24 min read
Why We Love Using Notion Project Management For Design Systems
Learn why the TDP team loves creating design systems using the Notion project management platform—as well as three Notion tips for those new to design systems—or Notion in general.
Mikenzi Ross • May 24, 2022
You’ve likely heard of Notion if you’re a productivity fan like us. Since its release, the Notion project management platform has taken the workflow world by storm. But one unexpectedly exciting way to use Notion is to create a Design System (and keep track of your Product Management Frameworks, too.)
Today we explain why we adore creating design systems using the Notion project management platform. And as a bonus, we’ll share three Notion tips for those new to design systems—or Notion in general.
What Is Notion project management software?
Notion is a task management and productivity platform that allows individuals and teams to track tasks, deadlines, big picture goals, etc.
Notion relies on a page method reminiscent of OneNote, allowing users to create and organize pages within the left-hand navigation column. The critical purpose of Notion is flexibility and adaptability (now you know why we love it so much.) It’s all about allowing each user (or team) to create a workspace that complements their communication and task management style.
There’s no shortage of what you can customize in Notion project management software, but this flexibility can intimidate new users. Notion combats this by providing thousands of free templates—but there are also tons of YouTube videos with inspiration on how to set up your first workspace.
What are Design Systems?
Design Systems are integral because they act as the end-all-be-all resource for every coding and visual element of a product.
Well-executed Design Systems contain everything from button styles to font and color pallets. As a result, design systems ensure visual consistency and optimize development by providing UX designers with a library of coding and references.
We delve into the gritty details of Design Systems in this article, so check it out for more insight. Trust us, that is one article you don’t want to overlook—especially if your product is in the early stages of development.
Why build Design Systems with Notion Project Management?
There are three reasons why we think Notion is an ideal format to construct a Design System—especially if your team is new.
Number 1: Notion is free and highly customizable
Despite Notion’s extensive features, it offers free and highly reasonable plans. The free version allows users to share a workspace with up to 5 members—and the “Team” plan provides unlimited users, sharing, and collaborative workspaces for just $8 a month. It’s a fantastic option for startups.
Number 2: Notion makes organizing Design Systems easy
One of Notion’s strongest advantages is its organization UX. While it has a slight learning curve for new users, organizing and building a design system becomes almost meditative once you find your rhythm.
Since everything is organized by subfolders and pages (all neatly contained in a left-hand navigation menu), it’s easy to reorganize, locate, add, remove, and alter the design system as your company scales.
Number 3: Notion is highly accessible to your entire organization
Being that it’s free and browser-based, Notion is easily accessible for every team member. Once someone creates an account, invite them to your workspace, and that’s it. They can access the design system from any location or device, making it an excellent option for in-house and remote teams.
Notion Tips For Beginners (Design Systems)
Now we’ll provide some Notion tips for beginners. These tips apply to both Notion workflows and design system development. Both require some preliminary research, understanding of what you want to achieve, and crystal clear communication.
Tip 1: Check out some inspiration
Once you get the hang of Notion project management, you’ll feel like you’ve unlocked a cheat code for productivity. But as we mentioned earlier, it can be daunting to understand for new users, especially those new to digital project management altogether.
That’s why we recommend checking out some tutorials on YouTube to help you get over that initial hurdle. To save you some legwork, here are a few of our favorites:
- Notion Training: The Basics
- Rowena Tsai’s Notion Workspace Tutorial
- Compass of Design’s “How I use Notion for Design System documentation”
Tip 2: Build Your Team
It’s essential to define the team who can access and edit the design systems you’ll be building. Notion makes it easy to create sub-sections where each department can access its necessary/specific resources.
Tip 3: Take advantage of Notion Features
You may be saying ‘duh!’, but it's easy to get in a rhythm and overlook the cool workflow features that Notion project management provides (like page linking and multi-row editing.)
So, invest time to learn some of the little quality-of-life functions Notion offers. It’ll make your resulting Design System stronger and more effective.
Design Systems and Notion are a match made in UX heaven
Hopefully, by this point, we don’t need to convince you any further about just how efficient Notion project management is when creating Design Systems.
(Again, if you’re not entirely convinced about the value of a Design System, read this article—like now… your product and design team will thank you later.)
If you’d like to jumpstart your Design System without having to spend time developing a template from scratch, here are a few from Notion to get you started! As you get to know your Notion workspace, you’ll customize or create more personalized templates—but using these premade templates is a great way to overcome “blank page syndrome” and focus on the Design System itself.
You'll find these templates in the Notion Template library, so they’ll be easy to install—and you know how we feel about making things easy!
Psst, c’mere—wait, don’t run away yet!