April 16, 2024

The Role of Design Systems in Web Design

The Role of Design Systems in Web Design

A design system stands as an invaluable asset for both designers and developers. Let's look into why this is so crucial and explore real-world examples.

Written by

Rohan Bandekar

Director of Multimedia Productions & Sr. Designer

In the dynamic world of web design, where creativity meets functionality, the importance of design systems cannot be overstated. Whether you're crafting Wix websites for clients, diving into custom Webflow projects, or embarking on a ground-up creation, a design system stands as an invaluable asset for both designers and developers. Let's delve into why this is so crucial and explore real-world examples illustrating its significance.

Accelerating Workflows: Speeding Up Design and Development

Imagine you're tasked with creating a website for a client on a tight deadline. Without a design system, every element from color schemes to button styles would require individual attention, consuming precious time and resources. Contrast this with having a well-structured design system in place. It streamlines the process, allowing designers and developers to work harmoniously, leveraging predefined components and styles. Take Airbnb's design system, 'DLS' (Design Language System), for instance. It has empowered their teams to swiftly iterate and launch new features across platforms, ensuring a consistent user experience.

Consistency Breeds Confidence: Establishing Brand Identity

A design system acts as the cornerstone of a company's visual identity. It serves as a single source of truth, harmonizing all brand elements across diverse digital touchpoints. Just as a conductor ensures each instrument in an orchestra plays in harmony, a design system orchestrates visual elements, typography, and interactions to create a symphony of brand cohesion. Think of Google's Material Design. Its meticulously crafted guidelines foster consistency across various Google products, reinforcing the brand's identity while enhancing user trust and familiarity.

Comprehensive Guidance: Beyond a Brand Guide

While a brand guide outlines fundamental brand elements like logos and color palettes, a design system goes several steps further. It encompasses a comprehensive set of guidelines, dictating everything from spacing and typography to component behavior and accessibility standards. For instance, IBM's Carbon Design System extends far beyond aesthetics, offering detailed instructions on how to implement UI components and interactions. This holistic approach ensures not just visual consistency, but also usability and accessibility across all applications.

Timing Is Key: Knowing When to Invest in a Design System

Admittedly, not every project warrants the immediate implementation of a design system. In the nascent stages of brand development, when flexibility and experimentation are paramount, relying on a brand guide may suffice. However, as the brand matures and the need for scalability and consistency arises, investing in a design system becomes imperative. It's akin to laying the foundation of a building. While it may take time and effort initially, the benefits in terms of efficiency and cohesion are invaluable in the long run, sparing countless 'What was the corner radius again?' emails.


Whether you're a seasoned web designer or just embarking on your digital journey, incorporating a design system into your workflow is not just advantageous – it's essential. From expediting workflows to fostering brand consistency, the benefits are undeniable. So, as you embark on your next web design endeavor, remember: a well-crafted design system is not just a tool; it's the blueprint for success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Wondering if you need a design system, or looking for design experts to help you build one? Reach out to us for a free consultation.