Breaking Down Walls with Company-Wide Design Systems

In our digital age, effective collaboration is the lifeblood of successful design projects. Figma and Penpot are both design tools that are transforming the way design teams interact, enhancing internal knowledge and breaking down silos within organizations.

Figma is the ultimate cloud based tool for collaborative design. It's user-friendly and versatile, perfect for connecting design systems across different teams within your company. This platform helps bridge the gaps between siloed teams, fostering collaborative synergy and boosting internal knowledge exponentially.

For organizations that prioritize data security and wish to run their operations on a secure intranet, Penpot is an excellent choice. This open-source design and prototyping tool offers similar collaborative capabilities as Figma, but within a secured environment (in case you have sensitive projects and want to avoid uploading anything to AWS or Google Cloud).

By using a shared library of design components, one team can build upon another team's experience, effectively saving time and creating a more cohesive design language across the organization.

If certain projects are under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), a dedicated team could deconstruct each component to its bare skeleton before it gets shared company-wide. This ensures the confidentiality of the original project while allowing others to learn from and build upon the foundational design elements.

This approach is ideal for mid to large-scale organizations where multiple teams are working on separate but potentially interconnected projects.

However, there might be some backlash to the idea of using other team's designs or sharing the components with other teams we made with hard work. Another common concern is that such processes could limit individual autonomy and the unique flair that different designers bring to their work. However, the goal here is not to stifle creativity but to foster an environment where knowledge and resources can be shared more effectively. Designers can still bring their unique perspective to projects, but with the added advantage of being able to easily integrate their work with the broader design system of the organization.

Implementing these tools and strategies requires a culture of transparency, open communication, and willingness to collaborate.