Design System Examples (Top 12 Examples from World Class Brands)

Discover the 12 best design system examples from companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM, to be inspired and elevate your own product design.
Written by
Ashwin Mason
June 29, 2023

In the tech sector, design systems have become crucial to product design and development. The design system aims to offer a collection of predefined principles and elements that guarantee uniformity and coherence in a company's brand identity.

We'll provide more than 12 design system examples from top IT firms in this blog post, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM. You'll observe how these business titans use design systems to enhance user experience and accelerate their design workflows. 

This post contains something for everyone, whether you're a product manager trying to establish a design system or a UX designer looking for inspiration. Without further ado, let's start looking at some of the top design system examples.

Design System Examples

  1. Material Design (Google)
  2. Polaris (Shopify)
  3. Fluent Design System (Microsoft)
  4. Audi UI (Audi)
  5. Lightning Design System (Salesforce)
  6. Carbon Design System (IBM)
  7. Ant Design
  8. Zendesk Brandland
  9. Mailchimp Pattern Library
  10. Mixpanel Design System
  11. Prime Design System (Github)
  12. Apple Human Interface Guideline

1. Material Design (Google)

Google Material Design is a comprehensive framework for creating visual content. It provides a framework of rules, building blocks, and tools for designers to utilise in making experiences that are uniform, aesthetically pleasing, and user-friendly across all devices. The concept of "material," or the computer representation of actual items and their qualities, forms the basis of the system. Accurate rendering of light, depth, and motion, as well as natural controls, are all part of this.

The goal of Material Design is to provide a consistent experience for users across all Google platforms. Color schemes, fonts, icons, and fluid grid systems are just some of the design components included. In addition, it specifies how the user should interact with the system through things like animations and hand gestures.

Material Design's ability to adapt to varying display sizes and devices is a major selling point. This paves the way for designers to craft consistent, natural, and intuitive user experiences across all devices.

Overall, Material Design is an all-encompassing design approach that facilitates the creation of functional, aesthetically beautiful products with a focus on the user experience across several platforms.

2. Polaris (Shopify)

Shopify, a popular e-commerce platform, has an in-house design system called Polaris. As a result, it was created to assist designers and developers in creating unified e-commerce experiences for Shopify merchants. Everything shop owners need to run and grow their online businesses, from the Shopify platform itself to the numerous apps, integrations, and other products they use is available here.

The Polaris design system methodology centers on the tenets of simplicity, effectiveness, and cohesion for Shopify design.

It offers a wide variety of design system features, such as:

  • Fonts
  • Color schemes
  • Icons
  • Grid systems
  • and more

Accessibility, user interaction, and motion design recommendations are included.

Polaris' primary function is to aid retailers in reaching their objectives. The design guidelines incorporate various conversion- and engagement-focused components and patterns. This entails catalog descriptions, shopping cart navigation, and communication with customer service.

As a result, Polaris is an all-encompassing design system that helped Shopify's designers and developers in making consistent and user-friendly interfaces for merchants. It is constantly being developed and improved with input from actual users

3. Fluent Design System (Microsoft)

The goal of this design system is to help us provide a more consistent and enjoyable user experience across all platforms.

There are five pillars upon which the Microsoft Fluent Design System rests: illumination, depth, motion, material, and scale. A more realistic lighting scheme, animations that feel more lifelike, and a focus on natural interactions are all possible thanks to these guidelines.

Elements of color, typeface, iconography, and grid systems with reusable components are all part of the design system. In addition, it details how users should interact with the system through things like animations and hand gestures.

The Fluent Design System's emphasis on malleability is one of my favourite features. Its portability across various platforms and display sizes enables us to design consistent user experiences that are as comfortable as possible.

The Fluent Design System is an all-encompassing resource that facilitates the development of user-friendly and aesthetically beautiful products across several platforms. Constant attention is paid to improving and expanding it based on feedback from actual users. As a designer, I can't imagine doing my job without it, and I can't wait to watch how it develops and improves in the future.

Related: 19 Best Design System UI Kits

4. Audi Design System

To begin, let's cover some groundwork. Audi's design philosophy is centered on developing cutting-edge automobiles that are also aesthetically stunning. The goal is to create a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable ride by incorporating the latest and greatest in design trends and methods with a fair dosage of Audi's signature style.

However, the goal is not limited to aesthetics alone. Functionality, ergonomics, and environmental consciousness are also essential to Audi's design philosophy. They strive to develop automobiles that are aesthetically pleasing as well as highly functional and environmentally friendly.

The question then becomes, "How do they accomplish this?" The exceptional team of designers is where it all begins; they are always challenging the status quo with their ground-breaking concepts. In addition, they have a cutting-edge design studio stocked with cutting-edge tools and technologies for actualizing those concepts.

A set of rules and standards are needed to follow for all of our cars to have a unified look and feel, as this is an essential part of any design system. These standards help to keep the exceptional quality for which Audi is known intact, and Audi's design system has everything from color and typography to materials and proportions.

5. Lightning Design System (SalesForce)

So what exactly is the Lightning Design System? In a nutshell, it's a set of instructions and resources that aid Salesforce designers in developing consistent, user-friendly user interfaces for our products. Everything from color schemes and typography to grid layouts and icon libraries is included.

However, the Lightning Design System is more than just a collection of guidelines. Additionally, it is a dynamic, living system that changes to meet the demands of our users and clients. To continuously enhance and improve the Lightning Design System, we solicit opinions and thoughts from real people.

Now, I understand what you might be thinking: "Okay, that's fine, but what distinguishes the Lightning Design System from other religious groups?" I'm pleased you asked, though. Customization and flexibility were priorities when designing the Lightning Design System. It is made to be easily extended and altered to suit the particular requirements of various projects and teams.

That concludes our brief overview of the Lightning Design System. We think it will enable you to design stunning, user-friendly interfaces that your clients will adore.

6. Carbon Design System (IBM)

Carbon Design System, or Carbon for short, is a design system created by IBM that provides a set of reusable UI components, guidelines, and resources for creating digital products and experiences. It's kind of like a one-stop-shop for all your design needs, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project.

But let's be real, the best part about Carbon isn't just its impressive collection of design goodies. It's the fact that it has a super sleek and modern design that's guaranteed to make your product stand out. Plus, it's built with accessibility in mind, so you can create designs that are inclusive and user-friendly for everyone.

So whether you're a designer, developer, or just a fan of good design, Carbon Design System is definitely worth checking out. Trust us, your users will thank you (and so will your boss).

7. Ant Design

Ant Design is a React component library and incredibly sophisticated design system that makes it simple to create stunning, user-friendly interfaces. It has everything you need and is always there for you when you need it, kind of like the Swiss Army Knife of design frameworks.

You can put an end to bland, generic-looking interfaces with Ant Design and say "hello" to slick, expert designs that will have your users exclaiming, "Wow, this looks wonderful!" Additionally, it's really simple to get your project up and running in no time thanks to a big library of pre-designed components and a tonne of customizable themes.

Therefore, give Ant Design a try if you're fed up with struggling to make your designs appear beautiful.

8. Zendesk Brandland

The Zendesk Brandland design system serves as a complete reference to the visual and interactive design language used by the organization. To that end, it attempts to standardise the user experience across Zendesk's many offerings while preserving the freedom of expression essential to the success of Zendesk's designers.

Foundations, components, patterns, and resources are the design system's four main pillars. In the components chapter, you'll find a collection of ready-made UI features that can be dropped into any number of projects. In the patterns chapter, you'll see how various elements might be put together to form unified navigation paths. To round off the document, the resources page provides designers with a variety of assets and programs to help them actualize their visions.

Brandland's emphasis on openness and acceptance is a defining characteristic. Guidelines for designing for a worldwide audience with varying cultural norms and preferences are also included in the design system.

In sum, Brandland is a potent tool that aids Zendesk's design team in making user experiences that are consistent, user-friendly, and welcoming. Check out Zendesk's Brandland if you're looking for some pointers and ideas on how to implement a design system within your own company.

9. Mailchimp Pattern Library

Let me start by saying that this Mailchimp design system is a work of art. It is jam-packed with every element you would need to create an amazing email campaign, website, or landing page. The best thing, though? It's quite simple to use. Simply choose a component, give it the customizations you want, and presto! In no time, you have a design that looks polished.

The attention to detail in the Mailchimp Pattern Library is one of my favorite features. Every part has undergone thorough construction to guarantee that it looks wonderful wherever you use it. Additionally, the documentation is excellent and includes detailed instructions and examples to help you get the most out of each component.

Don't rely just on my word, though. See for yourself how the Mailchimp Pattern Library can advance your design skills by checking it out. You won't be let down, I promise.

10. Mixpanel Design System

Mixpanel is a potent design framework that has encouraged businesses all over the world to produce exquisitely crafted and incredibly user-friendly products. With its many components and rules, Companies all across the world have looked to Mixpanel, a robust design system, to help them create products that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Mixpanel simplifies the design process and develops unified user experiences by providing a comprehensive set of components and principles.

Mixpanel's data-driven approach is what sets it apart from other design platforms. Using its analytics features, groups may monitor the efficacy of their designs and make educated judgments on how to enhance them.

Contrary to what you may think, working with Mixpanel is a lot of fun, despite all the analytical power it provides. Even the most routine user interfaces are given a jolt of fun by their bright color schemes and whimsical images.

Thus, whether you're a designer trying to improve your skills or a developer looking for the ideal and unique design system to implement in your next project, Mixpanel is worth checking out. Be advised, though, that you might spend too much time having fun with all of its unique features and parts.

11. Primer Design System (Github)

Primer Design Framework is a thorough design system developed by GitHub to assist teams in developing digital products. For businesses looking to make their products look slick and polished, it is the go-to design methodology.

Primer differs from other design methods in part due to its emphasis on simplicity. The Primer team has implemented this principle into every facet of their design system because they feel that simplicity is the key to developing fantastic user experiences.

But don't be fooled by the seeming simplicity; Primer is stuffed with tools that support teams in creating and maintaining reliable, high-quality products. Primer includes all the tools a product team needs to develop a consistent look and feel for their products, including colour schemes, typography, components, and patterns.

Give Primer a try if you're looking for a design system to help you create fantastic items while maintaining a positive attitude!

12. Apple Human Interface Guideline

Apple's Human Interface Guidelines are a great place to start if you're a designer seeking ideas for your next project (HIG). These principles serve as a kind of road map for creating products that are simple to use and intuitive.

First things first, consistency is key in the HIG. Apple has particular rules for everything from icon design to typography because they want all of their products to have a consistent appearance and feel.

The HIG, however, goes beyond simply having everything match. It's equally important to focus on improving user experience. When using one of its devices, Apple wants its customers to feel confident in their abilities. And let's face it, who doesn't want to appear to be an absolute pro when using a phone or laptop?

So, if you're having trouble with your upcoming design project, look at the HIG. You can need it as the motivation to produce something genuinely extraordinary. Additionally, who knows? Maybe one day the HIG will use one of your drawings! Wouldn't that be a good talking point at the upcoming design happy hour?

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Design system examples FAQ

What is a design system?

A design system comprises a set of uniform rules and materials that aids teams in creating dependable, user-friendly digital products. It contains components that can be applied to different projects, such as colour schemes, typography, icons, and design patterns.

Why is a design system important?

The design system is important because it helps in making sure that products are uniform in appearance and straightforward to use, both of which have positive effects on the quality of the product's user experience and the company's ability to retain and attract customers. As an added bonus, they aid with expedited teamwork by offering a standard library of design components that may be used across multiple projects.

What are some of the best practices of design systems?

Some of the key best practices of design systems include

  1. Creating a comprehensive style guide,
  2. Ensuring consistency in user interface elements, focusing on accessibility and usability across all platforms,
  3. Using automated tools and processes to streamline development, and establishing clear guidelines for collaboration between designers and developers.
  4. Additionally, it is important to regularly review and update the design system as technologies evolve and customer needs change.

How can I learn more about design systems?

What is best design system template?

  1. Untitled UI
  2. Ant Design System
  3. Stratum UI

What should a design system contain?

  1. Visual design: This includes elements such as color palettes, typography, iconography, and other visual design elements.
  2. Interaction design: This includes the design of user flows, navigation, and other interactive elements of the product.
  3. User interface (UI) components: This includes standardized UI elements such as buttons, forms, and other elements that can be used to build the user interface of the product.
  4. UI patterns: This includes common design patterns such as navigation patterns, search patterns, and others that can be used to build the user interface of the product.
  5. Style guide: This is a document that outlines the design system and serves as a reference for designers and developers. It typically includes guidelines for using the visual design elements, UI components, and UI patterns.
  6. Component library: This is a collection of pre-designed UI components that can be used to build the user interface of the product.
  7. Design principles: These are the guiding principles that inform the design of the product and help to ensure consistency and coherence in the design.
  8. Design language: This is the set of design terms and definitions used to describe the design system and its components.

How do I create my own design system?

Creating a design system of your own can seem like an overwhelming task. However, with some careful planning and research, it is achievable.

  1. Start by gathering inspiration from existing design systems, such as the Google Material Design System or Apple's Human Interface Guidelines.
  2. Then, identify the core components of your product and create a style guide that outlines the overall look and feel.
  3. Make sure to document all of your decisions so you can keep track of them and make adjustments if needed.
  4. Finally, test out your design system on different platforms like Figma, Adobe XD or Sketch to ensure it works in all contexts.

With these steps, you will be able to create a comprehensive design system that will help streamline your workflow and improve user experience.

Written by

Ashwin Mason
I'm Ash, a Product designer with an affinity for coffee and design. I've been designing for about 8 years now and had the privilege to work on some great projects. I also love music, food, wine, and a day out.