What is a Design System?

A design system serves as the guiding blueprint for all digital interfaces, ensuring a consistent and engaging user experience across various digital platforms. The use of such a system by government organizations helps maintain a unified brand that can increase the public trust.

What does it do?

Design systems, like Orchard, use the following approach:

  • Provides a standardized toolkit for designers and engineers.
  • Reduces the time and resources needed to build and redesign interfaces. 
  • Ensures that all components, from buttons to navigation systems, conform to a predefined style and functionality.
  • Fosters an intuitive and user-friendly experience for the public.

Why would you use one?

A design system provides many benefits across teams:

  • It includes specific patterns, styles, and usage guidelines, which eliminate the need to reinvent the UI wheel. This includes color, art direction, and typography.
  • It sets the tone for consistency, unity, and flexibility. 
  • It lowers the barriers to accessing information and services by being designed and built for an accessible user experience, following best practices and informed with first-hand research. As standards and guidelines change, the components will be updated, and organizations that make use of the design system will benefit by reducing their own time and resources needed to stay in compliance.

A design system represents an intersection of design, functionality, and brand identity, paving the way for more efficient public service delivery and enhanced civic engagement.