Design Systems

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.

These podcasts, meetups, blogs, reports, and handbooks will help you learn more about design systems from the most experienced, exciting names in the industry. 

Communities

Design Systems Slack

Access to over 14,000 design systems practitioners at your fingertips. This Slack community, founded by Jina Anne, is home to endless discussions about tokens, accessibility, naming, and more, with channels for different cities around the world. Come chat with us!

Design Systems Community

The originators of “Design System Wednesdays.” According to their website, “Design Systems Community helps bring people together to share ways of working, successes, and other learnings to encourage best practices in building, scaling and maintaining design systems. No matter how you engage with design systems, we all play a role in making information accessible for everyone, and without barriers.”

Design Tokens Community Group

According to W3, “The Design Tokens Community Group's goal is to provide standards upon which products and design tools can rely for sharing stylistic pieces of a design system at scale.”

Books and handbooks

Modular Web Design by Nathan Curtis

Suffering from lack of direction or a general sense of “overwhelmed” when it comes to your design system? “This book defines the role of components and why they matter, maps out how to organize and build a component library, discusses how to use components in practice, and teaches a process for documenting and maintaining components.”

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

“Atomic Design details all that goes into creating and maintaining robust design systems, allowing you to roll out higher quality, more consistent UIs faster than ever before. This book introduces a methodology for thinking of our UIs as thoughtful hierarchies, discusses the qualities of effective pattern libraries, and showcases techniques to transform your team’s design and development workflow.”

Front-end Architecture for Design Systems by Micah Godbolt

“Using real-world examples, case studies, and practical tips and tricks throughout, author Micah Godbolt introduces you to the four pillars of frontend architecture. He also provides compelling arguments for developers who want to embrace the mantle of frontend architect and fight to make it a first-class citizen in their next project.”

Laying the Foundations by Andrew Couldwell

“Laying the Foundations is a comprehensive guide to creating, documenting, and maintaining design systems, and how to design websites and products systematically. It's an ideal book for web designers and product designers (of all levels) and especially design teams.”

Design Systems Handbook

This handbook was written by design systems rockstars Jina Anne, Marco Suarez, Katie Sylor-Miller, Diana Mounter, and Roy Stanfield. It “guides readers through best practices around planning, designing, building, and implementing a design system, with insights and first-hand experiences from experts who have gone through the journey.”

A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander

The best design systems are pattern-based. “A Pattern Language” is an exploration of the origin of thinking in patterns—which has nothing to do with design systems at all.

Podcasts, webinars, and video courses

Design Systems Podcast

Sponsored by Knapsack, featuring design systems experts sharing tips, tricks, and insights from their lived experiences. New episodes release on the first and third Monday of every month on our website and Twitter.

Superfriendly design system classes

The superstar team at Superfriendly (Dan Mall, Brad Frost, Josh Clark, and friends) produced many, many hours of classes that will teach you how to make the most out of your design system.

Style Guide Podcast

Podcast about style guides, design systems, and best practices hosted by Anna Debenham and Brad Frost.

Design Systems Community Resources

All of the presentations and online meetups from the Design Systems Community. Want to learn something about...something? If it’s design systems-related, we bet you can find it here.

Blogs and repositories

Design system insights

Hi, it’s us 👋. Knapsack’s design systems publication hosts experts writing about design systems based on their experiences. Keep your eyes peeled for biweekly posts and monthly reports. 

Adele: UXPin’s design system repository

A thorough collection of open design systems for inspiration and reference.

Want to contribute to Design System Insights by Knapsack? Get in touch!

Design Systems Gallery

A comprehensive and curated list of design systems, style guides, and pattern libraries for inspiration and reference.

Design Systems by Figma

Figma’s design system blog features case studies, how-tos, and thoughtful insights. Design Systems features guest writers from 

Intro-level/101 resources

Resources that will help stakeholders who aren’t in the know learn more about design systems. Perfect for junior designers and developers, product managers, and marketers who want to learn about design systems.

Design Systems 101

A thorough, easy-to-follow guide to design systems by Nielsen Norman Group. Includes why you should build a design system and the essential elements of every design system.

Creating a design system

UXPin’s guide to creating a design system for practitioners at every level, including many of the resources we’ve listed here.