Andrew Travers

Andrew Travers is a designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

On design systems and agency

Posted on 06 Feb 2020

If you’ve not read it already, I can highly recommend Jeremy Keith's collection of blog posts on design systems / automation. It’s such an interesting conversation. And to echo Jeremy's addendum, how great is it to see some old school, long form, thoughtful discussion via blog posts?

I suspect we’ve barely scratched the surface how we’re building/communicating/thinking about design systems yet. These posts are an important contribution to changing that.

I wonder if some of the worries in here come down to ‘agency’ — that there’s a whole lot of fun/influence to be had in creating design systems, less so if you feel as a designer you are a disempowered implementer of someone else’s design decisions.

Design systems can often ‘read’ as very top down, but need to be bottom up to reflect the needs of different users of different services in different contexts.

I’ve yet to be involved in a design system that hasn’t struggled to some extent for participation and contribution from the whole of its design community.

And maybe that’s the issue that needs solving here. Making design systems truly the collective what-we-hold-to-be-true of a design team, not just an Ops team.