Stash Design System

Design systems lead, Stash

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I maintained the growth and integrity of Stash Design System (SDS), a robust project that impacts a suite of products and over 2 million subscribers. 
Unfortunately, I was part of the 25% of employees laid off in March 2024, ending this work. However, this experience changed the way I view design systems and their management. I hope to continue my work elsewhere!

Stash is a micro-investment and technology services app available on Android, iOS, and web. 

I joined Stash in November 2023 and became the design systems lead soon after. My role was to maintain the growth and integrity of Stash Design Systems (SDS) alongside a lean team of Android, iOS, and web developers.

SDS is the product of a 2 year effort led by the previous design systems lead to increase velocity between designers and engineers.

SDS is made up of 6 libraries, making it one of the most robust design systems I and many other designers at Stash have worked with.

SDS intentionally created constraints within components to ensure the system’s integrity within designers’ and engineers’ workflows. Most of these constraints can be found at the component level (below).

For example, this is a component called radioItem. On the right, I am able to toggle between different properties or constraints that radioItem has, such as whether or not it is a text or badge variant, its padding size, whether it has a header, and more. 

These properties allow designers a healthy level of guidance when creating interfaces, and allow engineers to see how these properties change the way a component behaves.

To maintain simplicity, we also made use of instance swapping, which allows designers to replace one instance of a component with another, seen below:

A look at how a radioItem can be instance swapped within a buttonChoice component to produce the results seen in the wireframe. This solution isn’t obvious to designers, who had to rely on their personal Figma knowledge rather than a how-to doc. 

A small team— including one Android, iOS, web, QA engineer, and myself— was tasked with managing all areas of SDS.

This included maintaining SDS’s growth, conducting regular office hours with designers and engineers, evangelizing the system, and being the point of contact regarding our contribution model. 

A look at the type of buttons and the layers that they are composed of. Each layer follows a strict order and naming convention, which I had to keep in mind when making or editing a component.
Each component had a string for each of its main properties, which together would update docs where the component is mentioned. This file needed to be updated whenever a component was added or changed.
A look at our contribution checklist, which guides designers as to how they can propose a new component or pattern to SDS. 

As a designer who values the work and impact of design systems and has developed design systems throughout their career, this was a dream position.

Unfortunately, however, I was part of the 25% of Stash employees laid off in March 2024. At the time, I was beginning to iterate on our contribution model to address SDS’s growing pains, which added friction to designers’ workflows. 

My time at Stash was short but inspiring. I look forward to continuing this work elsewhere!

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