And the role of development in design

This is a deep-dive into the role of development in the design process, with a focus on responsive design. It’s aimed at design leaders/managers and developers working with design teams, and visual designers looking to become better web designers. I’ll attempt to lay out the problems, and suggest practical solutions. I hope it helps. 🙂

To be successful with a design system, you need to learn how to teach the value of design systems — and to earn the support and trust of stakeholders

A book spread showing content related to selling a design system
A book spread showing content related to selling a design system
Laying the Foundations by Andrew Couldwell

Designers romanticise design systems in countless articles online, and we make it sound so easy in our case studies. But the reality is:

  • They’re time-consuming to build and establish.
  • They take up a lot of development resources.
  • They distract from working on any roadmaps of features.
  • They’re tricky to maintain.
  • Designers can see them as a threat to their creativity.
  • And, they require a lot of stakeholder support to succeed.


Part 4: An insight into self-publishing a book

This is the fourth and final part of a series about how we self-published a book. This part is about online selling and distributing your book.

There are various means of selling and distributing a self-published book. The service you used to print your books may go a long way to deciding — or even dictating — which method or services you adopt, which we’ll come back to. You can also use multiple sales channels to reach a wider audience. …

Part 3: An insight into self-publishing a book

This is the third part of a series about how we self-published a book. This part is about how to get your book printed, and demystifying print-on-demand services.

Please don’t be scared by the length of this article. If you’re thinking about self-publishing a book, this article could save you a lot of time and money!

Part 2: An insight into self-publishing a book

This is the second part of a series about how we self-published a book. This part is about how to design a print and eBook version of your book.

I have worked exclusively in digital my whole career. I had no clue how to design a book! But I relished the challenge. This article shares my design process and what I learned.

An insight into self-publishing a book

Until a year ago, I had never in my life thought: I want to write a book. It wasn’t a bucket list item or a new year’s resolution. It was more a realisation that I had the material to do it… So why not? 💡

Page spread of a book
Page spread of a book
Our book! Laying the Foundations / Published October 2019

The seed

In November 2018, my wife, Meagan Fisher and I (Owl Studios) were invited to run a day-long web design workshop. One of the topics I planned to cover on the day was design systems. As I prepared for the workshop, one Keynote deck turned into two, then three. I had the crazy idea I could…

An introduction to what a design system can do for you, when you need one, and how to build it

Laying the Foundations by Andrew Couldwell © 2019

The path to success with a design system starts with every member of your team understanding what design systems are and how they can help. This understanding will help you all work better together, and it will help you pitch and gain support for creating a design system at your company.

A design system is hard to summarize. It’s perhaps easier to explain why design systems are important, and what they help us to do, than to explain exactly what they are. However, here’s my attempt at a definition:

What is a design system?

Design systems bring order and consistency to digital products. They help…

I’m excited to announce that my book, Laying the Foundations is available to purchase in paperback and eBook.

The book is about design systems, building a strong digital brand, navigating design at a company, working efficiently as a team, and creating sustainable digital products. It’s a biggy! Really. It’s 268 pages of experience and practical advice. And that’s not 268 pages set in a large font size with wide margins. That’s: ‘how small can I make the font size so it’s still legible’ kinda page count. But I think it’s worth it. I would say that. But I am proud…

Target the work you want to do

I designed and built a new portfolio website for myself. Take a look:

Here’s the thing: I didn’t need a new portfolio, but I wanted a new portfolio so I could better target the work I want to do. This article delves into the reason behind creating it, what makes a good portfolio website, my process for creating my new website, and some general advice for getting your work out there and seen by the people that count.

Learn how to create comprehensive symbols

My class covers a subject I know designers and design teams struggle with. Students will graduate from the basics of creating symbols in Sketch, to creating a comprehensive set of design system components, enabling incredibly quick, simple and consistent design.

Through a series of videos, I walk students through how to create symbols for common web and product design components like form inputs and buttons — covering their different states, and how to efficiently name and organise it all. …

Andrew Couldwell

Web designer & developer • Portfolio at:

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