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September 14, 2017

How Atomic Design Applies to More Than Just Your Site

Thought by Leigh Anderson, Sr. Marketing Communication Specialist
Image of different components in an atomic design

Over the past few years, atomic design has been one of the most influential trends in digital design. Lately we’ve been focusing on what atomic design is and how it helps marketers in their work. Today, we’d like to talk about the practical applications of an atomic design library.

Quick recap: What’s atomic design? What’s an atomic design library?

Atomic design is a phrase used to describe the practice of building a framework for making design decisions. Atomic design is a philosophy that breaks sites down to their smallest components, standardizes each piece, and then builds back up with increasingly larger, reusable-components.

An atomic design library is the actual system of patterns that are used across a digital platform. It’s the set of designs that have been painstakingly built and tested by a cross-disciplinary team. Simply put, an atomic library provides web teams with a series of components that can be used to construct pages and content.

Going beyond the website

Atomic design may seem like just a trend, but when paired with an open-source software like Drupal, the true value of an atomic library becomes apparent. A properly designed atomic library can be applied to more than just a CMS: if your organization uses integrated portals that need to be themed separately from your website, an atomic design library can oftentimes be applied to the front-end of that portal. Another way of looking at this is: with an atomic library, your team or agency partner only does the design work once, then apply it to every outward-facing system that integrates with your website.

An example of a service that might be themed with an atomic pattern library might include an eCommerce portal, an events registration system, or even a mobile app. And with an integrated data and analytics layer, organizations can use A/B testing tools and engagement measurement systems to understand how certain atomic layouts perform across systems and update them accordingly.

Learn more about atomic design

An atomic design and atomic pattern library can be hugely helpful for any organization that wants to take better ownership of its digital branding across a variety of touchpoints. Atomic libraries are an excellent tool for platforms of all sizes, and help maintain standards, improve brand representation, and guide visual growth. To learn more about atomic design, download our whitepaper, The Marketer’s Guide to Atomic Design, or if you have questions about getting started with an atomic philosophy, contact us.  

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