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Intention vs. Drift

Jason Lengstorf: Intention vs. Drift — Let’s Learn Design Systems, Part 1

Since design systems happen whether we want them to or not, our task is not to decide whether or not we need one. We need to decide if we’re better served by being intentional about our design system decisions or letting the design system drift to see what emerges from real-world use.

Most design systems fall somewhere in between intentional and emergent. The sweet spot for creating a design system isn’t to choose one approach or the other, but rather to develop the ability to blend the two approaches effectively.

I think Jason’s three-part series from 2020 is pretty helpful if you are “just getting started” with design systems.

  1. Intention vs. Drift
  2. Treat it Like Trash
  3. It Only Matters if We Use It