About the book
Laying the Foundations is a comprehensive guide to creating, documenting, and maintaining design systems, and how to design websites and products systematically. It's an ideal book for web designers and product designers (of all levels) and especially design teams.
This is real talk about creating design systems and digital brand guidelines. No jargon, no glossing over the hard realities, and no company hat. Just good advice, experience, and practical tips.
System design is not a scary thing — this book aims to dispel that myth. It covers what design systems are, why they are important, and how to get stakeholder buy-in to create one. It introduces you to a simple model, and two very different approaches to creating a design system. What's unique about this book is its focus on the importance of brand in design systems, web design, product design, and when creating documentation. It's a comprehensive guide that’s simple to follow and easy on the eye.
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“You could read 100 hot takes on Medium OR read this one book filled with practical advice from an industry vet. There's so much valuable stuff in this book.”Nick Stamas, Principal Product Designer
“This book is outstanding. I'm about halfway through and it's already heavily influenced our team's design system work.”Ryan Nordyke, Product Designer
“If you want to learn or improve your skills around design systems, I highly recommend buying this book. I have worked with Andrew. The dude is absolutely brilliant and this book is pure gold.C.M. Kennedy, Designer
“It's thorough and smart, and written in an accessible tone of voice that is both encouraging and lucid.”Molly Young, New York magazine
“Mind. Blown. Going to go retire in the woods now... Seriously, it's a good read. He recommends a very similar process to what we [Lyft] follow.”Linzi Berry, Lyft
“I wish we had this book when setting up our design system! It has already proved essential in ongoing iteration and evolution of our design system. Worth every penny!”Matt O, Designer, UK
“This book cuts through the noise and hype around designs systems. Andrew really digs in to every part of creating and using a design system in the real world.”Nick Stamas, Candid
“Probably the most comprehensive guide on design systems yet. A detailed look at how large organisations use their design systems and how to go about setting up your own.”Paul Davies, Behavioural Psychologist
“It was a great read. I am constantly getting back to it while working on my current project. It's more than a book. It's a manual.”Milos Mirkovic, Product Designer
“It's awesome! Incredibly thorough, down to earth and doesn't shy away from the nitty gritty.”Linn Vizard, Designer
“The extremely talented Andrew Couldwell has written the book on design systems. Just buy it.”Will Cookson, Creative Director