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Enterprise Design System: Why Is It Important?

What is an enterprise design system and is it really important? Learn all you need to know about a consistent design system for modern organizations.

9 min read

With new technologies and a high number of digital solutions, UX design has become a flourishing field. The importance of better designs and improved user interfaces is increasing every day for modern organizations. This means that there is a rising need for designers in today’s market. However, this also means that the field of design is itself getting saturated as well as complicated for new learners. Design teams today have to manage multiple projects at the same time. They not only have to come up with creative ideas with a user-centered approach but also coordinate with the development teams working on products and services at different stages.

As the stakes get higher and things get more complicated on the enterprise level, it is important to give some structure to the design process. This is where design systems come into play. A well-crafted enterprise design system holds the promise of bringing uniqueness and consistency to the final products or services. Such a system includes the standards, rules, and guidelines that UI/UX designers can adopt for all projects. The importance of such a customized system, tailored to the needs of an enterprise is so much that modern organizations often hire a design system company to create a robust solution or assign this task to a dedicated team.

Design Development in Enterprises (AIHR)

It is crucial for aspiring designers to understand what an enterprise design system is and how they can help in building one. In this article, we introduce enterprise design systems as a localized framework in an organization. We also discuss the importance of such a system for modern enterprises as well as UI/UX design teams.

  1. Enterprise design system meaning
  2. The importance of design systems for enterprise companies

Read along as we see why today’s organizations need to create effective and efficient design systems.

Enterprise Design System Meaning

Before we talk about the importance of design systems for an enterprise, it is important to understand what these systems are. A design system is a structure or framework that governs the UI/UX design of the products or services created by an organization. Such a framework is critical to the success of the development process of any website, mobile application, or other digital product. It can be hard for UI/UX designers working in a team to be on the same page. A well-thought-out design system takes care of all such concerns by creating a comprehensive set of rules and guidelines. Although all organizations need to follow a certain framework, an enterprise may need its own design system.

An enterprise design system is created by an organization to address its specific design needs and aims. It includes all the basic design principles. However, these principles are addressed comprehensively, focusing on the goals and objectives of the organization. Such a design system provides guidelines on design strategies followed by the organization, along with the best practices for choosing design elements when working on a project. An enterprise design system also answers some of the important questions about the design and development process itself. For example, at which stages shall the designers gather user feedback and how to implement branding in the design of end products?

The Meaning of Enterprise Design System (Rocket Mortgage Technology on Medium)

In the next section, we discuss the importance of enterprise design systems, showing why modern organizations need such a system to improve the quality of their products and services.

The importance of design systems for enterprise companies

An enterprise design system is critical for modern organizations, particularly those working on digital solutions. Although enterprises can follow already existing design frameworks to suit their needs, it is always a good idea to create a localized system, that meets the needs of the organization and its multiple teams. An enterprise design system enables the organization to focus on its vision without compromising the quality and efficiency of its products and services.

Enterprise design systems streamline the development workflows and bring structure to the overall design process. With a standard already set and the goals of the organization in mind, various teams involved in the design process find it easy to get on the same page. This brings efficiency to the design of products and services, helping the enterprises succeed in the competitive market.

The Importance of Enterprise Design Systems

Here are some of the key benefits of having an enterprise design system.

Living style guide

When an enterprise is working on multiple projects and competing with different brands at the same time, it is always helpful to have a certain set of rules and a standard workflow for the designers. This is where an enterprise design system comes in handy. A design system serves as a living style guide that includes all the best practices and key principles of designing the necessary components wherever needed. All the processes, from ideation and prototyping to development and testing, then follow a standard procedure. This style guide, however, is something that is flexible and has the potential to grow with time. The best practices can be edited and updated, and new aspects added to the design systems as required.

Pattern library

In order to create successful products and services, it is important to give due attention to the design patterns. A simple UI component, such as a button or hover icon, can have a huge impact on the overall user experience. Therefore, product teams always ensure that a good amount of thought is given to the design of these elements. For every new project, designing such components from scratch can be a hassle. An enterprise design system takes care of these concerns by creating a pattern library that includes templates of basic design elements, along with the key things to do and avoid when designing new ones.

A Library for Patterns and Design Components (Usability Geek)

Consistent designs

Consistency is an essential element of any UI/UX design project. However, this aspect can get overlooked, if there is no standardization of design practices, leaving a bad impact on the user experience. If the mobile application of a tool is entirely different from its web page, it can confuse and frustrate the users. An enterprise design system addresses this concern and ensures consistency in design. This is achieved by providing guidelines on component hierarchy, use of color palettes, the inclusion of design elements, etc. Additionally, the pattern library includes reusable components that can be incorporated into multiple design projects at the same time.

Improve the Overall Design Process (Design for Humans on Medium)

Improved quality

Having an enterprise design system also helps in improving the overall quality of products and services. When the best practices are available to the design teams in a structured form, it gets easier to avoid mistakes and create better solutions. It is also important to note that the creation of an enterprise design system involves inputs from various teams, such as marketing, product development, engineering, and social media management. This helps in having the best set of guidelines, where the concerns of all the major teams and departments are taken into account. Therefore, following an enterprise design system improves not only the user interface but also the functionality of products.

Better Quality Designs (CareerFoundry)

Efficient project management

Modern technological organizations have to constantly innovate and initiate new projects, in order to stay in the competitive market. This is where keeping track of all the tasks and workflows can get challenging. Along with all the other benefits, an enterprise design system also helps in the effective management of projects. When there is a standard workflow for all the design projects, it helps the designers and developers to easily assess the progress of any project, and quickly understand its status. This also helps in resolving the communication issues between various teams as the process is known to everyone.

Reduced costs

One question about both the design systems and UI/UX, in general, is regarding the return on investment (ROI). Investing in the creation of an enterprise design system is totally worth it, as it helps in reducing the cost of design practices. In the presence of best practices and a design style guide that evolves with time, it becomes easy to avoid errors. Since the system gets updated frequently, the designers ensure that they make their new learnings a part of the system. Additionally, the presence of a design system also saves time spent on the projects, thus helping in scaling design projects.

Improved Designs with Reduced Costs (Your Retail Coach)

Better collaboration

When it comes to big enterprises, collaboration is the key to success. As the number of projects and their nature of complexity increases, a designer alone cannot do anything. This is why strong team collaboration is necessary to stay on top of things. An enterprise design system can help in bringing this value to the design process. By highlighting the major guidelines and concerns of design projects, such a design system ensures proper delegation of responsibilities, both within the team and across different departments. This clarity helps in working together, saving the design process from unnecessary roadblocks.

Strong brand image

Modern enterprises have to maintain a strong presence in the digital environment. This includes effective management of social media platforms, consistent website development, and email marketing, along with other customer relationship management techniques. In all such campaigns, it is critical to present a singular brand image that can strengthen the overall visibility of the organization. A good design system ensures consistent branding across platforms. This enables an organization to create a brand identity that can help in gaining a competitive advantage.

Enterprise Design Systems Create a Strong Brand Image (HashMicro)

Conclusion

Enterprise design systems are not a new concept for organizations working on digital solutions and aiming to improve their online presence. It is, in fact, an adoption of existing frameworks, based on the evolving needs of modern enterprises. A big organization, with expert designers and design teams working on the efficient development of products and services, requires a more structured approach to UI/UX. This is what an enterprise design system promises to deliver.

If you’re new to the field of design, it is always helpful to learn more about design systems and how processes flow in big corporations. This skill will come in handy when you look out for jobs and break into user experience design.