Design systems and the tools used to maintain them are fundamentally changing the way designers think, work, and collaborate. In this month’s issue of Toptal Design World News, we preview a handful of amazing design system resources, reveal a nifty tool for creating story-centric user flows, and highlight a process-driven portfolio showcase for UX designers.
We’re also showcasing the work of Toptal UI designer Marius Troy, who has worked with noteworthy clients such as Dolce & Gabbana, Alicia Keys, Dior, Nike, Ryan Seacrest, and Oakley.
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DesignSystems.com is a resource for learning, creating, and evangelizing design systems. A hub for the broader design community to learn about and engage in the craft of building design systems.
UX Folio helps designers build beautiful UX portfolios that show off their design process and the result of what was achieved, not just the final product.
Webflow recently introduced a feature that allows designers to copy and paste elements between projects. Jan Losert gives away the first free Webflow UI kit, designed for all four breakpoints using the basic Webflow 940px grid.
Google has updated Material Design in an attempt to promote a fresh new look and introduces Material Theming, a new Sketch plugin designed to help developers implement Material concepts while still maintaining their brand’s visual identity.
Toptal Designer Showcase
Marius is a creative, dedicated designer with a positive attitude and extensive multidisciplinary experience. He has been working as a web designer and art director all over the world for the past ten years—developing online concepts, creating designs, and helping businesses to great success.
Please tell us about a recent project you worked on.
Faces of NYFW (New York Fashion Week) has been one of the most defining projects of my career. I had the idea of combining the APIs of all the major social networks to output one combined stream of social content for an event. I thought it’d be a great way to collect everything that’s shared publicly by attendees and present it in a beautiful way online for the world to see and follow.
At the time, this had never been done on large scale, so I thought New York Fashion Week would be a great pilot project for the technology. I assembled a small team of two developers and a project manager, and after weeks of intensive work, we got the solution up and running.
By day two of the event, we had become the talk of the town. By day three, our servers could no longer keep up with the traffic, as brands like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, DKNY, and many others were now using and sharing our site with their followers.
What was your design process?
As we were creating something that hadn’t been done on this scale before, my focus was to design a solution that was innovative enough to get visitors excited, but also familiar enough to ensure engagement.
I drew inspiration from the social networks and designed a mosaic-like layout. Most site visitors would be on the go, so getting the mobile UX right was crucial. We wanted it to feel like a proper app with full screens, swiping gestures, and drag to refresh.
There was more room for experimentation on the desktop version as there’s more real estate to play with. I decided to break up the grid and opted for floating cards of media and information—feeding the latest event updates, a tweet, an image, a live stream from a fashion show, or a repost from a NY media outlet.
What was the outcome? What are you most proud of?
In addition to the design awards, the project garnered a lot of attention in the fashion and tech worlds. As a result, we ended up being included in the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator in Berlin with our new startup Socius.
Socius went on to offer the same technology as Faces of NYFW to clients such as Condé Nast, Uber, Becks, and MasterCard. The company is still growing and doing well, winning the Nordic Startup Awards in 2016 for the Best Bootstrapped Startup.
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