What are design systems? Does your business need one for web development?

What are design systems Does your business need one for web development

Back in 2005, a group referred to as The Design Council, studied the portfolios of 63 companies that traded on the FTSE (financial times stock exchange) and analysed their performance over the past ten years. Their study found that between 1994 and 2004, the companies that prioritized design performed 200% better than companies that did not [1]. It’s been over 15 years since that study and it has only become clearer that good design has a direct impact on conversions.

Stanford found that 75% of people decide how credible a business is based on the look of their website [2]. Over the past few years, businesses have become more cognizant of the importance of good digital design. Digital has become the centre of commerce for both B2B and B2C organizations. Hence, it is only logical that how we approach digital design has also evolved with time. Therefore, a term that website development agencies in Jamaica should be aware of is design systems.

Design systems are being used by companies like Uber and IBM to reduce redundancy in their development process and increase the speed of their development. But what are design systems? And, do you need to ask your website solutions provider in Jamaica about them?

Website solutions provider in Jamaica must know about digital system for web design

Understanding Design Systems:

A design system is a shared set of standards with regards to visual elements that help create consistency in visual language and reduce redundancy. They generally include: a style guide, a pattern library, visual assets, code snippets, and most importantly clear documentation on how visual assets should be used.

  1. Style Guide:

A style guide is a document that provides clear information and guidelines about the style elements of business/product’s design language. It will include information about what fonts need to be used and in what context. What are the brand colours? Different versions of the business logo and how to use them? As well as any common illustrations that are being used.

  1. Pattern Library:

A pattern library is a set of UI patterns that can be used by website design and development teams to develop a variety of products. Often pattern libraries are compared to a box of Lego pieces. Patterns can be assembled in different ways to create innumerable solutions that all have design consistency. They save a lot of time and effort for both the design and the development teams.

Using pattern library for web design and development

  1. Visual Assets:

A design system will also include commonly used visual assets so that they are easily accessible and no duplicate work is being done by different designers to create the same elements.

  1. Code Snippets:

Often the patterns and visual assets made available to designers are meant to act in a specific way or perform a particular action. This means that there is commonality in the code that needs to be used for these visual elements. Code snippets are included in a design system to help developers quickly build solutions. They also ensure that elements that look the same also behave in the same way. Further reinforcing design consistency.

  1. Documentation

Perhaps the most important part of a design system is the documentation. It’s not just about randomly assembling different visual elements on a whim. Documentation provides the guidelines on how various visual elements need to be used. How things can and should be assembled. What are the principles behind certain design choices? All of this helps ensure that a brands visual identity is kept intact and there are no compromises or mistakes being made.

Companies like Air BnB, Uber and IBM have made effective use of design systems. If you use any of these products you get a premium feel. You can instantly recognize the user experience because it is consistent across their website, web apps, mobile apps, emails, marketing materials, and more.

Elements of design system for web development

Does your business need a design system?

It depends. Do you have a wide variety of platforms and channels that you want to use to engage with users? Are you continuously developing new solutions and products for your customers? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then YES, you should definitely invest in creating a design system for your business.

In order to create and implement an effective design system custom-made to support your business’s specific marketing needs and objectives, you will require the expertise of an experienced website design and digital marketing team. Get in touch with Toucan Jamaica. We understand the importance of design and provide premium website development and digital marketing solutions to business in Jamaica.



  1. n.d., “20 reasons good design matters to your business”, Canva, [available online] available from: https://www.canva.com/learn/design-at-work/ [accessed September 2021]
  2. Apr 21, B. Hufford, “20+ Web Design Statistics You’ll Need to Create the Perfect Website for 2021”, Clique Studios, [available online] available from: https://cliquestudios.com/web-design-statistics/ [accessed September 2021]