Building a design system that would allow teams to create faster, consistent, and scale.
Decrease design & development debt within the organization by introducing a better process
The starting point was a style guide created months ago. It was the only source of truth for new and existing designers, developers, and other team members. So, if we have something that works, why bother making a design system? What's the point? Our goal was to bring it to life. Giving it character, and the ability to breathe. A system that's efficient, consistent, accessible, and scalable.
With style guides, designers have to re-create components each time they start a new project. That's a lot of time wasted that could be used to create productive work. With the addition of design system to the team, designers are able to drag-n-drop starter pages, and components into their sketch file and start building quickly!
Creating consistent design was a challenge before a design system. Buttons had different padding, wrong text styles being used, and even wrong colours! That's a big problem when building in a large-scale environment. Now, it is always consistent because there is one source of truth that lives & breathes.
Being able to scale the design system is a top priority at Sun Life. Because it's a living & breathing thing, the Lumen design system is constantly updated with newer and better components using the best UX practices.
Using the Atomic design theory has been priceless in this journey. Proper document & guidelines help the team use components with more flexibilty and consistency. DSM allows everyone to easily access design components required to start building quickly.
Now let's go back to the question: What's the point of creating a design system? I'm glad you asked! It's to help teams create, communicate, and innovate with ease.
Special thanks to: Andrew Noel — Design Lead, for helping me along this journey.