One true beauty of design system is automation:
- How much a standard (along with principles and non-coded best practices) can be automatically applied throughout the design and development cycle;
- How much can such a system help construct product/service. Collecting cliches is not enough to construct a good story. Likewise, collecting reusable libraries is not enough to create a good product.
Another beauty of design systems is embedded communication:
- How much it can internalize the part of communication that would have to be done externally and explicitly through multi-stakeholder meetings and discussions, and that which would end with the same result;
- How much the communication can become more fluent, with improved effectiveness and efficiency.
Although a bit hyped, design system signals the dawn of automation in design.
As principles, best practices, patterns, and libraries stabilize and evolve (far more often than revolutionizing), tactical and functional design tasks will be operated by AI machines (only curated by humans) and become highly automated.
Design as a human profession naturally shifts to a higher level of strategic and systemic concern.
Human designers, assisted by intelligent machines, will lean towards solving wicked problems by systems thinking and designing intelligent machines.
A “perfect” design system would be something like a story generator: with minimal but creative contribution from humans, it generates the design accordingly.
The resulting design not only serves the respective purpose, but also contributes greatly the effectiveness and efficiency of the human team.
A story is far more than the sum of its plot devices and dramatic instruments. It takes creative human input to tell a great story.
Likewise, it takes a creative human culture to create good design.
Who’s the ghost in your design system shell?