Leo Ratzlaff
Work/

Dell Design System

Foundations, components, and community.

2021 User Experience

I joined Dell as a product designer In January of 2021 to help create the new Dell Design System—a subject I am immensely interested in and passionate about.

Version 2 promotional banner. Image from delldesignsystem.com

Version 2 promotional banner. Image from delldesignsystem.com

My main contribution has been the design of foundations and components. By the moment the system was released in late 2021, I had designed, usually pairing with another designer, 10 out of the 16 available components.

Checkboxes. Image from delldesignsystem.com

Checkboxes. Image from delldesignsystem.com

Design process

Our usual process behind these components and foundations starts with research, definition, exploration, and prototyping. After coming up with an initial concept, we bring it for a design critique with a group composed of designers, engineers, and accessibility experts. After addressing the given feedback and polishing the design, we submit our work to a11y, i18n, and design review. When approved, we work with our content strategist and UX writer to compose usage guidelines for the website.

In parallel, we’re building a community for the hundreds of product teams at Dell. We want people to contribute with feedback, design, and code for our design system, and seeing that happening has been amazing. This proximity puts us closer to our customers and allows us to test and validate ideas faster.

Result

We’re experiencing an increasing number of products either adopting the design system for the first time or migrating from the previous version. Often, these teams share the failures and successes of our design system applied to their products. Failures we turn into improvement work. Successes we celebrate.

As for future steps, I expect to design better components and also help Dell evolve its identity. I will promote and hopefully sell the idea to improve iconography, illustrations, and typography, as I often daydream of a custom typeface made just for Dell.

See more at delldesignsystem.com.