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Expressive Design Systems

(A Book Apart #31)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Good design systems can help you create digital products with efficiency and consistency. But great design systems will support and strengthen your team’s creativity at the same time. In Expressive Design Systems, Yesenia Perez-Cruz shows you how to build useful, dependable systems that not only maintain harmony across your products, but also flex to accommodate inspiratio ...more
Paperback, 126 pages
Published November 21st 2019 by A Book Apart
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Dec 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
A great, quick, dense read. Better if you’re new to design systems, but valuable even if you’re not. My copy is full of notes on phrasing I want to use, or activities I want to try. A great approach to design system work.
Katie Kovalcin
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-52-books
Yesenia provides a thoughtful and deliberate approach to enabling expression and variation in a design system. Her clear examples demystify much of a designers’ thought process and outlines the borders of a system where creativity can flourish. One of the best books for people working with design systems!
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
A brief, yet insightful look into what goes behind the scenes when creating a design system.
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
A wonderful summary of design systems. It feels like an expansion on Brad Frost's atomic design, but details more on how to make it flexible enough to work. Maybe Brad tried to do that too but atomic gets mucked up in the language. ...more
Wouter Bos
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is a great start to make design systems work in organisations. And it's fairly quick read so you can quickly start to bring the lessons learned in practice. Most advice is practical and to the point. A seasoned designer might already know most of the subjects discussed by Yesenia and will miss some depth but I think it's always valuable to see the subjects organised in a book. Sometimes you know a lot but need to be reminded what is the right moment to implement something. Then this bo ...more
Arturo Ríos
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brief, straight-to-the-point guide to craft design systems that are purposeful, meaningful, and scalable.
Through examples mainly from Vox Media and Shopify, Yesenia eloquently articulates a framework to embed brand elements into a design system.
Sophie Shepherd
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Essential for any designer who works with other designers from the years of 2019-2040
Andrew Johnson
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Practical and eye opening guide to how to think about creating an actually good design system from end to end.
Jun 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Not very insightful if you already know a few things about Design Systems.
Jason Pamental
A really well written dive into what makes a design system more than just a collection of components. Every team responsible for for a design system at any scale should give this a read.
Simon MacDonald
After reading this book I have a much better understanding of the design system we use at work.
Olivier Grange-Labat
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love books. But what I love even more is short books full of great content. Expressive Design Systems fall in this category.

The chapters are well organized and flow smoothly, from the initial diagnosis and thinking process to working on a design system and later on managing it. I loved how Yesenia shares her experience working on design systems at Vox and Shopify with practical advices.


“Design systems create better products when they provide both unity and cohesion. Unity means that
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