I wrote a book about design systems

Andrew Couldwell
3 min readOct 23, 2019

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 of it. I think designers (of all levels), engineers, design and product managers, and especially in-house teams will learn a lot from this book.

The synopsis reads as follows:

This is real talk about creating design systems and digital brand guidelines. No jargon, no glossing over the hard realities, and no company hat. Just good advice, experience, and practical tips.

System design is not a scary thing — this book aims to dispel that myth. It covers what design systems are, why they are important, and how to get stakeholder buy-in to create one. It introduces you to a simple model, and two very different approaches to creating a design system. What’s unique about this book is its focus on the importance of brand in design systems and creating documentation. It’s a comprehensive, practical guide that’s simple to follow and easy on the eye.

Laying the Foundations is a labour of love. I wrote and designed the book*. I’m extra proud that the book was very much a partnership between my wife, Meagan Fisher Couldwell and I. Like myself, Meagan is a web designer and developer. She’s also a brilliant writer. Meagan is the book’s editor, and she wrote the foreword too. The book is so much better for her input and experience. And the fact that we put so much time into this project, together, over several months makes all the difference to the quality of the end product.

*If you’re interested, I wrote about how we self-published a book:

Here’s the lowdown:

  • You can purchase the paperback and eBook here.
  • If you buy the paperback and eBook together you’ll get 50% off the eBook.
  • The book ships internationally. I’m most excited to see which corners of the world my book ships to! ✈️🌏
  • Design teams get a 10% discount (when you buy 5–10 books).
  • I’m also offering bulk order discounts for educational institutions and bookstores. If you’re a course leader at a design school, or you know one who might be interested; please reach out to me at book@roomfive.net. I would be honoured to equip your students with my book.

It’s a strange feeling, publishing a book. I haven’t felt this way about any of the hundreds of websites or several products I’ve launched in my career. This one’s special. If you read the book, I hope you think so too, and that it helps you and your team do your best work.

Now, excuse me — I have a lot of books to lovingly pack and put in the mail! 🚀