can reuse multiple times, you have a design system!

      3 points
    • , 3 days ago

      Brand guidelines belong within a design system.

      I'm actually changing my tune on this. As my buddy Joshua Blankenship points out, "brand guidelines equate to 'how our brand represents itself everywhere' not just in the context of software." I agree with that. And, as I think about the design system work we've done at SuperFriendly, brand is usually managed by a separate design than the design system team and tends to have more organizational importance since it governs more than just software. That seems appropriate to me.

      So, perhaps a clarification: the pieces of brand guidelines that apply to a design system should be found within or adjacent to a design system. Combined with software principles, that combination can be considered the design system guidelines.

      3 points