I have seen many front-end development frameworks that are simple a collection of UI components and page layouts to be used by developers to build new applications. However, it should come as no surprise that simply having a consistent collection of components doesn't guarantee a consistent feel (you might have the looks) because there are still a myriad of possibilities when it comes to implementing a set of interactions on a page.

Design patterns were popular in the early days of UX design, when designers realized that there were a common set of problems that can be solved by a standard (generic) set of interactions that are agnostic of the UI components. And when you combine define the design patterns with the UI components in your development framework, you then have a more consistent way of implementing the user interface (at least in my opinion).

So why is it that design patterns are often not part of the design system? I am still curious as to why style guides and development frameworks continue to exist as separate entities (most of the time) when something like design patterns could help improve the consistency of the design.

1 Answer 1


Cost is probably the biggest reason - try persuading a product owner that you need to build a design system when the finished product they're using ultimately looks no different.

Over the last couple of years there has been a surge in bringing design and development back in sync (based largely around atomic design components) - but it's a massive effort to bring these two in sync for legacy systems and unless you can afford a dedicated team to work on a building a design system that suits your product it's not necessarily something you "need".

Hopefully we start seeing some tools to make this process more straight forward, it's helpful that Atlassian and a few others have made their design kits public (https://atlaskit.atlassian.com/) and tools like Invision DSM (https://www.invisionapp.com/design-system-manager) will make it easier for small / medium sized businesses to manage their own design systems.

As for design patterns themselves - material design tackles this no? If you open any mainstream app like Whatsapp, Twitter, Gmail.... they're all extremely intuitive to use because they all follow the same design principles (FAB button) etc

  • This seems like a tough question to answer, so thanks for contributing an answer!
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 1:37
  • This doesn't seem to answer the question of why patterns are often absent though. Why would having patterns cost more (point taken about implementing them in the code base of course)? Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 7:18

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