Atomic Design – How To Make Web and UI Design Easier



What is Atomic Design? What are design systems? How can you speed up your web design process?

Ever set out on a website or interface design project and wind up buried under hundreds of screens? Do your prototypes grow out of control and overwhelm your clients? Want to know how to get a website or project approved without designing every. single. screen?

Ben Burns (@mrbenburns) has the answer you’ve been looking for.

Special thanks to Framer X for sponsoring this video! Start your design system in Framer X today:
http://bit.ly/FramerXDesignSystems

‘Design Systems for the Future’ is a collection contributed by designers working on teams at Slack, Dropbox and Facebook, all curated by the team at Framer:
http://bit.ly/DesignSystemsHub

In the past few years, we’ve seen tremendous improvement in screen/interface design tools. Designing for screens has never been easier.

With this change, we’ve seen our prototypes grow to be extremely unwieldy – 50, 100, 150 pages that are designed, usually by multiple designers, sometimes across different countries. We spent a lot of time establishing standards, and quality checking everybody’s work. This significantly drained the creative director’s and art director’s time.

There HAD to be a better way.

Enter: Atomic Design. Atomic Design is a series of visual building blocks that start out very basic and become more complex as you move up the food chain. These visual building blocks are organized by complexity into different buckets: Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates, and Pages. Each element type builds upon the previous in order to create fully fleshed out digital products.

I remember first hearing about all this, and I have to say it was all a little confusing. If you’re like me, you might want to watch this video a few times – no shame here.

But many of you are probably like, whoa, wait, how do I even start this? It’s pretty simple. As long as you remember one thing:

Atomic design isn’t meant to be linear! This means we don’t expect you to start creating atoms right away. How boring would that be? Making button… after button… after button…

Instead, we start by designing a page or two. Or three. And we do a few variations of pages. Sometimes we’ll explore 10-20 ways to design something as simple as a home page or a product page.

Once we’re finished with the page design… or designs… we look for patterns. After identifying these patterns, we start extracting the elements, standardizing them, and adding each element to its own library as a reusable component.

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