Reports

Why your voice and tone guide belongs in your design system

Design systems should be your organization's central source of truth for all brand elements—including voice and tone.

Who should be on your design system team?

Prepping your 2022 hiring budget? Keep these roles in mind for your design system team. Not sold on building a team for your design system? We've laid out the reasons why you should.

When do design systems start to pay off?

By figuring out why design systems are so beneficial for product teams, we can get more value from them, faster.

What do design system product managers do?

Maya Hampton, Product Manager of REI's design system Cedar, wrote a follow-up to her episode of the Design Systems Podcast. Read on to discover what the product manager of a leading design system does and how she makes an impact.

Welcome to the Knapsack blog: letter from the editor

Knapsack’s mission is to change the way people think about digital products while being excellent humans along the way. As part of that mission, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Knapsack’s design system publication.

Version control best practices for design systems

Version control is a well-known best practice for developers; now we're welcoming it to design systems. Here's how to keep your design system impactful and up-to-date using version control.

The link between accessibility and design systems

Accessible design and design systems are both more than just good design practice—they're good business. How can we build design systems that support accessible design practices?

Supporting inclusive form design with design systems

Form design isn’t a nice-to-have; they come up often and are carefully curated to get the right information at the right time. But when forms involve players from multiple teams, priorities can get mixed up and inclusion can fall to the wayside.

Six insights into design tokens

We spoke to experts from some of the world's most advanced design systems about design tokens: best practices, potential advances, and their importance to the design systems community. Our findings are packaged in a downloadable report.

Product updates: A design system platform for your entire product team

Design systems should serve your entire product team. That's why Knapsack has removed boundaries keeping non-engineers from being full contributors and made your design system accessible to everyone who needs it.

Is pattern-based thinking the new design thinking?

Design thinking was revolutionary—but it's not perfect. Pattern-based thinking is the solution.

What's pattern-based thinking, and what does it have to do with design systems?

To get the most out of a design system, we need to make sure it's built to last. Utilizing pattern-based thinking is key to creating a reusable, impactful design system.

New feature alert: Knapsack makes managing design tokens easier

Design tokens are a critical part of your design system's functionality.

Maya Hampton from REI: Pattern-based thinking on all levels

Maya Hampton, product manager of REI's design system, joined Knapsack CEO Chris Strahl to discuss why design systems need to be flexible, the role of a product manager in a design system, and viewing design systems as products.

Josh Cusick from Microsoft defines design utopia

Microsoft’s Josh Cusick and Chris discuss how to convey intent when working with a design system, the importance of buy-in for a successful design system culture, and whether or not your design system will ever be finished.

Insights from Gartner’s design system effectiveness report

Tl;dr: “By 2025, over half of all new digital products globally will be traceable to a platform-based or open-source design system.” Get on board.

Building design system communities with Jehad Affoneh and Scott Mathis

In episode 30 of the Design Systems Podcast, Jehad Affoneh, Scott Mathis, and Chris discuss the advantages of open-source, the role of content in design systems, the pattern-based approach to building apps, and similarities between music and tokens.

Stephen Gates from WW on design methodology, design systems, and building trust

Stephen Gates joined Chris Strahl on the podcast for a long talk about team culture, design systems, and more.

Using one design system to manage dozens of products with Intuit's Leonardo De La Rocha

Leonardo De La Rocha and Chris discuss the “federated” design system model, how to connect design systems to business needs, designing friction-free cross-platform experiences, and C-suite awareness of design needs.

Jess Clark from LinkedIn: Old tech, new tech

Jess Clark and Chris discuss the meaning of design systems and the potential of design systems as a service. What can design systems offer us beyond infrastructure? How can approaching design systems as products, rather than repositories, increase their capabilities?

Why do design systems need content strategists?

Design systems don't just contain design elements: they're a central source of truth for product teams and ideally hold all of a product's assets, including content. Jess Sattell, Senior Content Strategist for Adobe's Spectrum design system, shares her experiences and thoughts on writing for design systems.

Meet Knapsack's new Figma integration

Knapsack's new Figma integration turns your color styles to design tokens—in code. Learn how our plugin will make designer-dev collaboration easy.

Design systems aren't museums

What’s the difference between a design system and a pattern library? They serve different purposes.

Design system resources for advanced practitioners

If you want to learn about design systems, there’s an endless list of resources at your disposal. This garden of resources, however, has a downside: uncertain quality. As a senior practitioner, you can’t risk trusting the wrong sources. That’s why we’ve put together a collection of resources vetted by design system experts.

​​Get more value from your design system by changing your contribution practices

Want to supercharge your design system? Learn what people practices you need to nail down.

December 2021: Knapsack product updates

I don’t need to tell you that it has been a year. We’ve got some cool things and big news lined up for 2022, but we’ve been putting in work over the last month of 2021 too. Before most of the working world heads out for a well-deserved holiday break, we want to share updates to the Knapsack platform that make design system management an easier, more pleasant experience.

Audrey Tan from Xero: Creating a long-lasting design system vision

Audrey and Chris discuss the vision guiding Xero’s design system team, how co-ownership helps design system teams thrive, the processes she uses for managing a global team, and how the Xero design system team approaches modernization.

Why accessible documentation is a must for design systems

Writing accessible documentation makes design systems easier to use, manage, and scale. Committing to writing accessible documentation isn’t just good practice; it’s good business. Read on to understand why accessible documentation is important for your design system and how it will benefit your workflow.

Thoughts on accessibility considerations in design systems

Design systems and pattern-based design are accessibility's best friends. By setting accessibility standards early, you can ensure products that meet high accessibility standards all the time.

Deep dive on tokens with Adam Argyle from Google: How do you codify composition?

This episode is a little bit longer—okay, a lot longer—than our usual. Chrome developer advocate Adam Argyle and Chris Strahl talk about tokens in all their glory without worrying about time limits. If you’ve ever wondered about the limits of tokens and what’s left to explore in the token stratosphere, check out this transcript.

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