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What would HTML do?

Smart take here from Jeremy about composable design systems:

Colours, spacing, type; these are all building blocks that a designer can compose with. But it gets murkier after that. Pre-made form fields? Sure. Pre-made forms? No thank you!

It’s like there’s a line where a design system crosses over from being a useful toolkit into being a bureaucratic hurdle to overcome. When you hear a designer complaining that a design system is stifling their creativity, I bet it’s because that line has been crossed.

Jeremy argues that design systems should have many small pieces that can be easily reconfigured—and this happens to tie in nicely from another post of his about HTML web components:

...what if my web component needs to do two things?

I make two web components.

The beauty of custom elements is that they can be used just like regular HTML elements. And the beauty of HTML is that it’s composable.

Yes! This is precisely why I started ranting a while back about how, whenever I confront a design system problem, I ask myself this one question that guides the way: “What would HTML do?”

HTML is the ultimate composable language. With just a few elements shuffled together you can create wildly different interfaces. And that’s really where all the power from HTML comes from: everything has one job, does it really well (ideally), which makes the possible options almost infinite.

Design systems should hope for the same.