Five Modern Design Systems for Better UX/UI

A design system is a collection of rules, guidelines and tools that help designers and developers create consistent and user-friendly experiences across digital products. It includes reusable components like buttons, colors, fonts and layouts that ensure a uniform look and feel. By following these standards, teams can work more efficiently, reduce errors and provide a cohesive user experience. A design system helps maintain brand identity and improves the overall usability of websites and apps, making them intuitive and enjoyable for users.

The Evolution of Design System

Design systems have come a long way over the years. Initially, they were used to keep designs consistent across different platforms. This means that no matter where you saw a brand, it looked the same. Today, design systems are much more advanced. They are complete toolkits that help with every step of the design process. These systems ensure that everything is cohesive and works well together, from the smallest button to the largest web page.

The Core Elements of Modern Design Systems

Design systems have important parts that make design easier. But some designers find them hard to use. They are not trained to make unique and consistent designs. Key parts of design systems are technique guides, design pieces, design tokens and documentation. These parts help designers create connected and user-friendly designs quickly. They ensure the designs look the same by using reusable pieces and clear instructions.

5 Modern Design Systems

Let's take a closer look at five innovative design systems that are changing UX/UI design:

Atomic Design

Atomic Design breaks down the design process into its smallest parts, called atoms, molecules and organisms. Atoms are the basic building blocks like buttons or input fields. Molecules are groups of atoms working together, like a form label and input field. Organisms are more complex components made up of molecules and atoms, such as a navigation bar. By breaking down designs in this way, it becomes easier to manage and scale projects. This method allows designers to create reusable components that can be combined in various ways to build complete interfaces.

Atomic Design

For example, Atlassian uses Atomic Design to provide a consistent user experience across its products.

Pros and cons of atomic Design system

Pros:

  • Flexible and modular approach to building UIs.
  • It helps in creating reusable components.

Cons:

  • Requires a good understanding of the system.
  • The initial setup can be time-consuming.

 

Material Design System

Material Design was developed by Google to create a visual language that mimics the physical world. It focuses on using touch-based features and realistic motion to make digital interactions feel more natural. The design uses light and shadow to give depth to digital elements, making them look like physical objects that you can interact with. This approach creates a consistent and intuitive user experience across different devices, whether it's a mobile app, website or desktop application.

Material design

Example: Airbnb uses Material Design for a clear and easy user experience on both its website and mobile app.

Pros and cons of Material Design system

Pros:

  • Strong pre-made components and guidelines.
  • Results in clean, modern designs.

Cons:

  • Can limit creativity as it follows Google’s design language.
  • Not ideal for every project.

 

Ant Design System

Ant Design is a design system that originated in China and has gained popularity for its comprehensive set of components. It was created to meet the needs of enterprise-level applications, providing a large library of ready-to-use design elements. Ant Design focuses on making software interfaces clean, efficient and easy to navigate. It also emphasizes accessibility, ensuring that people with different abilities can use applications. This makes it a great choice for large-scale business applications that require a high level of functionality and usability.

Ant design

Example: Alibaba uses Ant Design to ensure a smooth user experience across its platforms.

Pros and cons of Ant Design system

Pros:

  • High-quality UI components.
  • It focuses on accessibility.

Cons:

  • Can be harder to learn than other design systems.
  • Primarily designed for enterprise-level web applications.

 

Carbon Design System

Carbon Design was developed by IBM for building complex business applications. It is designed with a focus on accessibility and personalization, making sure that interfaces are usable by everyone, including those with disabilities. The system is modular, meaning designers can mix and match components to quickly build user interfaces that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. By using Carbon Design, companies can create applications that are not only effective but also inclusive, catering to a wide range of users.

Carbon design

Example: Slack uses Carbon Design for its clean and effective interface.

Pros and cons of the Carbon Design system

Pros:

  • Open source and very flexible.
  • It emphasizes functionality for all users.

Cons:

  • Customization can take more time.
  • The component library is smaller compared to other design systems.

 

Fluent Design System

Fluent Design is Microsoft's design system aimed at creating smooth and engaging user experiences across different devices. It emphasizes the use of light, depth, motion and materials to create a sense of space and hierarchy in digital interfaces. Fluent Design makes it easier to create interfaces that look and feel cohesive across various platforms, such as Windows, Xbox and mobile devices. This system helps designers build interfaces that are visually appealing and intuitive, enhancing the overall user experience.

Fluent design system

Example: Used in Microsoft Office 365 to ensure a consistent and attractive look across all apps.

Pros and cons of the Fluent Design system

Pros:

  • Creates lively and visually appealing interfaces.
  • Fits well with Microsoft's products.

Cons:

  • Not widely used outside of Microsoft's ecosystem.
  • Maybe it does not work well for all types of projects.

The Future of Design Systems

As technology advances, the future of design systems is filled with exciting possibilities. New trends like AI-based design, voice interfaces and augmented reality could revolutionize how we interact with digital products. Design systems will continue to play a crucial role in creating attractive, user-friendly interfaces. By embracing innovation and collaboration, designers can push the boundaries of UX/UI design and create engaging digital experiences for everyone.

In summary, staying ahead in UX/UI design means keeping up with trends and using advanced design systems. These systems help create user-friendly interfaces, ensure brand consistency and adapt to changing user needs. With the right tools and a willingness to innovate, the future of design holds endless possibilities.

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Sahin Mia

Founder at Pixelean

Sahin Mia is a passionate UI/UX designer and the creative mind behind Pixelean. With a keen eye for detail, Sahin crafts digital experiences that seamlessly blend aesthetics and functionality. Through Pixelean, Sahin brings ideas to life, enhancing user experiences with simple and exciting designs for individuals, startups, and various types of businesses.

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