At Patterns Day, Alice shared what she has learned from shepherding the Origami project within the Financial Times.
Jina invented an entirely new genre for her Patterns Day talk—autobiographical fantasy.
The latest video from Patterns Day is up—Ellen’s superb philosophical presentation: Patterns in Language, Language in Patterns.
There’s so much packed into this one, it might take more than one viewing to take it all in.
Once again, we can learn from Christoper Alexander’s A Pattern Language when it comes to create digital design systems, especially this part (which reminds me of one of the panes you can view in Fractal’s default interface):
- Each pattern’s documentation is preceded with a list of other patterns that employ the upcoming pattern
- Each pattern’s documentation is followed by a list of other patterns that are required for this pattern
Jon’s worried that thinking about components first might damage the big picture.
One doesn’t create a design system starting with a loose collection of parts before creating the whole.
Won’t somebody think of the parents!?
Without creative direction, a design system becomes a group of disconnected elements existing alongside one another.
What’s the difference between style guides, pattern libraries, and design systems? – Joseph Fitzsimmons
Ah, the age-old question!
The Venn diagram here pretty much maps to how I think about these different terms, and how they relate to one another.
Paul has published the slides and transcript of his knock-out talk at Patterns Day. This a must-read: superb stuff!
Design systems are an attempt to add a layer of logic and reasoning over a series decisions made by complex, irrational, emotional human beings. As such, they are subject to individual perspectives, biases, and aspirations.
How does the culture in which they are made effect the resulting design?
A great blow-by-blow account of Patterns Day by Hidde.
Here’s the website for Alla’s forthcoming book. You can sign up to a low-volume mailing list to get notified of updates.
Alla’s book is going to be a must-have (I know because I’ve been reviewing it as she’s been writing it). Pre-order it now. It’s out in September.
Dave muses on the challenges of maintaining a pattern library:
- Rolling out a Pattern Library is infinitely harder than building one.
- If you don’t have pages, it’s doesn’t solve the problem.
- Vertical spacing will make or break you.
- The Pattern Library is dead if it’s not prioritized.
This is a really intriguing book that combines design theory and programming—learn about contrast, colour, and shapes, with each lesson supported by code examples.
It’s still a work in progress but the whole thing is online for free. Yay for web books!
Another instance of Fractal in the wild, this time for the Federalist design system.
- It’s open source.
- It’s easy to use.
- It generates standalone HTML previews of each component.
- It uses or supports many of the technologies we use already.
- Fractal offers a customizable theme engine.
I’m not sure the particular use-case outlined here is going to apply much outside of AirBnB (just because the direction of code-to-Sketch feels inverted from most processes) but the underlying idea of treating visual design assets and code as two manifestations of the same process …that’s very powerful.
A look at the history of design systems and how they differ from pattern libraries. Or, to put it another way, a pattern library is one part of a design system.
Design-system builders should resist the lure of the new. Don’t confuse design-system work with a rebrand or a tech-stack overhaul. The system’s design patterns should be familiar, even boring.
The job is not to invent, but to curate.
Interesting thoughts from Josh on large-scale design systems and how they should prioritise the mundane but oft-used patterns.
When the design system is boring, it frees designers and developers to do the new stuff, to solve new problems. The design system carries the burden of the boring, so that designers and developers don’t have to.
Paul finishes up his excellent three part series by getting down to the brass tacks of designing and building components on the web …and in cities. His closing provocation has echoes of Heydon’s rallying cry.
If you missed the other parts of this series, they are:
Dan describes his approach to maintainable CSS. It’s a nice balance between semantic naming and reusable styles.
Warning: the analogies used here might make you very, very hungry.
Philip Ball certainly has a way with words.