Patterns Day 2019 - Emil Björklund

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Of all the many times I’ve met Emil, I’ve never once seen him give a talk. I’ve now learned that this was his third ever talk, the first was over 10 years ago and the second was a short lightning talk. This was a dConstruct-worthy talk. It didn’t necessarily give any answers or solutions but it gave plenty of questions and showed his journey of learning and exploring ideas related to design systems at an almost philosophical level. Just my kind of talk, and really brings together themes from the whole day. No one really had proper answers to anything, which was really refreshing and good to see that we all have similar questions or challenges.

By this point my battery was at 1% so here’s my very short notes:

  • Pacelayers!
  • Natalie Dawne - CSS Systems in 2008
  • Material design etc “represents design systems but I don’t think they *are* design systems”
  • Donella Meadows applied thinking, wrote “thinking in systems”
  • Boundaries of systems are human made, everything is “existence”
  • “A stable system will have equilibrium” like rabbits breeding and being eaten
  • “Kind of designing the design”
  • Need to imagine a scale from not helpful to overspecialisation
  • More powerful to “tweak flow arrows than boxes” I guess this could also be said “instead of designing a thing, design the process”?
  • Boundary objects - a term from sociology
  • A boundary object needs to be in the real word not just someone’s head
  • Have enough identity of its own for shared understanding
  • Flexible
  • Anyone who knows what a map is can use a map of Brighton
  • It’s the community tab that makes it a design system - Robin Whitteton
  • It sounds like design systems are a bit of an attractive nuisance. (Apparently a legal term in USA where it makes you responsible if others use it)