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Is it OK to use an existing design system for your own website?

almost 4 years ago from , Creatix Online Marketing

With the creation of so many design systems from tech companies, we're starting to see design systems everywhere. As a solo designer, we don't have the resources or someone like AirBnB to create a full design system for our own personal portfolio site or blog.

Do you think its OK to use an existing design system on your own personal site? Why or why not?

9 comments

  • Dau j., almost 4 years ago

    Design systems are intended to make building huge products easier.

    A personal portfolio/website/blog isn't a massive product with 10 teams working on it at the same time.

    And it's your personal thing. Make it look personal.

    16 points
    • Kevin ChangKevin Chang, almost 4 years ago

      +1 for this - when I was at a larger product company with 40 designers, it made sense for us to invest in building a design system because our work was becoming increasingly fragmented and inconsistent when we were spread out across many teams. The design system helped us stay on the same page in terms of guiding principles and common components, freeing us to spend more time on the research/validation part of design than the interaction/UI,

      I'm at a consultancy now that designs and develops "greenfield" apps. It doesn't make sense for our process to create design systems early on when we're still trying to validate the product concept.

      Additionally, if you're using a design system that's open source, and it's legal to do so, you may want to look at the open issues/bugs.

      0 points
  • Alfred BeckmanAlfred Beckman, almost 4 years ago

    I would say it's all down to what kind of designer you are and want to be. If you're into user experience, information architecture or concept design the visuals of your website isn't as important as the content. But if you're more of a user interface or graphic designer the look and feel of your personal site is one of the thing selling you as a designer. If I see that it's basic Bootstrap without customization I might not get that impressed.

    That said, starting from a design system and building on to it, customizing it to something neat and unique works for me. With a design system you can get a good base to start from.

    Good luck!

    2 points
  • Petter AnderssonPetter Andersson, almost 4 years ago

    If it's open source then yes, technically you can. I don't really see any other reason though.

    Design systems are primarily for companies with a lot of designers, developers or other stakeholders involved in the making of a platform or product. To ensure consistency and that there is a unified design across the whole digital experience, in short: that everyone/everything "speaks the same language".

    I don't really see why one would need a design system for a personal site.

    1 point
  • Art VandelayArt Vandelay, almost 4 years ago

    If it works, then yes.

    0 points
  • Salvo Nicolosi, almost 4 years ago

    You can easily get inspiration from exisisting things... Then use your own touch to make something yours. It doesn't matter if you "copy" unless you do it in a creative way. Steal from many, understand, rebuild... Choose. Then you are designing.

    0 points
  • Daniel WiklundDaniel Wiklund, almost 4 years ago

    Yes it's ok to use existing design systems for your own personal site, if they are opensource/free/cc/ect., but if you are a designer, why would you?

    Your personal site should reflect your personal style and abilities as a designer, and using someone else' work in that connection would send the wrong signals. And if you are creating af personal portfolio site, there is no need to build a complex designsystem like AirBnB or other big companies.

    So my answer would be, you CAN use existing designsystems for your personal site, but you shouldn't!

    0 points
  • Rey AlejandroRey Alejandro, almost 4 years ago

    Yes, Especially if there is no copyright. Material design system is Free for example, there are also open source design systems out there and specially if it's for personal use only.

    0 points
  • Tim SilvaTim Silva, almost 4 years ago

    I'd could create strong arguments for yes and no answers. I think custom/existing are both okay. Its a fight between practicality and perfectionism.

    For yes: Front-end code is open source and as the popular (although questionable) quote from Albert Einstein goes, "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." Who has time to do that when there are free templates on squarespace that will make life easier for you and most employers won't notice the different (sadly) if they are considering you for a job.

    For no: Shouldn't your portfolio focus on what you can do? If you can code and design systems, why not prove it with your own website? Also, copying someone else's system could be consider ethically questionable depending on how you do it. If you copy someone else's work and claim it as your own (and even hiding it), that is wrong and lazy.

    Personally, I lean more towards no, at least for myself. I did most of my own website custom (aside from libraries like jQuery and a JS script or two).

    0 points