Vue Design System is a set of organized tools, patterns, and practices that work as the foundation for Vue.js application development. What initially started as a quick-n-dirty prototyping tool for a client of mine, has grown into a fully capable systems tool that provides an environment where the pattern library and live application can be perfectly in sync.
What initially started as a prototyping tool, has grown into a fully capable systems tool that provides an environment where the pattern library and live application can be perfectly in sync.
For me personally, Vue Design System has become as much of a design systems teaching and learning platform, as it is a tool that’s capable of growing from a prototype to a fully fleshed-out system that multiple applications can depend on.
In this article, I will shed some light to the processes and workflow I use to get started with a new design system project. An article, I would’ve wanted to come across when first starting with design systems and trying to figure out the best approaches. While I’ve written this from Vue Design System’s perspective, the concepts and processes I introduce here will work with any tool.
I’m happy. I’ve been succesfully running my design studio for the past 8 months and recently moved into a new office space. Since then I’ve been setting up the workspace to suit the way I want to work and create things. This dedicated quiet space gives me the luxury to focus and get much more done than I could get anywhere else before.
A dedicated quiet space gives me the luxury to focus and get much more done than I could get anywhere else before.
While I find myself constantly switching between different working modes like running a design systems workshop, working at client’s premises, or doing a remote meeting with a team in another city, I like having this personal space where I can come back to think and focus. A space for exploration and tinkering.
My workspace is a part of a bigger office, but with a dedicated room and a door. This is what my setup currently looks like (click for bigger photos):
March, 2017. We were still living in the United States. It was a time of great anxiety for us. Just a couple weeks earlier I had been laid off from my previous job in California, Donald Trump had become the president, and we were suddenly living in this foreign country without valid Visas and no plans for the future whatsoever.
At the same time, in the middle of everything, I had this crazy idea to start up my own design studio when we’re back in Europe.
There we were, about to have a baby, not able to fly back to Europe anymore and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. The company I used to work for got sold and our previous Visas couldn’t be transferred, which basically got us here. Just a week before all this started, I remember discussing with my wife how I could see us growing old in this country.
For a moment it felt like a bad dream in which we were fugitives living on enemy soil. In some ways, that dream felt real and vivid to us. I mean, it sounds frankly awkward when saying it out loud now, but back then so many things happened at once. I wasn’t even sure if it was legal for us to stay in the country after our Visas expired, so I tried to keep my mouth shut as well as I could. If anyone asked; It was good. It was all going so good.
For the past year(s) I’ve been chasing for answers. Looking for new tools, thinking about design processes and figuring out what design really means to me. At times I’ve felt so disconnected with our processes that I’ve wondered if my career choice was right.
Our canvas is infinite, but the tools we use force us into thinking about pages instead of systems of components or materials to build with.
For a field rooted in the fine arts this period of change has been increasingly hard and is about to get even harder. We’ve moved away from designing static pages to creating digital systems of components, but we’ve done that mostly by using the same static design tools like Illustrator, Sketch, or even Figma. Tools that haven’t changed on a fundamental level in the past three decades.
Now, I think there’s something wrong with that picture. Our design products are becoming more and more dynamic, but our tools still treat them as blank canvases to paint on. Why?