Building a coherent design system requires a lot of time and effort. But working in a fast-paced startup, you can’t waste time polishing icons and colour tones. You have to find a balance between speed now and setting up a good design foundation for the future.
So when is it worth investing time into creating a design system? I think the answer is always as soon as possible! At Cordless, we started building it right after the prototypes were validated and approved. As soon as we started working on our first design concepts and UI, we contributed components to our design system. Although it takes a bit more time initially, it pays off in the long term.
When building a design system, you can’t be focused on just one screen. You always have to keep in mind the bigger picture. Only once you use the component in several places can you decide whether it is good and universal enough for your overall design. I’ve seen this many times - the same component may be great on a particular screen or page, but it doesn’t work overall.
At Cordless, we take an atomic approach to design, i.e. breaking the design down into small elements. This methodology has been tried and tested. I found that the more you decompose your components - the more flexibility you have in the end.