Are Design Systems overrated?
Rob: Are Design Systems overrated or underrated?
Matthew: Overrated. I’m going to get cancelled [laughs]. Design Systems are incredible and they’re so valuable. But I think too many people go into a Design System too early. You know, there’s a flexibility and a freedom and a danger and a roughness where you just gotta like, f s up.
You gotta make things happen. You gotta wreck things. You’ve got to try things. And then… Start looking at the system, you know, like let that mad science take a hold first.
I will say though, for instance, with Really Good Emails the brand that needed to happen. We needed like wildness and madness and that was exciting.
But the product I wish that we had had Tailwind really early in our journey. We would have just utilized that and got out the gate. So there are certain things where Design Systems are critical but other places, don’t limit yourself.
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Matthew Smith (@whale) is a successful entrepreneur and product designer. He has worked with figures and organizations like Seth Godin, the Gates Foundation, and the US Postal Service. In 2014, he co-created Really Good Emails, which quickly became the world’s premier source for email design inspiration. In 2021, driven by his pursuit of meaningful work, Smith co-founded Bunsen, a niche creative studio aiding science-oriented companies with strategy, branding, and messaging. We rap about our inherent desire to curate online inspiration, strategies for effective sales pitches to clients, and just how to find an industry you’ll love working in.