Parts of Design Systems - An Interactive Workshop Exercise

Today, we are thrilled to share a small exercise called 'The Parts of a Design System' to help guide you in building your optimal design system. This collaborative exercise, which can be performed individually or as a team, enables participants to identify, select, and discuss the most desirable components for their future design system. It's a brilliant way to open up discussions, find common ground, and begin mapping out your design journey!

Inspired by Nathan Curtis's innovative offline approach, our team has digitized the exercise, transforming it into an interactive online application. Whether you're brainstorming the architecture of your future design system or evaluating the status of your current one, this exercise will provide insightful and valuable data points to direct your efforts.

How Does 'The Parts of a Design System' Exercise Work?

The interactive application guides participants through a series of instructions. You'll be prompted to select parts that resonate with your vision for your ideal design system. You can use this exercise to evaluate your existing design system as well, identifying the components you already possess.

Once the exercise is completed, your results are saved as a PNG file, facilitating easy sharing with your team members through your preferred communication channels. The image serves as a visual representation of your selected parts, illustrating where your design system stands today and the potential evolution towards your ideal system.

Why is this Exercise Important?

The beauty of this exercise lies in its simplicity and versatility. It doesn't matter if your team is on the same page or has divergent ideas about the ideal design system. The 'Parts of a Design System exercise brings everyone to a common platform to discuss, debate, and align their visions.

Perhaps the most significant value comes from any mismatches that arise between team members. Contrasting visions can spark meaningful dialogues, allowing for a more comprehensive exploration of what works best for your team and project.

Moreover, when used for evaluation, it helps teams visualize their design system's current state. By comparing this snapshot with your ideal system, you'll be able to identify where to focus your efforts to bridge the gap.

We welcome you to try out the exercise here:

Do share your experiences and any interesting insights gained from this exercise. We're excited to see the diverse and innovative design systems you'll build!

Stay tuned for more such engaging content and exercises aimed at enhancing your design system journey.