There’s a design company in Asheville, NC – Sound Mind Creative – using this description to explain its craft:
Basically, we are experts at building and maintaining vibrant design systems, meaning we understand the power of visual consistency and the details of that are fonts, colors, photography, words and so much more. We create multi-page Graphic Design Standards documents that allow the look of a business brand identity/look to be replicated across print and web media, simply everything your company makes graphically matches (ex. your brochure matches your web site) and our standards manuals are rules.
Nicely put. The para perfectly explains what a design system is. Design is the “good stuff” in branding. Good design trumps bad ideas, daily, in our business. Good design can make a person stop dead in their tracks. It’s a craft like catching a football…many can do it, few do it exceptionally.
What often gets lost in all these design system discussions is the strategy — the words on paper. The motivation for the work. The binary “on/off” litmus that must be applied for proper brand building. A design system without a brand strategy is a road to nowhere.
More attention needs to be paid to the “words.” (Mark Pollard, a smart branding dude, is someone leading the way in this words-as-strategy discussion.)