Encouraging Play in Design Systems

Published on for Cloud Four

As more and more design systems, pattern libraries and style guides debut, some common traits emerge. There’s usually an introduction, maybe some information about the guiding principles or brand assets and color palette. Front-end components are documented in detail, with nicely highlighted code samples. Sometimes a collection of templates will show how the whole thing comes together.

Something I rarely see: A place for contributors to experiment, make mistakes or stumble across brand-new solutions. If tomorrow someone wanted to try out a radical new idea within the system, where would that happen? Would it be visible to their colleagues?

Any system without clear answers to those questions runs the risk of stagnating once version 1.0 is out the door.

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