Getting Started with Design Systems Checklist

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When I first started working on design systems, I didn't know where to start. Googling "what is a design system" only got me so far!


While I wish I could just download all of the information in my brain into yours, I can't (yet). Until then, this checklist is designed to guide your research.


This checklist contains a lot of information. I know it can feel overwhelming. Don't worry if some of the items on the list don't make sense yet. You should expect to work through this checklist over the course of months and years––not days.


I've bolded keywords to make topics easier to search. I've also linked to resources I've found helpful or written over the years. I have italicized topics you don't need to address immediately.

Organizational Direction

Philosophical / Critical Knowledge

  • Read my favorite resource on accessibility testing
  • Learn about WCAG 2.1 Guidelines
  • Consider using an automated testing tool like WAVE
  • Working With Designers

  • Set up frequent touch-points between designers and developers
  • Set up a repeating design critique session
  • Choosing Tools

    Versioning and Publishing

  • If you choose a monorepo, decide whether to use Lerna
  • Building Components

    Enforcing Quality

    Encouraging Adoption

    I hope this checklist has been helpful. If you've found anything confusing about this subject, send me a DM on Twitter @MCapoz and I'll do my best to answer your question!

    All content © Mae Capozzi