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Design systems : A practical guide to creating design languages for digital products.

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Not all design systems are equally effective. Some can generate coherent user experiences, others produce confusing patchwork designs. Some inspire teams to contribute to them, others are neglected. Some get better with time, more cohesive and better functioning; others get worse, becoming bloated and cumbersome.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published 2017 by Smashing Magazine
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Instead of thinking in terms of static pages, teams are starting to approach design in a more systematic way.  This book talks about how to make an effective design system that helps generate coherent user experiences, inspires teams to contribute to them, and get better with time. Here are my notes:

Design patterns are any repeating, reusable part of the interface (eg button, typography).  A design system is a set of connected patterns and shared practices for a digital product.

The domain influe
Amir Tavakoli
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you work in a development team and your team is developing a new digital product you can create your own design system. The main goal of a design system is to systemize design processes. It helps u to create and archive your own patterns and signatures, and even helps you to produce and curate your own design language.
In this book, Alla Kholmatova sets out to identify what makes an effective design system that can empower teams to create great digital products. I highly recommend designers an
Jean-Francois Potvin
Learned a lot on pattern librairies and design systems. Interestingly enough, our team is starting to build the equivalent for our digital products. Will definitely continue to read on that subject and try to put in practice some of the advices provided in the book. Next up : Inclusive Design Patterns.
Wilson Jimenez

Good insight on an interesting topic, a bit redundant but still good content. If you've some experience in the industry, some concepts will be somewhat clear by now like the importance of getting buy-in or the intricacies of coordinating work and communication between product teams within a company.

There are many references to great articles through out the book that I'd like to read next, would've liked to have them as an aggregated list at the end like a bibliography.


Felipe Gonçalves Marques
This is a great book to understand the fundamentals of a design system and the techniques to produce and manage one. It explains several concepts with real examples and it doesn't impose a strong opinion on how to build it. It tries to show the different facets a design system may have.

Personally, two concepts draw my attention:
- The definition of a functional pattern based on purpose, and not only its main functionality. Grouping a series of patterns (Hero, Banner, Related content) under the "p
Nadya Tsech
I would recommend this book to designers who haven't started to build their own library or just at the beginning. It has a lot of useful theory and some practical tips on building the library and less on maintaining and improving. ...more
Stacy Holmstedt
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely resource-rich guide that helped get us started with figuring out our design system.
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm very deep in this topic already, but Design Systems from Alla Kholmatova was a very interesting read. I especially liked the focus on the intention of patterns and what design means. A lot of blog articles on the topic of design systems focus on technical and practical aspects of these systems or are too general. So this book adds a good approach on why and how to create design systems and teams around it.

The things I'm missing a little bit are deeper insights and an analytical view on shown
Milana Stanic
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
This should be considered a handbook, not just a book, you can go through it and something will stick BUT ultimately you will have to make a specific case for your specific needs and this book as Santa's little helper will do it. It has completely changed my mind on some things and opened my eyes for others, I am amazed. So, why 4 then? The structure is weird for me, I am not sure how to explain it apart form, it is not chronologically set and that confuses me. All the operations I need to do I ...more
Ardavan Mir
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rated 5 because this book served the purpose it promised to me. It exceeded my expectation. Alla creates a simple and comprehensive categorization for design patterns which she explores each one more in details throughout the book. The book is full of different examples of processes and practices of different teams.

I also appreciate the way Alla avoids complication of an issue that could easily get overcomplicated.
Alla writes a handsome book here, catering to the needs of visual and UX designers seeking a systematic and modular approach to their work. There’s much redundancy on basic design concepts, though: identifying principles, building consensus, clarifying functions, the difficulty of naming. And there are only passing references to front end implementation strategies, which has my interest. Recommended, for visual designers, but not developers per se.
Michael Szeto
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design
Great book to read to learn more about design systems.

Found some of the thinking and examples really great to those who are new to the subject and need to consider how to organise the content and information you might have on a design system better.

Something that the book doesn’t do as well is discuss how to apply it across the wider company with enough detail and ideas on how to sell it.

As a base though it is super useful, helpful and genuinely a book id always recommend :)
Mark DeHate
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As someone who's starting the process of creating a design system, this book has been very timely. It's packed with clear and straightforward examples from a wide variety of existing systems. It's full of real-world and concrete advice, as well as stories of design systems that could have gone better.

Highly recommended for anybody that's thinking about implementing a design system.
Mariana García
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical and full of examples, shows how a system can be built from very strict to very flexible, encourages the reader to understand the building blocks of their system and translate them into reusable components and moreover, talks about the adoption of this system by non design departments and later maintainance. Very complete and one of my reference books so far.
Nicholas De Lucena
A very straightforward and practical guide to the subject. For those with a design or programming background, the book feels a little bit obvious at certain parts but overall it is a very useful guide on the subject.
John C
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alla provides great insights and perspectives, not only for the design of interfaces themselves, but also what's necessary at a people level in order to have a strong philosophical foundation for tackling big projects and involve stakeholders across design, development, marketing, and more. ...more
Matej Latin
A few golden nuggets here and there but a lot of repetition. I feel it could be shorter and more focused. I loved the part of systemizing the functional and perceptual patterns, that was the best bit!
Tomáš Buman
Good for beginners, but... very confusing. I read almost a half and still did not understand why I sould continue in reading. Still looking forward something interesting and it did not happen. Stopped at page +-100.
Finished only two thirds because this was borrowed and I had time constraints.

Useful overview, but not with many deep insights. Good for complete non-designers like me, but if you have any experience, I have doubt you'll get many new things from this.
Deane Barker
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good look at how to componentize a design. Lots of emphasis on people and process. I would have liked some code-level analysis, like how you actually manage the markup for flexibility and consistency.
Dec 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
I think it’s a great introduction to Design Systems. For me it lacked a bit of depth. But still, every product owner, designer and developer should read it..
Anton Roolaart
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reading with practical, easy to understand examples

As a UX Designer, I enjoyed this book very much. The author explains the concepts in an easy to understand approach.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some redundancy, but all in all a nice round up of a very interesting subject, with a some good ideas along the way.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Concise and pragmatic book on the “how” of building design systems. Tons of real examples are used to show every part of the process. Highly recommended.
Stephanie Tanata
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book about general knowledge of design system and how to create one by examples from great design library in AirBnB, Attlassian and TED
Luis Argumedo
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great explanation with good examples and extra resources. It helped me get direction on how/where to start with a Design System.
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worthwhile if working on the implementation of a design system. Decent examples, although a bit too focused on FutureLearn.
But, honestly, reading this felt like a chore.
Gary Crossey
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Good overview. Could have included some handles on examples.
Pan Pan
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A comprehensive structured book leads you to know about the Design System. It was the first book I read tells about the Design System, I learned a lot from it. Thank you, Alla!
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basically only the first half was useful, the rest of the book felt too redundant.
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