The following glossary will help you understand the foundations of what a Design Data Platform is made of.

Design decision

A design decision defines all decisions impacting the "look and feel" of an organization's branding. It can be a logo, a color, an icon, an illustration, or even a sound.

At Specify, we consider a design decision can be one of the 2 following items: a design token or an asset.


In this guide, we'll often refer to environments as tools and places where you can create or use design data. Environments can either be connected to a Design API as sources or as destinations.

Design API

As an organization's brand identity must be used and applied as easily as possible, its design data must be able to transit freely from one tool to another.

A Design API helps an organization's branding be in sync by:

  1. Collecting design data from sources
  2. Storing this design data in an external source of truth to secure this branding
  3. Distributing the design data to all the teams, people, and tools using them

The real value of a design system is to allow everyone involved to go in the same direction. The real value of a design system is to bring people involved closer together. The real value of a Design API is to make your design system trustworthy.

Products & Platforms

A Design API helps you distribute your brand to a large variety of environments. However, from a user standpoint, end products and platforms are the most important ones to keep in sync.

Let's say your organization provides a single digital product available on the web, iOS, and Android. You will most likely have to keep in sync:

  • a marketing website
  • a web app
  • an iOS mobile app
  • an Android mobile app

Those platforms are different. They require specific care and knowledge to be maintained. Your design tokens and assets have to be specifically transformed for each of these products and platforms.

Your brand.
Your products.
Always in sync.

Meet the design data platform you ever dreamt of.