Pairing is the key to evangelizing your design system

A while ago I wrote a piece for the folks at Figma all about one of the best ways to evangelize your design system: pairing with designers and engineers. And in that piece I collected a ton of thoughts over the last year or so doing this work:

One of the hardest parts about building a design system is convincing other people to use it. It's easy to fall into the "us vs. them" trap by constantly calling out "bad behavior": Don't use blue. Don't put that there. Make sure that works on mobile. Don't write CSS like that. This form is not accessible. Why did you need a new component there?

If you're not careful, this attitude can lead to a poisonous culture in your design org. A design systems team needs to focus on more than just being right; they have to be helpful, too.

Right now I’m collecting all of these stray thoughts into a big ol’ talk that I’m cooking up about design systems. So if you happen to run a conference and you’re looking for someone to ramble passionately about these things for an hour then please get in touch. There will be hand-waving! There will be design system mistakes on display! There will be a lot of wholesome fonts!