The rise of digital products
Digital has evolved significantly in recent years, presenting challenges for organizations in both the speed of digital product development and consistency of brand experience. Smaller organizations focus on quick iteration, while larger organizations strive for consistent brand experience across products and platforms, from simple websites to SaaS applications and even mobile/tablet/watch/TV applications.
Organizations must adapt to the increasing complexity of building and maintaining digital products while providing users with a delightful experience. This is why product teams are scaling up to keep up with the pace. Designers and developers are in higher demand than ever before.
Maintaining a brand identity across different products on various platforms is now a daily job for organizations of all sizes, from agencies and SMBs to enterprises, governments, and associations. Teams are looking for ways to be more efficient when collaborating to build and maintain digital products. People are an important part of this equation, but tools can help solve the other parts.
The future of design systems
The good news is that product tools have never been more advanced and ready to be connected to each other. We believe the world is now ready for a new chapter in collaboration, not only between people but also between tools for improved interoperability.
Setting up a design system is the best solution for brand consistency at scale. However, a design system is 80% about people and 20% about tooling. Design systems help everyone involved in creating and maintaining a digital product work better together.
Bringing people together is hard. However, a first step can be to help the tools we use daily communicate better with other ones. This means that organizations must keep their design systems in sync. The best way to keep the information up-to-date is to allow data to navigate freely between the tools within the design system. The best way to distribute data from one place to another is by using an API.
Specify is designed with this idea in mind: helping an organization's branding navigate freely from one place to another automatically.
An API at the heart of your design system
Specify's mission is to empower organizations to manage their branding at scale. An organization's branding is used by many people, in many teams, in different environments. Sometimes, organizations even collaborate with external companies.
Branding is used daily by people through tools like Figma, GitHub, or Notion. Thus, an organization's branding must be as easy to access and use as possible. Fortunately, today's tools are smart enough to communicate with each other. This is where APIs come into play.
A brand is composed of what we call "design data". Under this name, you'll find all the design decisions that help an organization differentiate itself when communicating. Design decisions can be colors, typefaces, icons, images, or even sounds. Every time you see, hear, or even use something from an organization, you're interacting with its branding.
A Design API stores an organization's branding information in an external source of truth. Think of a Design API as a central database containing design data. The data can be navigated in different ways depending on the relationship models that you set up.
It may not solve all of the organizational issues that teams face, but it is currently the best method for achieving brand consistency at scale.
Product teams have been growing for many years to keep up with digital transformation. As a result, design systems have emerged to help everyone work better together on digital products. However, the value of a design system is only as high as the trust its consumers place in it. An outdated design system becomes useless in an instant. This is where Design APIs come in.
Design APIs automatically synchronize design data within your design system. They provide the "automation" layer that helps your design system become fully connected.
The future present looks bright.