Design Systems: What they are and why every Webflow project should have one

Design Systems: What they are and why every Webflow project should have one

Design systems are the backbone of every modern web application. They provide consistency in design and functionality, which can help you build better products faster.

Several major companies like IBM and Uber have been incorporating their own design systems to help them design their digital products.

This has enabled them to increase their teams' creation and innovation pace by utilising a set of standards and repeatable components. For Webflow projects, a well-defined design system is critical to success. It helps ensure that all team members are on the same page and that the final product looks and feels cohesive.

Design systems provide a convenient, centralised and organised way to manage your brand's identity and various touchpoints. Let's go over what a design system is, the disadvantages of not having one, and the benefits of having one for your Webflow project.

What Is a Design System?

A design system is a library of reusable UI elements and components sharing a common design language. Design systems allow web designers to choose from a single collection of approved design components, speeding up the design process and ensuring a more consistent user experience. Webflow Design Systems such as SystemFlow, and Client First are ever-evolving and provide a wide range of components that can help you build flexible Webflow websites faster.

Problems Associated With the Lack of a Design System

A lack of a centralised design system creates problems between designers and developers since everyone works off different components. Without a basic set of agreed-upon components, design teams are forced to recreate common elements repeatedly. Some problems associated with a lack of a design system for your Webflow project include:

No Clear Naming Conventions

Naming conventions are how components, classes, and IDs in a design system are named to provide consistency across different screens. If there is no naming convention, developers and designers will name components differently, leading to inconsistency in the user interface.

When everyone is working off different components, it's challenging to maintain a consistent naming convention. This can lead to confusion and frustration among team members and often results in overrides, making it difficult to update a component once it's been used multiple times.

This also makes it difficult to find and reuse components, making the whole project expensive and will cost you hours on end making updates.

Clients Require a Style Guide Along With Their Website

Every client is different, and they all have their own needs and requirements. If you don't provide a style guide on your website, the client will expect you to make changes according to their requests.

This means more hours on your end for updates, which can break the consistency of your design system. With a design system in place, you can simply update the style guide, and all changes will be made to your website automatically.

No centralised Library of Components

Without a proper library, every designer would have to make their own components. This is very difficult to manage and maintain, as you might forget to delete unused components.

Also, if other team members need a particular component that hasn't been created yet, they'll have to recreate it themselves. This can result in more time wasted on repetitive tasks and increase the project's development time.

The Benefits of Having a Design System on Your Webflow Project

Having a design system in place helps create a shared ecosystem for all team members to work within. It provides a common set of standards and practices that the entire team can use as a foundation for their work. When everyone uses the same system, it becomes easier to communicate and collaborate. Here are some key benefits of having a design system for your Webflow project:

Benefits for Developers

A design system offers several benefits to developers, including:

Choose From Pre-defined CSS Class Names (Everything Remains Consistent)

Design systems contain a set of pre-defined Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) class names, making it easier for developers to create components without thinking of different names. There are naming conventions already in place, which results in a consistent design system.

Easier to Maintain

With a well-defined design system, it's much easier for developers to maintain the website. This is because all components are centralised and follow the same standards. Developers can focus on coding rather than thinking of new components or creating them themselves. The tools help developers find and reuse components quickly and easily.

Intuitive Naming Conventions for Classes

Design systems have intuitive naming conventions for classes, including colour, typography spacing, and more, making it easier to find specific components. A centralised library also helps you find a similar component for a different use case. This makes it easier to reuse components and develop websites faster.

Updates Happen in Real-Time

With a design system, you have a living - style guide that updates in real-time. Every change made to the live style guide will be automatically updated on your website. This is because design systems use a core library of components that are connected to your website. This means that updates will happen in real-time, without any need for manual intervention.

Mobile Layouts Are Responsive by Default

Design systems are responsive by default, making it easier to create mobile layouts.  A good design system already includes smaller heading sizes and spacing by default to better fit the screen on smaller screens. This saves the work involved for developers in creating mobile layouts.

Benefits for In-house Teams

Below are the benefits of a design system to your in-house design team:

Update the Site Without Knowledge

Even if you don't have access to the stylesheet or front-end code, you can make design updates and changes without code knowledge. This is because design systems use a modular approach, which means you can update or change specific components without affecting the entire system. All you need is an understanding of the system's structure and how it works.

Empower Your Design Team

Design systems empower your design team to create a consistent brand across all channels. With a design system in place, designers can create reusable components that follow the same standards. This will help speed up the design process and create a more consistent brand.

Gives Marketing the Right Components at Hand

Design systems provide marketing with the right components, making it easier to create banners, landing pages, and other marketing collateral. They also encourage in-house team members to prototype in Webflow using the style guide as their guide. This speeds up the design process and brings down the cost of development.

Opportunity to Express Ideas

When in-house design teams are empowered with a design system, they can express themselves. This usually happens when the design system becomes a part of their creative process. They will experiment more, explore new ideas, and try things out. As a result, there is more room for creativity and innovation.

Key Takeaway

Design systems are a critical part of the design process. They ensure that every aspect of a brand is expressed in its style guide. Design systems are not just about making it easier for developers to work on a website. They also encourage cross-departmental collaboration and experimentation within a company, ultimately spurring creativity and design innovation.

If you need professional Webflow expertise for your next project, Deuce Creative Limited can help. We are a Hampshire-based Webflow Professional Partner Agency to provide you with the required knowledge to meet your objectives. We use no-code and low-code tools to deliver well-crafted products that non-technical teams can easily manage. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help with your Webflow project.

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David Jemison

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