What Is a Design System and When to Create One

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Throughout my continuing journey as a designer I have started to notice several companies are creating what they call design systems. Some people also like to refer to them as design languages, visual languages, or human interface guidelines. Google has Material Design, Apple has created their Human Interface Guidelines, last year Salesforce put together their Lightning Design System, and Airbnb has recently put together a visual design language for their design team. I became curious as what a design system is and why these companies have started to create and document them. Below I’ve broken down my research into a few sections: what is a design system, what are the benefits, and when it is and isn’t beneficial to create one.

The Elements of Style

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A spate of applications have popped/cropped up in recent years with slogans like “Make Anything Art.”  They purport to transfer the style of one image and render the content of another image in that style.  In the sets of images below, the small inset image is the source of the “style” which is transferred to the larger image.  It’s an impressive trick, although I don’t know that it accurately represents what we mean by ‘style’.

Prototyping with Principle: A Quick Review

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Principle Icon

I’ve partnered with my client, Texture, for more than two years, and I am still continually learning in all aspects of design. I’ve been lucky enough to pick up two software programs in the last year; Sketch and Principle. I’d like to give a quick review of Principle and share my pros and cons as a new user

Esoteric Programming Languages and You!

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Have you ever heard the term “esoteric programming language” and not known exactly what it was referring to? If so, this blog is for you, and hopefully an entertaining jaunt if not.

Esoteric programming languages are a unique class of programming languages that are generally NOT designed for everyday use on projects such as a website or phone app. Instead,
they are designed with a goal in mind, such as being a difficult as possible to program in, or to layout the code into a physical space that has meaning. Amusingly enough, even though they are often rather crazy, they also tend to be Turing complete which is quite impressive considering they weren’t necessarily designed with that goal in mind.

Meet Kotlin

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Kotlin is a JVM language that hit version 1.0 about a year ago (February 2016).
It is developed by JetBrains, the same people who make my favorite suite of
IDEs. The language itself is open-source under the Apache License 2.0 and is
developed as a community project over at kotlinlang.org. Kotlin is something
that I have become rather excited about over the past year. This post’s goal is
not to teach you Kotlin but to get you excited about it!

REST API Models in Swift

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There are a lot of APIs out there, a lot of networking layers, a lot of abstractions, I’m going to offer just one way to start building Swift models backed by a RESTful API. Out of personal preference, PromiseKit will be used instead of callbacks and ObjectMapper will be used to convert between JSON and Swift objects.

Look Ma, No Hands!

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While we may not be seeing a DeLorean turned time machine anytime soon, a vehicle with capabilities similar to those of KITT from Knight Rider isn’t so far fetched.

What is Pixel Density and Why Should You Care?

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Pixel density is the number of pixels per linear physical unit. Measured in pixels per inch (ppi or dpi). Pixel density and resolution are technically the same thing, but often people say “resolution” to mean “pixel count,” a related metric:

count = densityH * width * densityV * height

When other things are held constant:

Beacons, iOS and You

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Photo of beacon

What are beacons?

a) A tiny piece of plastic.
b) A low energy bluetooth device.
c) An emerging technology with numerous applications.
d) All of the above.

If you guessed all of the above, you would be correct! Beacons are an IoT technology that is deceptively simple and small but packs a potentially large punch for app developers looking for new and interesting ways to engage their customers.

Project Management Best Practices at Grio

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At Grio, it has always been our philosophy that we don’t have a “one-size fits all” approach to project management. Different projects have different goals, so our process needs to be adaptable.  Some clients will come to us with existing processes that we can fit into, whereas other clients maybe be starting from scratch on their project with no processes in place and are looking to us for guidance.  Many clients are somewhere in the middle.