Experience seamless visuals and rapid product growth with a Design System

A Design System is a living style guide: a set of design patterns and shared workflows understood by everyone in your team. Having a solid Design System empowers your team to maintain standards and a cohesive look, even during rapid scaling of your product.

Whether your existing system is falling short, or you're a Design Systems newbie, thoughtbot's expertise can optimize your user experience and product growth.

Let's talk about your Design System

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Much more than a style guide

“We have a Style Guide, why do we need a Design System?”

A Design System is your style guide come to life. Combining your pattern library, design documentation, and product workflow, your Design System is the single and sustainable source of truth uniting your product teams.

We will lead the initial investment needed to establish a sustainable Design System that can grow with your project and team. A best-practice Design System is a gift that keeps on giving and you'll start to reap the rewards right away.

End design debt

Tackle design debt once and for all with a self-sustaining Design System

Design debt can easily build up during periods of rapid product growth. New features add value for users, but an increasingly incoherent user experience will start to drive them away.

If this sounds familiar, then you need a Design System overhaul to streamline your existing features and set cohesive standards for new ones.

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We had an awesome experience with thoughtbot. We were able to make OneYum really come to life for the first time.

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Renny Mitchell
Founder, OneYum

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Build cross-team trust

A single source of truth, written in a shared language

Optimizing your Design System has the added value of nurturing trust between your design, development, and product teams. thoughtbot designers help craft a best-practice Design System that is understood and advocated for by all. Save designer time and empower developers with effective, team-owned documentation of components and code. 

Accessibility from the start

Integrate accessibility at each step instead of as a standalone project

An effective Design System clarifies accessibility standards and practices from Day 1, so you aren’t relying on everyone being an expert. We can empower your teams to deliver accessibility at each phase, while saving time and reducing cognitive load on designers and developers. 

See our accessibility checklist for ideas
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How it works

Customized to your team and product needs

No matter your project scale or budget, we will look at your product with fresh eyes during a Design System audit to find and document design components and variations. thoughtbot designers work with your team to analyze and flag each element to document, merge, modernize, or replace.

Interviews with your teams will identify the strengths and pain points of your existing Design System workflow. We’ll use this data to create an effective and sustainable workflow that empowers your designers and developers to take ownership of the system. Or, a thoughtbot designer can embed with your team to lead the system iterations and nurture a strong in-house team.

The result? A streamlined, sustainable experience for your users and your product teams.

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Design Systems Case Studies

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Improving the user experience by streamlining the design system

thoughtbot's Design System expertise helped tackle design debt and rebuild team trust to maintain the quality of the product going forward.

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Optimizing an existing platform suffering from design debt

thoughtbot Design Systems optimization helped prioritize the user experience for internal users and customers, while tackling accumulated design debt.

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Building a design framework for multiple mobile applications

thoughtbot also identified a design and localization strategy that would support a variety of constituents, across the US and world.

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Interested in Design Systems but not sure where to start?

What is design debt?

When a Design System isn't regularly updated, it's impossible for designers and developers to use it. Both product and brand suffer as a result.

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When should we audit our product design?

A good time to think about performing a design audit is when design has become difficult to iterate on or contribute to.

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Best practices for designing apps people actually use

Making stuff is cool, but making stuff people actually use is amazing. Learn how to do the latter.

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Let's chat

What does design workflow success look like for your product?

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