I currently have a situation where my team are building a design system. Within them would be a set of design principles which extend from the brand guidelines.

However there is a response from brand and marketing where they feel that design principles are not needed. That everything a UX designer needs can be taken from the 'tone of voice' pages within the brand guidelines.

I am trying to highlight the differences. Mentioning that the while the TOV is good for aesthetics and content, it's too generic and not concise enough to address user problems.

So before I continue with these discussions, as if my opinion goes above brand and marketing (which is not the case), could there be any examples where a UX designer could just use a brands tone of voice and not have to consider creating design principles?

This question might be long winded so am happy to rephrase if needed.

1 Answer 1


It all depends. If this is for a website and the marketing people is OK with whatever a designer comes up, or relies on other design systems (for example any grid system like Bootstrap or Foundation, Material principles, Atomic, whatever), then you MAY NOT need to write design principles.

However, if you are going to open this up to other interested parties or stakeholders, (like different designers in the future, or people who promote your brand), then you need it. Otherwise, how will these people know the size of the font, the padding of the elements, the distance from the logo, the kerning, the transition time, the animations and everything you may need for your site? In addition: you will need design principles for graphical (print) and digital interfaces.

In short

you don't really need to write design principles per se. But having it will simplify things and save lots of time in the future.

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