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Ask DN: Who uses UI kits?

over 5 years ago from , http://meet-cristian.com

Recently someone was advertising their UI kit and it got me wondering, who uses these? There are so many of them out there so people must be buying them.

To me however they seem like more work than they are worth - if you're a designer, you limit yourself to a predefined style, while taking it into a different direction feels like more work than building an element from the ground up.

If you're not a designer, you're not going to be able to do much with an UI kit, unless it has the exact layouts you need already put together.

Are there any designers who use these? If so, why? Have you ever heard of anyone buying them?

13 comments

  • Wyatt CampizWyatt Campiz, over 5 years ago

    Honestly, I do not see them as being useful. I would rather create my own UI kit for whatever project I am working on versus using someone else’s.

    I have checked them out here and there, but I do not see myself ever purchasing one.

    7 points
    • Cristian Moisei, over 5 years ago

      That's what I think - so who buys them to incentivise so many people to make them? They're everywhere.

      2 points
      • Adam RasheedAdam Rasheed, over 5 years ago

        Looking at the sales and support comments on envatos marketplace, it's usually low level freelancers that want to quickly design a <$2k site, but who want to download these kits to study them to better understand how to make a good UI, and people who have an idea for an app or whatever and quickly want to create an MVP using existing UI kits.

        Don't know any professional designers that use em.

        3 points
  • Ivan DrinchevIvan Drinchev, over 5 years ago

    I'm a front-end web dev. I bought one to build my side-project website 2 years ago. It saves time, but anyway I'm a developer rather than a designer, so I actually didn't have the time / knowledge / professionalism to design my own UI kit.

    4 points
    • Adam Morgan, over 5 years ago

      This. UI kits are pretty lego blocks for people who know enough to make something without knowing how to design it on their own.

      1 point
  • Richard SisonRichard Sison, over 5 years ago

    It's an interesting point and though I don’t use them very often, they can be pretty valuable sometimes.

    Like using frameworks out of the box, they can lead you and your designs into a certain aesthetic or set of design patterns. But like frameworks, they can be helpful to get alignment with your team and give your product or website a head start. And just like frameworks, you don’t need to use everything in it. You can just certain pages or components if that’s all you need.

    TLDR: Using a UI kit blindly won't end up with the best result for your product/website, but it can provide a decent starting point.

    Further to that, here a few other uses they’re good for:

    • Prototyping. Like a framework, it's a relatively easy way to get a start and gain alignment.
    • Learning. Maybe you're a junior and you just want to review and break apart "finished file"
    • Inspiration. Maybe you just needed some inspiration on laying out content or analysing specific bits of UI. And you're probably thinking this already, but yes, you don't need to buy the kit just for inspiration.

    Anyway, I hope that helps someone!

    3 points
    • Razlan HanafiahRazlan Hanafiah, over 5 years ago

      I agree. Rarely UI Kits can be used per se for a big project but they are great as a starting point. You don't have to design everything from scratch, pick something that is roughly aligned with the direction you have in mind, then modify or add to it to suit your project requirements.

      And they're good for inspiration too :)

      0 points
  • Kristaps Elsins, over 5 years ago

    I have designed UI kit for myself with "hard / time consuming" elements that speed up my workflow on client projects. For example i have designed 4 calendars to use for my projects. Calendars are usually boring to do each time from scratch - so i just take one i pre-made and do the styling.. Same with the standard graphs.

    Also i have created UI kit as a freebie https://dribbble.com/shots/2280257-Free-UI-kit-for-sketch-3 This made me a good piece for portfolio and a lot of features in design related blogs.

    2 points
  • Mark Harvey, over 5 years ago

    the only one I've ever used and found incredibly useful was the Material Design ones

    0 points
    • Cristian Moisei, over 5 years ago

      Yes but that's different - I use iOS and Material kits too, because that is a visual language established by Apple and Google respectively to give all of the apps created on their platform a consistent look.

      Even then however I do not go straight to the default layout they have, I only try to keep the navigation or buttons consistent.

      0 points
  • Christina FowlerChristina Fowler, over 5 years ago

    I use them :)

    Unfortunately not all projects allow for a UI kit to be designed from scratch so sometimes they can help to speed things up.

    Mostly I use them as starting points for whatever I'm designing. If I can grab a calendar or media player from a UI kit and it has all of the elements that I need I can then quickly change the fonts, colours, icons, design details and tweak the layout to match the style of the site I am working on. I see them as a blank screen/procrastination buster.

    I like freebies bug for finding UI kits, I don't usually pay for them. One of my favourite kits is Flatic as a starter kit: http://freebiesbug.com/psd-freebies/flatic-ui-kit/

    0 points
  • Mike AbbotMike Abbot, over 5 years ago

    They're great for mocks and as a starting point,

    0 points
  • Lucian Novosel, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    The closest I've come to buying on was as a freelance designer. I imagine the UI kits are insanely similar to what you get in the 'templates' section of Sketch. Template design kits can help translate your concept into something the user already speaks. A UI convention, to speak.

    I imagine they're useful for understanding an entire ecosystem of a UI. I haven't bought one yet however.

    0 points