Design System

Established the foundations of a scalable design system for an artificial intelligence platform.

Figma file with type and layout systems.

Overview

Client: Altum, Inc. (Startup)

Summary

  • Jenni’s inconsistent visual design necessitated a design system that unified visual elements and streamlined design work.

Roles

  • UX Designer, UI Designer

Background

When I first joined Altum, I quickly learned that the “design system” was a bare bones color palette.

Old design system cluttered with unrelated components.
A screenshot of the old “design system”. The only part of it in use when I first joined was the color palette.

Goals

I believed that starting a design system would result in faster launch time by way of less time spent designing while providing a more consistent visual branding across the experience/platform.

Process

The steps of Altum's design process are:

  • Define. Defining our users and the MVP design.
  • Ideate. Ideating on design possibilities.
  • Test. Testing pre-release ideations.
  • Observe. Observing post-release outcomes.
A graphic showing a loop around Define and Ideate. Test and Observe aren't looped.
The Altum design process.

Define

I began by researching what exactly a design system is and the minimum I needed to make to get it going.

Ideate

Before I left Altum, I finished three fundamental aspects.

A type system on an 8 point grid with a 4 point baseline.

Closeup of the type system in Figma.

A layout system using a combination of a modular grid and baseline grid.

Closeup of the layout system in Figma.

A rough draft of a conceptual model that provided a common metaphor to use during discussions.

Conceptual card model sheet with inspirations and rough mockups.

Test

Testing saw me incorporating the design system’s new additions into my workflow. I also self-gauged using my designer’s intuition to check the feel of using the design system.

Observe

Overall the design system foundation I created for Jenni was a start in the right direction:

  • Features were rolling out faster than those in previous sprints.
  • Jenni had the beginnings of a much-needed unified visual experience.

Reflection

Learning to create a design system was a challenging yet rewarding endeavor that showed me how difficult it can be to create a set of standards for a product’s visual design.

Next steps

My next move with growing the design system would have been to:

  • Recreate our most used design components.
  • Create a collective sheet for ease of use.

Let's get in touch!

Feel free to message me about any AI or UX-related jobs I can do for you.

I'd also love to learn about your favorite games and/or detective novels.

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