When is the right time to implement a design system?
Updated: Jan 25
Startups and smaller orgs are much less apt to need a design system, as they don't fully have their brand guidelines or strategic product direction figured out. Building a design system would be more of a waste of resources than a help since no North Star is formally in place.
A better approach to incrementally building a design system would be to lay the foundations first as a fledgling team in some sort of pattern library. When it's time to scale up headcount and products across your client's account, a single source of truth already exists along with some loose pattern and brand guidelines that can be pulled together to form the groundwork of a design system.
Approaching a design system buildout more incrementally and with more "small wins" helps keep your client's team members engaged and energized about the long journey ahead to building out a more robust design system. Small, incremental steps paired with growing headcount and resources to support a design system are vital to the long term success of the backbone of any digital product ecosystem