What is a design system?

Joshua Morris (Senior Front End Developer) explains what a design system is, why you should use one, and what the University has been doing to develop its own design system.

TLDR: A design system is a complete toolkit for managing design at scale, providing reusable ‘components’ and ‘patterns’ along with accompanying standards and governance.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about how large organisations manage digital design at scale. Many of these organisations have brand guidelines created for printed media such as leaflets and flyers.

They also usually have large digital estates comprised of thousands of pages of content, presented in various ways such as different website page layouts and applications.

Digital teams responsible for the estate often try to apply strict print guidelines to this mixture of content, in a waterfall model, with varying degrees of success. Digital teams make their way through their digital estate updating brand, and then when print guidelines are updated, they restart.

As digital teams are generally smaller, how can you efficiently roll out and maintain a consistent brand across your digital estate?

Introducing a design system – a complete toolkit for managing design at scale.

Continue reading: What is a design system?

Why every digital team needs a ‘DPAB’

I published a post last summer about the positive effect a new project management framework was having for us and those we work with. A lot has happened since then, but, through it all, DPAB has doggedly and determinedly continued to meet every Wednesday to triage, assess and prioritise. We couldn’t do without it. So, what is DPAB and why do you need one?
Continue reading: Why every digital team needs a ‘DPAB’

A new framework for digital projects

We introduced a new project management framework and governance function a year ago. It’s transformed our ability to respond effectively and flexibly to priority business needs. In the first of two posts, deputy head of digital comms Alex Pardoe explains how. 

Where we were 

When I started in this role in early in 2017the team was really struggling to cope with the competing demands from across the University. These sort of things: 

  • Work requests could arrive from anywhere: email, phone calls, Yammer comments, meeting minutes, post-it notes on desks, chats in kitchen area, chats in the pub etc. 
  • Objectives undefined/entirely absent – why are we going to do this work? 
  • Scope of work undefined – what are we going to do, when do we know we’ve done it… and do they agree?   
  • No one talked about cost. 
  • And many, many more… 

Continue reading: A new framework for digital projects