My Role
Lead UX Designer & Leader
The Key Skills
Design System, PowerPoint, Adobe CC, Adobe XD, Figma, SharePoint
2018 - Present
The Background
Starting in 2018, as I moved from a team of 1 designer to a team of many, the need for a design system was apparent. For similar reasons as to why I transitioned how we worked to Agile (see Transition to Agile), the team was growing and we needed away to keep our design language consistent. However, one of the main problems was that we didn't only play with Adobe XD, but we had to think about all the other mediums we used, such as PowerPoint. Creating a sub-brand off of our Cisco Branding Guidelines is where everything began. Similar to a suite of products, often you have brands specific to the product you are working on. For the work we do, this difficult and time consuming tasks is even more difficult and time consuming. Many teams have a designer or a team of designers dedicated to this, where as we were a small team where we would create products with each new request. I don't shy away with things that are hard, especially if it's the right thing to do.
I knew we were going to be trying to onboard another designer, I worked with our other designer to determine the design tool we wanted to work in. Ultimately we were tied to what was approved through our security process, and what we wanted to used. We decided on Adobe XD and the Adobe Creative Suite of tools. I began to architect what this could look like in the context of what we do and we would work to slowly build this out.
Things change quickly and being such a small team, we never truly implemented this due to various factors such as time, resources, and turnover / organizational changes. We did create the LUXE Design System with Adobe XD in which was built off the Cisco Branding Guidelines, but it did help us anchor on our designs on the Cisco Brand. Then with each new project, we'd create a design system that was specific to the brand of what we were creating, such as the Career Launchpad.
In 2022, the team grew and I took on the Team Leader role and with that there was a new found importance to creating a Design System. During this time, the meteoric rise of Figma was upon us, so we transitioned to Figma. One of the main priorities of the team is to begin to extend our Cisco brand design system and create our own components for our work. This is currently in progress and something that my team of designers updates and maintains. Now, the problem with multiple mediums is still very much alive, this is a problem the team is trying to solve.
Lessons Learned
Design systems are essential but are difficult in create in the fast moving environment like in Learning & Development. They also take a lot of time and resources to implement, let alone tackle the adoption side of things. Would I have loved to further develop and create the LUXE Design System, absolutely, but without the space and resources to create it in such a high paced environment, this will have to revisited and rearchitected.
Now in 2022, where we do have resources and a team of designers, this was one of my top priorities. Is it in a mature space, absolutely not but it is a start. We will continue to learn and grow from this experience.
Take 1: The Creative Architecture Concept
While this never actually came into existence, and we simply relied on building a very basic LUXE Design System within Adobe XD, here is the concept I co-created with the team.
Take 2: A New Team & Figma
While we extend our Cisco Brand internal design system, the team has begun to add components and begin our journey into design systems.
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