Marc
Obieglo

UI & Design System Lead

Marc has a diverse 20-year career in the creative industry, encompassing roles in Advertising, Product, and Marketing, he has consistently honed his expertise in the visual realm. His professional journey has seen him excel as a Visual Designer, Art Director, and UI Designer, roles that immersed him deeply in the world of design systems. His experience with these systems dates back to when they were known as Brand Guidelines or Styleguides, demonstrating his adaptability to evolving industry standards.

Originally from Germany, he has spent the last decade in Sydney, Australia. Currently, he holds the position of Design Systems Lead at WiseTech Global, a leading tech company in the logistics sector.

Employees

Employees

Designers using
design system

Designers using
design system

Most used component:

Most used component:

Text

Text

2K+

2K+

2K+

30

30

30

25.068

25.068

25.068

inserts

inserts

inserts

Can you walk us through the current state of the design system you're involved with?

Our Design System is called Supply.

We’re a dedicated team of 15 talented people across design, product, and engineering. Oh, by the way, we’re growing. (Apply here 👋)

The journey has been an exciting challenge because design as a discipline is still very new here at WiseTech. Over the past 12 months, our team grew from 5 to 30 designers, which came with many challenges. 

We tried to fundamentally redesign an application and design system simultaneously, which is problematic. Thanks to our embedded designers, our system had to pivot multiple times as we learned more about our users and their needs. 

12 months in, we’re now preparing for our first official release that will cover many products and applications and successfully connect design, engineering, and product - I’m very excited! 

What tools do you use to build and maintain your design system?

Our approach so far is very pragmatic. We use Figma for all things design. And our code is all custom-built. Our first iterations were built on an existing library, Vuetify, but we quickly outgrew it and decided to take matters into our own hands.

Our design tokens are managed via Tokens Studio (mainly because Figma variables still lack features) but accessed through the Figma REST API in code. That's all :)

OUR TOOLS:

Figma

Tokens Studio

How do you balance the need for consistency with the desire for creative freedom among your designers?

I firmly believe in setting up a strong foundation consisting of the usual things like colors, typography, and, if you follow atomic design, atoms such as Buttons, Inputs, etc. If you have a design token architecture that your consumers can easily understand, you have all the flexibility and creative freedom in the world.

We’re not yet sticking to any strict compliance rules. Our designers have all the freedom in the world to explore any possible solutions. Over time, however, we’ll tighten the regulations around compliance to ensure a cohesive experience across all touchpoints.

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If you have a design token architecture that your consumers can easily understand, you have all the flexibility and creative freedom in the world.

If you have a design token architecture that your consumers can easily understand, you have all the flexibility and creative freedom in the world.

How do you stay true to your vision for the design system, even when faced with external pressures or trends?

Having an open line of communication with our various teams and individuals is essential. However, it’s vital to stay agnostic and not get biased.

One of the biggest mistakes I made initially here at WiseTech was trying to embed myself too deeply in specific areas of the product, which negatively affected the bigger picture as it influenced my decision-making. 

We always try to stay on top of trends, but we must carefully consider and prioritize them based on the business and the design system's needs.

How does your team collaborate on the design system?

We’re a naturally collaborative bunch, genuinely interested in helping people. We have a variety of ways to capture the needs of our business and our teams. 

For designers, we have our weekly rituals (Showcase & Design Critique) that we attend, allowing us to understand what is happening. On top of that, we have a dedicated user group in our Teams channel, which we use to gather feedback, answer questions, and provide updates.

As a design system team, we have dedicated time each week to triage all the requests and slot them into the roadmap.

Are you tracking your design system? If you had to choose one metric to measure the success of your design system, what would it be and why?

Weekly Design Showcases and Critiques

Weekly design Showcases & Critiques

We don’t measure success with any tools, as we’re still maturing our system. The key indicator for us to see if we’re successful with our work is seen in some of our recurring rituals. 

We have weekly design Showcases and Critiques where our designers present their work to the broader team. We have many products, so this is a way to get an overview of what's happening in the various teams. It’s fantastic to see in these sessions how the work that my team is doing is helping to uplift the overall experience.

Additionally, we can also see a reduction in support tickets that are being raised.

If you could go back and change one decision you made in your design system journey, what would it be and why?

After almost two years at WiseTech, I learned how important proper planning is to be successful. Previous design systems I worked on were at a much smaller scale, so a lack of skill in that area wasn’t quite apparent. 

I’m very lucky to have two dedicated Product Managers on my team, and I learn A LOT every week—things such as prioritization of work, change management, road mapping, etc. I wish I had spent time on it earlier in my career to learn more about it.

Do you use any kind of automation or AI tools?

We don’t just yet. Pushing our Figma Variables via the REST API into our code bases is about as much automation as we currently have. :) 


AI is something I would like to explore further. For example, Mike Carbone has recently launched an app called Hermae, which looks very interesting. We haven’t done much in this space, but it’s inevitable to get involved eventually - it’d be silly not to!

Where do you see design systems heading in the next few years?

Technological advances aside, overall, Design Systems are in a solid state right now. We have all the tools and resources to build outstanding design systems at our fingertips. I’m excited about what we can achieve with automation. I’m hoping we can spend less time building UI Kits/Component libraries and focus more on engaging and supporting the users of our system.

What's one thing you wish more people understood about design systems?

I want people to understand how much of an impact a well-oiled design system can have on the business internally and the overall digital experience for their customers. 

Design systems are a mechanism to drive change in an organization and help designers and developers become more effective with their work. More often than not, our systems get reduced to Component Libraries and Documentation. But there's so much more under the hood that some people don’t get to see.

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Design systems are a mechanism to drive change in an organization.

Design systems are a mechanism to drive change in an organization.

In your opinion, what are the most overrated and underrated aspects of design systems?

Overrated: Documentation

I mean, not really, but the type of documentation you currently see in many systems is too much - do we still have to rinse & repeat the description of what a Button is nowadays? Keep your documentation as short as possible, and don’t underestimate the power of bullet points over wordy paragraphs.

Underrated: Strong foundations & token architecture

A lot of issues can be solved by having a solid foundation. By that, I’m talking about having a good setup for your colors, typography, grids, and object styles. Feed these into a robust Design Token architecture, which should make its way into code, and you’re in an excellent position to tackle many of the challenges that might come your way - even if you don’t yet have a component! 

This allows external teams to build their custom components while still being cohesive and not breaking the experience. Those custom components will also be a good starting point for the Design Systems team to work off of.

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A lot of issues can be solved by having a solid foundation.

If you could have a coffee chat with any person from the design (system) space, who would it be and why?

I’ve been very fortunate to talk to some of the most amazing people in our industry, so it’s hard to pinpoint it to one person. I would love to connect with other teams, compare notes, and learn from each other. Particularly complex enterprises that work in data-dense environments. 

Does that sound like your Design System? Please reach out, and let’s connect!

What's one piece of advice that you would like people to remember from this interview?

HAVE FUN. I know design systems are stressful, especially when fighting for buy-in, but try to have fun and celebrate the small wins. Design Systems are a marathon, not a sprint.

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Have fun 🥳

Have fun 🥳

What's your favorite thing to do when you are not in design systems?

I’ve got a very short attention span, so I have a new hobby every month. Currently, it’s Mountain Bikes… next month is still unclear. 😂

But jokes aside, spending time with my partner and our little British Bulldog Mochi (Artist’s impression attached - ChatGPT) is my favorite thing to do after work, and also playing competitive First Person Shooter Games on the computer - fun fact, that’s actually what got me into design over 20 years ago.

Marc Obeiglo

Marc Obeiglo

Marc Obeiglo

Newsletter

Writing on topics such as design systems,

design process, design strategy. ✨

© 2022 - 2024 The Design System Guide by Romina Kavcic

Newsletter

Writing on topics such as design systems,

design process, design strategy. ✨

© 2022 - 2024 The Design System Guide by Romina Kavcic

Newsletter

Writing on topics such as design systems,

design process, design strategy. ✨

© 2022 - 2024 The Design System Guide by Romina Kavcic