March 25, 2024
UI/UX Guide

What Is The Difference Between A UI Kit vs Design System?

Design systems and UI Kits are becoming more and more popular in the product design process. But what is the difference between these two design resources?
Cristi Fonea
March 25, 2024
What Is The Difference Between A UI Kit vs Design System?

The UI UX design world is booming – we’re all seeing it! Design systems, UI Kits, they are all becoming more and more popular in the product design process. 

And it makes sense! After all, building a UI design from scratch can be tedious and can take a lot of time – especially if your platform is complex. So, we’re all looking to optimize this process with different design resources. 

But should I use a UI Kit? Should I use a Design System? What is even the difference between them and which one is better for me? 

What is a Design System?

When we think about a design system, we need to see more than a library of elements. A design system is all you need when designing – it has guidelines and style guides and it’s even like a Figma Library that you can use whenever you want. One of the biggest advantages when using a design system is the ability to customize everything you need in order to make it unique.

A design system creates productivity and efficiency by developing elements that can be personalized and used by a UI UX designer or by everyone from a team. It creates accessible libraries that can store assets and be later used or integrated into a design. Design systems give you the ability to create a website or an app from scratch, only needing your personal touch when it comes to customizing your already existing elements. 

Without this documentation, a design system simply a library of elements and code snippets that we can easily add or remove. But a design system doesn’t just stop at just physical components. In fact, what makes a design system is precisely the components AND the guidelines of how to use them – and why. 

Big companies were the first to take advantage of design systems by implementing them in their work procedures. Think about Uber, Airbnb, and many other giants that need more than a web design. They have apps and websites for several countries, and designing each and every one of them and making them similar was harder before implementing design systems. 

Find out more about what is a design system and the best design systems that you can use.

What is a UI Kit?

Well, UI kits are more like a supermarket where you go when you’re looking for individual ingredients for your design. The difference between a UI kit and a design system is that a design system does not only include the ingredients but also provides you with the entire cookbook – the design guidelines. A UI kit is basically a component library that can contain every element you need in order to create a design. 

UI kits are composed of a large compilation of reusable elements, templates, styles, and other resources you might require in the design process. These design resources have become even more popular, with more and more UI UX designers starting to use Figma when creating product designs.

So, if you are looking to map all the elements you need when creating an app or a website, you can use a UI kit that will save you time and lead to higher productivity levels. In a UI kit, you will encounter buttons to design elements like images, graphics, and templates. The best part about UI kits is that they are responsive and organized, so you’ll be able to find everything you need quickly. This brings us to your advantages when using a UI kit.

Find out more about what is a UI Kit and the best UI Kits in 2024.

The Difference Between a UI Kit vs Design System?

When thinking about the difference between a Design system and a UI kit, you can imagine this. Let’s say you want to make a pie. Well, in order for you to make a pie, you need to follow a specific recipe or maybe a set of rules. Otherwise, you will just end up with a pie that has no taste. After seeing the steps, you need to go to the store where you will find all the indigents you need or the elements for your design. 

Well, a design system takes care of you through the whole process, as it has all the guidelines you need when creating a new design. On the other hand, a UI kit is the store where you find the ingredients or elements required to create your design. 

A design system creates productivity and efficiency by developing elements that can be personalized and used by a UI UX designer or by everyone from a team. It creates accessible libraries that can store assets and be later used or integrated into a design. Design systems allow you to create a website or an app from scratch, only needing your personal touch when it comes to customizing your existing elements. 

1. UI Kit Scalability vs Design System Scalability

When we are talking about the differences between a design system and a UI kit, we can classify them based on their scalability. And if you are building a site or an app that needs to be adaptable, flexible, and can have an easy-to-maintain infrastructure, you will need to use a Design System. A design system is suitable for large-scale projects and can be used throughout the whole design process. Usually, a design system is used when starting out a new project that can sustain big changes, as it includes the same principles and terminology that can be understood and used by every UI UX designer. 

2. UI Kit Collaborative work vs Design System Collaborative work

Another difference between the two is that a design system gives you the ability to work together and collaborate with your team. With a design system, everyone has access to the design system and can make the necessary changes throughout the design. So, it’s easier than ever to manage the design with your team and receive the latest updates in real time. 

3. UI Kit Initial investment vs Design System Initial investment

If your resources are limited, you might need to go for a UI kit. Time and commitment come all together with a design system, and if you might be lacking both and the deadline is approaching, you just need to opt for a UI kit. 

4. Simple design

When the design you are starting out is not that complex, you might need a UI kit. When it comes to design, a design system is usually aimed to be used in more complicated projects. But if you are designing websites or apps with minimal complexity and low design maturity, a UI kit will be just what you need. 

5. Complex design 

If you land a big project and the design you need to deliver is highly complex, you will need a design system that will be on your side the whole time. A design system provides every element you will need and can help you deliver changes faster than ever. A design system will ensure that every element you need is a click away.

6. UI Kit Consistency vs Design System Consistency

A design system or a UI kit will do wonders when it comes to keeping your design consistent. For a design to be good, it needs to be consistent. Consistency is the key that helps you deliver accessibility and a comfortable environment for your users.  So, if you are in a situation where you don’t really like what color you have chosen for a certain button and you need to make that change more than once on your design, mistakes can happen. But, with a design system or a UI kit, you can be sure your changes will be applied all over the design. 

7. UI Kit Flexibility vs Design System Flexibility

Flexibility gives you the ability to make changes and deliver the necessary changes to a complex design, which a design system can provide. So, if you are trying to have all specific requirements, a UI kit might just not be enough as it can only deliver premade components that have the ability to be customed. 

Designing can be a more complicated job than you would expect it.

It takes time, dedication, and a lot of creativity. And if you are just starting out, a design system might be a little more complicated than a UI kit. So, if you are just starting out your design career, a UI kit will be your savior, and as you are switching to more complex designs, a design system will do you wonders.

uinkits – Our Figma Design System and UI Kits

We at uinkits understand the importance of inputs in great user experiences and creating amazing UI designs. That’s why we’ve developed a Figma UI Kit with design components that include these essential UI elements that enable you to design intuitive and user-friendly interfaces effortlessly.  

“You press the button, we do the rest,” – Kodak.

Inspired by this iconic tagline from Kodak, we believe in simplifying the design process for you. Our Figma UI Kit, uinkits, is a complete design system with UI components that allows you, as a UI UX designer, to create your products as quickly as pressing a button. 

Our design system includes UI components, icons, variables, cards, buttons and everything you need for your design process. All you have to do is take your UI design component needed, and you’re ready to use it in your designs!

Cristi Fonea
March 25, 2024

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