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  • Writer's picturePixel Team

How to create Design Principles 🏗

Why are design principles important?

Have you ever seen two designs of the same company that seem to come from two different minds? Do you hesitate a lot to make design decisions? Are there a lot of design debates with your team? 🤔 No worries, we have a solution: you need to create your design principles!

In fact, design principles will help you frame design decisions and support consistency in decision-making.

How to create Design Principles

What are design principles?

Design principles are the guides that will help you and your team in any design decision, and they are widely applied in products and services by big brands like Spotify,Google and Apple!

Design principles are fundamental pieces of advice for you to make easy-to-use, pleasurable designs. IDF, What are Design Principles? (n.d.)

Before you start, we defined these tips to create effective design principles based on Nielsen Norman Group article Crafting Product-Specific Design Principles to Support Better Decision Making (2020):

🏆 Highlight important values: identify and prioritise the brand values essential for the success of your product or service.

👭 Put the users first: be empathic and think about why your values are relevant to users and how they impact them.

Less is more: create maximum 3-5 of them. Be clear on the action desired with each principle.

👆 Make them stick: remember the principle KISS (Keep it simple stupid), it might be handy to make principles easy to remember.

🤝 Don’t mix it up: be sure that your principles are not too similar or that they go against one another. Each principle should stand on its own.

How to develop design principles?

Just for you, we learned the main steps of the process according to Nielsen Norman Group (2020), and we realised that creating your design principles is pretty similar to building a house: you need the foundations, the core, and then you get to the top!

So, roll up your sleeves and wear your safety helmet because we are about to build your design principles!

Want a little extra fun? Use our Miro board 👇

The foundation is the common definition of Design principles.

👉 Before the start, align your team into a common definition of design principles and their application.

🥇 Then, learn from the best: check some examples of design principles and choose your favourite ones.

Psst... we left you some here for inspiration 👇😉

Examples of how to write design principles. Start by taking inspiration from others like Apple, Google or even Spotify!

👀 Explore the examples: how are they applying their design principles?

Then, build the core of your building.

✍️ Write your core values

🙋‍♀️ Review them from the users’ point of view: get in the shoes of the user and for each value ask yourself...

  • Why is it important for the user?

  • What does it help to achieve for the user?

  • If we don't follow those values, what impact will it have on our users?

🧠 Brainstorm & vote design principles options

📝 Define, write and compare them:

☝️ Start by grouping the most voted design principles.

✌️ For each of the groups you found, write the principle that defines it best.

🔳 Check that your design principles follow the tips we left you above by thinking: are they simple and memorable? Do they mix up? Are they user centric?

😍 Select the most effective principles to speed your design decisions!

Add them and blend similar ones to achieve your final 3-5 principles.

You have reached the top of the building! 🔝

🗣️ Communication is the first step for adoption, hold conversations to make decisions where your design principles are the material for building your decisions.

📣 Share them, make them visible for everyone who needs to inform their design decisions.

🎯 Create alignment and reduce time spent in solutions that do not fit your principles.

Congrats, you did it! You built your design principles! 🥳

Did you like what you read? Do you want to have more information or do you need to answer any questions? 🤓 Contact us.

We will be happy to meet you! 🎉


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