After a rigorous first week at HashedIn University’s 17th edition, the “Linkers”, had a very informative guest lecture on, Design MetaSystems, by Mr. Shayak Sen. He’s an IIT Roorkee and IIT Bombay alum and he currently Heads Design at Meesho. Previously, he has worked at frog, Practo, Commonfloor, etc. He has a close association with HashedIn for many years with respect to thought leadership activities and products. His lecture for the linkers was focused on creating a world around the design system, also known as, the Design MetaSystems. Design can be abstract, and to have greater efficiencies in design, there needs to be some kind of logic behind it. Also, as engineers, it is important to understand the thought process, that goes behind defining the semantics of design systems.
The Style Guide
In the past, the only thing that mattered was a style guide, also known as the brand bible. It relied on the designers’ gut instincts and their understanding. Today, it has evolved into a much more complex process. As Sen highlighted, organizations put a lot of thought into their style guide. It has to be a well informed, collaborative process that has a lot of hidden business logic. It outlines how a company is presented to the world and helps to build brand recognition. Each company has its unique guide, which encourages consistency and gives a unified company identity.
Design is not just about making things look pretty. As Sen rightly said, “Design needs to have a bigger impact.” Design plays an important role in the industry, especially with regard to the user’s experience. But does incorporate what the business stands for, take away from the creativity in the design process? Well, Sen answer’s this question with a definite, “No”. According to him, the design stands for much more than that. A design system should be the following:
- A continuously evolving system
- The decentralized system evolved from fundamental and basic rules
- A system with a known measure of success
- A system that can be measured and evaluated against the success metrics.
A design system is made up of smaller components, and this is a part of a larger system, which in a nutshell refers to the Design Meta System. Design principles are what the design system is based on and there are more abstracts that are closely related to the customers of that organization.
Moreover, when designing the design systems we need to ensure that they are emergent systems. This means that the collective properties arise from the properties of the parts. Moreover, it emphasizes on how behavior at a larger scale arises from the detailed structure behavior and relationships at a finer scale. For design systems, the final metrics of success is the success of the business.
The beauty of the design system is that it is self-evolving. Once you have the rules, components libraries, and adoptions (the process of measuring the success of the design system) figured out, you can put the feedback from the adoption process back into the rules. However, the rules that your design system will follow, will also boil down to the state of your business. If you have budgets to invest in the design system over a long period of time, then this will also play a major role in designing the system. As a developer, it is important to keep these design fundamentals in mind, especially with regard to the user’s perspective. Just as technology is evolving, the design process also evolves, and it is important, as a business to keep up with the changes in order not to be left behind.