Design Systems

Design Systems Workshops

Looking to jump start a design system program? We workshop with team(s) to teach methods, conduct actvities, and plan a future to get the most out of a system.

What We Cover

Design systems cover alot of ground. Architecting a high-quality library of design, code and documentation is essential. So to is operating a program, from forming a vision and roadmap to aligning people, processes, and contributions from a wide community.

EightShapes will customize a workshop for you that blends and prioritizes topics across a day or two together. For each topic, we'll find the right balance of lecture, hands-on activities, discussion, and – if you're ready – critique of your team's materials. If a default agenda suits your needs, excellent! Need to focus on some topics more than others? We'll customize an agenda to suit your needs.

The Architecting Design Systems one-day workshop is ideal for teams looking to lift the quality of visual style and UI components across design, code, and documentation.

The Operating Design Systems one-day workshop is ideal for teams considering the vision, plan and operations of a design system within their organization. The workshop covers objectives, roadmapping, adoption, processes and workflows, reorienting teams and cultivating design and developer communities of contribution.

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 available out-of-the-box include:

Visual Style


UI Components


Systems of Systems





Workshop Activities

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)

Objectives, Topics and Draft Agenda

We'll workshop the workshop, drafting objectives, themes, topics, activities, and what excites each of us.

Meeting 2 (90 min)

Design System and Experience Tours

EightShapes quickly immerses in your system's existing design, code and doc and tours the products it's used for.

Meeting 3 (60 min)

Final Agenda, Materials and Logistics

We'll confirm the day's agenda, any materials and custom content to be produced, and finalize logistics.

Who Should You Invite?

The workshop format is suitable for up to 100 participants and covers content relevant to 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

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.

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
2020 Truist SmashingConf San Francisco
2019 Nationwide
Federal Reserve Board
Farm Credit Services
Strata Decision
Progressive Leasing
DesignOps Summit
Enterprise UX
UXLX, Lisbon, Portugal
UXI Live, Tel Aviv, Israel
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?