Design system champions


An internal Atlassian blog post I wrote to seek for design champions (designer, content designer, developer etc) within each product, as well as Cloud and Server to bridge the gap. To get this company excited to be the change they seek, and shape the design system to their product needs.

A snippet from the post:

“Today at Atlassian there are 221 designers, in 9 offices across 6 countries around the world using our design system. We are acutely aware that the Design System team is very Sydney-centric. And as Atlassian grows, the problems we face around inconsistencies with components and patterns, and contributing back, will multiply unless we all work together. Lara M. Tacito, a product designer from Hubspot mentioned so powerfully in her blog that a design system should be “by the people – your system should be owned by all”. We've listened to your feedback and we'd like to create a forum where assumptions can be challenged and see changes come into fruition.

Being spread out geographically and with so many designers using the design system, we would like to facilitate a way for you all to contribute and collaborate with us, the Design System team. With that thought in mind, we want to create a formalized community of design system lovers and users, geared towards being champions that help fuel our design system so it’ll keep being useful at Atlassian.”


In the midst of writing the blog I kept the illustrations at the back of my mind. Truthfully I was struggling to even come up with a hero illustration concept. Mainly due to how personal and passionate I was about the content of this work. I wanted Atlassian’s to feel inspired and get involved with this initiative. But it’s important to separate those elements, how can I communicate the story of the content without getting my emotions involved.

I sat back and thought, read a lot of blogs, and my manager sent me Lara M. Tacito’s piece about Hubspot’s systems. In a nutshell, it’s about the people. This was my ah-ha moment! People making the system. I started to include our grid, iconography, toggles, color palette, modal dialog, code snippets… it was finally piecing together.


Later in the blog I talk about finding champions who can thread the pieces between the system and their product. I imagined a passionate individual holding a thread with those elements curled up. If you’re interested to know what those elements are:

  • Designer / content designer / developer / devsigneer

  • You eat visual design foundations (typography, grid, illustration, iconography) for breakfast

  • Regularly sippin' that can of sweating the details. Especially when you can see the 1px difference when components aren’t aligned properly

  • Eager to give back and educate others

  • You’re always wearing your accessibility hat

  • Passionate about sparking joy when building for scale

  • Love research and use it often to inform your work