Design Systems are all around us – let’s take a closer look

Like traffic signs, Design Systems, in their standardized function can save lives, as they are built out of the core components of typography, layout, form and color, to guide us through the world. They should include patterns in user flow, content, strategy, copy and tone of voice. You will see that they are all around us. Here we follow Janine Giesenberg, a talented UI developer for hotel search at trivago, who has a huge interest in Design and talks passionately about the topic.

We had a chat with her about Design Systems as a part of daily life and learn about its significance.

Life at trivago: What are three most interesting facts about Design Systems?

Janine Giesenberg: “We are surrounded by them and life would be much harder without them. Design Systems are nothing new… There are very detailed Design System guides like the “New York City Transit Authority Graphic Standards Manual”

LAT: How would you explain the complexity of Design Systems within a company to your grandma?

JG: “I would tell a story about a normal guy, who confronts the challenge to go to a job interview in a country he has never visited before and explain how he manages that with the help of Design Systems that guide him to the company he is looking for. In the end it is the same for (web-) companies: We want to create trust and a design system with patterns helps.

LAT: Sounds like there are many intersections between designing and developing. Why did you personally pick developing in the end?

JG: “I did an apprenticeship in media design. One part of it is Design and the other part is programming for the web. I was lucky with the agency I worked at, as I could start on real customer projects. I did some front end and some design there. I am creative, yes, but I am not good in selecting colors and things like this. I have a good understanding of design and can analyze it. But I do like the coding part more, creating something nice in the browser. I love the team work and of course, there are lots of intersections. I think I fill the gap between Design and Development quite well, because I have the understanding of design, even though I would never tell a designer how she/he should do her/his job 😉 And I think the designers in Hotel search appreciate working with me, because I understand them. On the other hand, I can tell them what is possible to do in the code and what might be rather difficult and more importantly why.”

LAT: What would you apply the Design System standards and components for, if it was your very own digital product to create?

JG: “I think for my very own product I would go for a classic CI (corporate identity) and CD (corporate design) and apply standard rules for colors, fonts, grid, spacing, tone & voice. To have a global UI experience throughout this product.”

In a fast-changing environment like trivago, with new components, daily new c-tests and lots of different products, creating Design Systems remains a challenging thing to do!  In the end it’s all about trust and familiar patterns that can encourage the visitors to use your website out of a good feeling…

Florian Krushel

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