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359: Design Systems and Creativity

August 12, 2020

This week, we discuss a listener question about the tension between design systems and creativity. Do design systems destroy creativity, or simply get the boring parts of our work out of the way? In The Sidebar, we discuss the challenges in sharing North Star design visions across teams.

Golden Ratio Patrons:

Did you know that teams in more than 150 countries around the world use Float for the resource planning? Float is the #1 rated resource management software on G2. Learn more at

Latest VIP Patrons:

Huge shoutouts to our latest Very Important Pixels!

  • Thomas Eckert
  • Sören Gröbke
  • Sveta Goldstein
  • Juliana S
  • Farfama Hargaaya
  • Christopher Woodside
  • Danni Hu
  • Jatin
  • Sanket Pathak
  • Tin Kadoic
  • Christopher Drakeford
  • Agnese
  • David Luft
  • Jeremie Michaels Lim
  • Matt Harney

The Sidebar:

The Sidebar is an exclusive weekly segment for our Patreon supporters. You can subscribe starting at $1 per month for access to full episodes going forward! Sign up at

In this week's Sidebar, we discuss the process of creating and distributing North Star vision work across teams and organizations.

Follow up:

  • It's now possible to disable wallpaper tinting in macOS dark mode (in the latest Big Sur beta). To do this go to System Preferences → General → Allow Wallpaper Tinting in Windows
  • Last week's episode was edited using Descript, a pretty awesome audio editing tool.
  • Pawel Sysiak pointed out that the method for getting the Patreon audio stream into your podcast player isn't super obvious. But it's possible! If you are currently listening to episodes on Patreon, ya goofed - go to and follow the instructions to get the special audio link imported into your favorite podcast player.

Listener Question:

  • Katarina Blind asks: I know that especially for bigger companies with several people working on a project, it can really help to create one unified UI. But I’m curious about whether they can impact creativity. If the design elements are already established, it seems like that takes away quite a bit of the design process. There’s a lot of talk about pixel-pushing and getting the typography, color, alignment, etc. just right. So if that’s taken care of by a design system it appears as if what’s left to design is the combination of elements..._

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared Palm Springs, a new movie on Hulu that's kind of a like a new modern day Groundhog's Day.
  • Marshall shared I'll Be Gone in the Dark, a six-part documentary series based on a book investigating the Golden State Killer.

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