Design Systems are very popular in organizations right now. They typically are used for a consistent component library across products in an organization. I've read that cross-disciplinary teams can benefit from the design system. However I cannot find actionable examples of a marketing team benefitting much from a design system.

Some design systems touch on voice & tone, typography, color but the components that are used for the product typically wouldn't be all that beneficial for digital marketing ads. The Button component for an app isn't always applicable to marketing materials.

Similarly, I imagine outside of colors, typography, principles etc. design components for the products aren't the same for the company's website. However, you could make an argument to build a different component library for the website. Sure it may use some similar components but I typically have experienced websites are distinct from their products. Example: An email input sign up isn't always the same input as the input field found in a product.

When reviewing Google Material's design system on textfields I went to gmail.com on a Desktop browser to do a search and their textfields were actually different from the textfields in their guidelines. The Google Material textfields have curved edges and can be filled our outlined. Their outline has borders on all 4 sides. Gmail.com on a browser has a bottom border only for their search form. Which I think looks better for a browser based form. This has me wondering if another design system would be typical?

So is a whole other system that borrows from another system typical in an organization? Or does one design system typically cover instances across not just product but marketing and web? I imagine at the very least a different component library may be necessary but I've never seen this I'm unsure what is common and I'm looking to hear from anyone with experience to give this clarification.

  • A big company may have sub brands, yes. Why? For same reason they would have separate ranges of products.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 8:07

1 Answer 1


Not sure I understand... every medium will have it's own general rules or guidelines, but all should fall under the umbrella of brand guidelines. Brand guidelines typically encompass the broad scope of the visuals - typefaces, colors, logo usage, etc. However, each and every medium or delivery method may then have its own set of general guidelines (sizes, positioning, styling, etc).

So, depending on where in the design chain you are looking, or what delivery methods you compare, it may seem as though there are different guidelines. However, everything should fall under the brand guidelines, then have a subset for the delivery method. One often can't incorporate the same general styling for print-based projects as one can for web-based, or app-based projects. Even app-based vs web-based styling can vary in order to facilitate usage or ROI (return on investment).

Beyond this, there's also purpose to consider. A design whose purpose is to "sell" can be, and often should be, quite different than a design not designed to "sell".

Goggle's Material design is merely something they share with the public. I highly doubt the material guidelines are seen internally as some sort of "bible". When rules need to be broken to facilitate ROI, they are broken. Most good marketing adheres to the brand guidelines always... but will stray from delivery stylings when it makes sense to do so, or when it boosts ROI.

I often feel as though those who get too accustomed to Material Design Guidelines, or things like Twitter's Bootstrap, etc. Lock themselves into thinking that's how everything needs to appear. When the reality is they are all merely how Google, Twitter, et al. chose to handle something. They are overall "cheat sheets" for those not accustomed to making design decisions. But designers tend to see these "Guidelines" as suggestions not hard and fast rules and will often choose to handle things differently based on the message to be delivered.

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