Last month I gave a talk on using a single design system to power many distinct-looking brands. It sparked a conversation on Twitter about why we were still solving the same problems in 2018 that other designers and engineers had solved over a decade ago.
What struck me at the time is our penchant to try to solve things right away on the web. We tend to see progress as a series of spikes and dips in trends rather than a slow evolution over a sustained period of time. A trend is a coffee stain on the upper right hand corner of your blog. Things like accessibility, standards-compliance, and legibility are foundational to the web and require constant, steady focus.
Similarly, design systems, and how we use them on the web, need to continuously evolve to meet our growing and changing demands. Some of the most exciting work I see happening today is around how to use design systems in a way that empowers rather than stifles creativity.
As an industry, I’d love for us to rethink our definition of progress to include fast change and slow, deliberate evolution. Let’s reference the work that came before us and open our minds to new voices. And let’s give ourselves some space to solve complicated problems over time.