Designing a System of Systems

Development of a turnkey template for design systems to accelerate their adoption

Client: Bound
Primary role: Senior UX Designer
Time frame: 2023 - 2024


Bound Express is a turnkey template for a design system that can be adapted to a client's needs and speed up the development of their design system. It is a blend of Bound’s expertise in Design Systems, having worked on different systems with different clients over the years.

Bound Express

The Bound Express Design System

Don’t reinvent the wheel

How do you create a design system from scratch that combines best practices of multiple systems?

We started by looking at our client work, more specific, recent client work, and decided to take the Uniting Design System as a baseline.

Knowing is knowing where to look.
Bound Express

Uniting Design System & documenation

The litmus test

The Uniting Design System (Loom) was part of a website redesign project so we’ve initially scoped out all necessary components to be built, audited their existing website and style guide and documented everything in both Zeroheight and the actual Library Figma file.

Having made the decision to start from scratch, one of the challenges we faced was the creation of a token system. Instead of using a proven and established system, such as Material 3, we started with a blank slate using the industry’s best practices.

We managed to work through these and other hiccups on the way and had a final project (well, phase 1, to be precise) we could use as a baseline.

Bound Express

Uniting planning & audit

Figuring out most of the work in a previous project. Except for the specifics.
Bound Express

Component list

Smooth sailing from here on, right?

We thought after having gone through the initial creation of the system, applying a white-label theme to it should be easy as pie. But it wasn’t.

We had to learn that each Design System serves its specific purpose and adapting one to serve a new purpose involves more labour than just copy and paste. Entire descriptions had to be rewritten, components partly disassembled and reassembled, and applying a “white-label” theme rose another question: How do we define how a white label looks like?

Creating a white-label solution is hard when you haven’t defined what “white-label” is.
Bound Express

Bound Express Zeroheight and Storybook documentation

We got there

Finally, we created a turnkey template that would do about 80% of the job of any given Design System. As all use cases, clients and projects have their specifics, we reserved some space to make these specific modifications.

After struggling with the definition of white-label, we decided to apply Bound’s brand theme to the template. In hindsight, having made that decision earlier would have saved us time and redoing parts of the job, but with a lesson learned we are proud of the end result and a product that is scalable and adaptable to any environment or future client.

Bound Express

Artboards of the Bound Express Figma file