Design Systems

Scalable Design Systems Workshop

Looking to start or invigorate a design system? We’ll workshop with your team(s) to teach principles and methods so that you get the most out of your system.

Why EightShapes for a Workshop?

EightShapes’ experience and enthusiasm will inspire and challenge your teams. Sessions will engage participants in hands-on activities, spark new ideas and moderate challenging conversations so your team can:

  • Learn about design systems
  • Kickoff or energize a program
  • Define a system and what it offers
  • Dive into topics like color and space
  • Name a team & energize a community
  • Decide how contributions flow in
  • Plan how other teams adopt over time
  • Identify measurable outcomes
Even as an experienced design systems pro, I picked up new techniques and concepts that I never knew about. Listening to Nathan and discussions as a class helped me get some perspective on issues I was facing at work.
Jeff Crossman, Design System Lead, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

What We Cover

During one or two days together, we’ll combine lecture and hands-on activities. If the default agenda suits your needs, excellent! Otherwise, we’ll customize an agenda of topics and hands-on activities to suit your needs.

For public venues and organizations learning fundamentals, we’ll follow this standard agenda:

Most in-house teams choose to customize their agenda to tailor topics to their needs. This may result in a workshop lengthened to two days or shortened to a half day.

Example 1: Evening Talk, then Half–Day Workshop

One client paired a sponsored talk for a local meetup with a customized half-day in-house workshop. Their objectives were to align multiple system efforts and better serve system customers and contributors. As a result, they omitted most topics of design, code and documentation.

Example 2: Customized Full-Day Workshop

Another client was well experienced but needed deep dives. In particular, they had two systemes: one four-year old, another emerging from other groups.

Their workshop customized of existing topics and added new material based on top-level findings. Following planning sessions, stakeholder interviews, and system tours, the workshop's agenda was:

  • Arrival


  • System Definition & Rationalizing Features

    8:30am – 10:00am

  • System Teams, Roles & Community Collaboration

    10:15am – 11:00am

  • Design: Tokens, Space & Size

    11:15am – 12:00pm

  • Lunch

    12:00pm – 1:00pm

  • Documenting Component Examples and Guidelines

    1:00pm – 2:15pm

  • Contributions Across Teams, Groups, and Lines of Business

    2:30pm – 3:45pm

  • Measuring Success and Next Steps

    4:00pm – 5:00pm

  • End of Day


When customizing a workshop, we’ll select topics and activities that fit your needs. Topics already available out-of-the-box include:


  • Defining Design Systems
  • Starting a Design System
  • Measuring Success
  • Roadmapping
  • Running a System Planning Cycle
  • UI Inventories
  • Roadshow Presentations
  • Adoption Models and Monitoring
  • Intermediaries
  • Consolidation of Multiple Systems


  • Color
  • Space
  • Size
  • Borders
  • Tokens
  • Buttons
  • Cards
  • Classification
  • UX Patterns

People and Community

  • Designing a Systems Team
  • Central and Federated Team Models
  • Design System Leaders and Managers
  • Specialized Segment Leads
  • Contributions

Process and Workflows

  • Identifying Processes and Procedures
  • Designing System Features, Step-by-Step
  • Release Outputs and Cadence
  • Versioning and Breaking Changes
  • Dependencies
  • Assuring Quality


  • Documentation Audience & Structure
  • Component Intros
  • Component Examples
  • Component Design Guidelines
  • Component Code Reference
  • Editorial Workflow
  • Components for Documenting Components

Prepping for the Day

Once you're signed up, we’ll meet at least three times to plan the event. For workshops requiring customization or additional consulting, we'll add activities as needed — interviews, more tours, etc — so that we can present material most effectively for your audience.

Meeting 1 (60 min)

Draft Agenda & Logistics

During a first call, we review topics and activities, identify attendees and custom materials, and propose day and time.

Meeting 2 (90 min)

System & Product Tours

During a second call, we immerse in your existing system design, code and doc and also tour the products to which it applies.

Meeting 3 (60 min)

Finalize Agenda

In the final call, we confirm the day's agenda, any customized materials and discussion prompts, and finalize logistics.

Who Should You Invite?

The workshop format is suitable for up to 100 participants and covers content relevant to many disciplines beyond just designers and engineers.

Essential Participants

  • Teams making system(s)
  • UX and visual designers
  • Front-end engineers
  • Design and engineering leaders
  • Design ops management

Additional Invites

  • Product managers
  • Accessibility specialists
  • Content strategists
  • Researchers
  • Executive sponsors

Past Workshop Clients

EightShapes has conducted design systems-oriented workshops at public events and for in-house teams across industries since 2007.

Year Private Events Public Venues
2019 UXLX
UXI Live, Tel Aviv
2018 Google
Liberty Mutual
George Mason
Air New Zealand
Digital Arts Network (New Zealand)
UIE's UI23
Invision, Munich
Invision, Denver
Enterprise UX
Invision, New York
DS Conference Helsinki
Webstock New Zealand
Chicago Systems Meetup
2017 Target
Pitney Bowes
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Universal Services Administration
UIE's UI22
Enterprise UX
SmashingConf San Francisco
UX Charlotte
2016 Fitbit
Wells Fargo
World Bank
UIE's UI21
SmashingConf Freiburg
Enterprise UX
2015 Discovery Education
Red Gate Software
UIE's UI20
2014 Capital One
2012 Marriott UIE's UI17
2010 Yahoo UIE's UI15
2009 US Bank
Blue Cross Blue Shield
George Washington University
UIE's Web App Summit
2008 eBay
IA Summit
NN Group Amsterdam
NN Group Chicago
2007 Cisco

Let's Get Started!

We’re ready to energize your design system efforts, whether you’re just getting started or rebooting to 2.0. Are you ready?