Design System 101: Intro to Atomic Design
As a UX designer, when given the task to design a platform, whether it be web or mobile, there are a few things we have to take into consideration. Understanding the user our design is being created for is critical; the overall objective is to know how the user will ultimately achieve the final goal; simple, isn’t it?
But, before we go all out on creating a fantastic design, we have to think about all the elements that will go into the given application. How is it going to look like, how will it behave, and what happens if later on in the future you need to create a new section or a new card?
A proper design system will help us organize; it’s kind of like baking a cake, to be able to bake a cake, we need to have all of our ingredients and our recipe ready before we start baking it.
So, here’s a set of guidelines, let us walk you through what ingredients you need to create your one of a kind, amazing design!
What is a Design System?
As always we’re going to list down a set of requirements, we need to know what it is that we’re going to do. So, let us explain what a design system essentially is… A design system is not only a guide or a library, but it’s also your single source to find all the elements needed to design, realize, and develop a product.
A design system will be the tool, the guide, and the rule book for designers and developers to create any platform and where they can find all the elements, components, guidelines, and patterns to create any product.
What do you think might happen to your cake if an ingredient is missing? Or if you skip one step of the recipe? Your cake is probably not going to look or taste like you expected to, the same things happen with design systems. Building a design system will help you achieve a complete design, maintain consistency in your product, and make collaboration between different teams easier. With a proper design system, designers can define and change elements of the system, and developers can quickly build new components maintaining style.
All of this will help speed up processes because we do not have to build anything from scratch. We already have the elements and the guides that will help us create a new component making not only our lives but also our client’s lives easier by creating a consistent experience for them.
Our Special Recipe
We want to start off by saying there is no right or wrong way to create a design system, each system is meant to be tailored to your specific project, and just like a cake, you will find many different recipes on how to bake one. Let us show you the Venturit Inc’s design system recipe, perfected to fit not only the needs of our clients but also to help our teams work better and to help us deliver the best viable product.
At Venturit Inc, we use atomic design intending to have a complete fully functioning system; this process consists of five different stages that will work together to create an entire interface. The five steps of our recipe are as follows:
Atoms are the loose elements that will serve as the foundation for the blocks that will help us build our full organism. These include elements like labels, inputs, buttons, and all the items that compose the brand identity. With the help of atoms, the designers and developers will be able to maintain a cohesive style.
Molecules, simply put a combination of different atoms that will function as one. These grouped atoms will help us, later on, create our organisms. Molecules can be a form field with a send button, or a circle with a profile picture, the name, and email of a user, they are atoms put together to create a functioning group. Both molecules and atoms can be reused to create consistency throughout our interface.
Organisms are more complex components of our design system, but mostly, they are the summarization of the above elements. Just as the previous point, organisms are a combination of molecules and atoms. For example, a navigation bar, these are created by combining a search form molecule, a logo, navigation links, and possibly a profile picture avatar as atoms.
Templates are very similar to wireframes; they are a union of different organisms to create a page-level design. It is the structure or skeleton in which we will create our final design. If we go back to our initial example of baking a cake, we can say that the template is the base recipe without all the flavors; it shows the key components and structure of the interface.
You’ve created your elements, grouped them to make more complete components, and created the different sections that will help the user navigate through the interface. Now you are all set to create a template.
The final missing step is to put all the images and details needed to make your interface complete.
Building a design system will take time, and it comes with a lot of planning and hard work. Still, the final product will help you minimize your time when designing the pages of your interface, and you will have a cohesive, visually appealing platform. Yes, it may seem like a lot of work, but it is worth it, we can create a system that will help us easily construct new functionalities and prototypes that will adhere to the style and the guidelines in less time.
So, next time you are planning on building your next project, start with its design system, you will not regret it!
Don’t think you have the time to put together a Design System? Not to worry we can help you…