Here’s some advice for designers that are interested in front-end development, product design and systems design work (or in other words, designers that do design for other designers):
- Don’t get preachy. No-one likes it when you’re giving a sermon.
- Team morale can be a huge problem if you keep sounding like a jerk so, you know, you should probably stop doing that.
- Patience is the only virtue that counts because making even small adjustments to a large codebase can take weeks or even months.
- When you start a new project always start a new spreadsheet.
- Don’t be shy: advocate for your design system like there’s no tomorrow.
- Run workshops, 1x1s and presentations. Design systems work involves educating, mentoring, collaborating and making a lot of noise about what has already been built. It’s so much more than code: this job is about building a culture of relearning past lessons and long-gone experiments.
- Find everyone in the engineering team that’s even remotely interested in working on your styleguide and cling onto them for dear life.
- Think about the designer experience from the beginning to the end and build tools for them. Oh, and don’t get in their way; care for them as much as you might a regular ol’ customer or user.
- There are no heroes or parades for you in this line of work. Sorry about that.