Design Systems in The Time of AI

How will AI impact the world of UI design and development? How will AI impact how design systems are created and used?

“Why should you invest in a design system?” The answer in a bajillion posts, videos, PowerPoint decks, and conference-room conversations will all include something along the lines of: “design systems create a single source of truth for common interface solutions to promote consistency and increase team velocity and efficiency.” Something something something we’ll work faster and save money. Please fund this initiative.

So where does that efficiency and increased velocity come from? Well, in large part by freeing up human beings’ brains and hands to focus on solving more interesting problems than ensuring a button is 44px tall instead of 43px tall. Or rebuilding the card component for the umteenth time. My partner Josh Clark said it best: the most exciting design systems are boring.

“When the design system is boring, it frees designers and developers to do the new stuff, to solve new problems. The design system carries the burden of the boring, so that designers and developers don’t have to.”
– Josh Clark, The Most Exciting Design Systems Are Boring

That’s kinda the whole point of design systems. Let’s establish a toolkit of common UI solutions that other teams wield to build specific products.

So how does AI slot into all of this? Perhaps the most obvious place to start is AI as a conversational interface to build product experiences.

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