What is a design system?
For some it's a styleguide, others a component library, or a collection of assets.
The way we describe it, is that it's a collection of design patterns that all work together in your product ecosystem. Design systems solve UI/UX issues and are accessible to everyone.
Design systems show you how to build new features while stying consistent and reusing things you've already built.
Design systems build upon themselves. Solving and answering atomic level questions so designers can focus on higher level problems.
What happens if I don't have a design system?
Over time your application can drift out of sync, feel unpolished, and sometimes untrustworthy. Parts of your application might not even feel like they are part of the same system.
Slow feature development
Maintenance is expensive when changing an interface element requires fixing or refactoring multiple instances of the same component.
Design always has to go back to the drawing board
Designers and developers often burn time on problems already solved by other product teams. This wastes time, yields uneven results, and takes teams away from solving new and more interesting problems.
What happens when you do have a design system?
Speed of work
Each component you create, will answer future questions about how to use or include that component.
Having a single source of truth will allow your team to create features that look and feel the same across pages and workflows.
Each component has usage guidelines that help get team members know the context for how to use each component.