Shaping the future of bol: “Our Design System helps speed up innovation.” | Blog |

Building with Lego bricks

What exactly is a Design System and what do we need it for? Rens breaks it down: “To friends and family I often describe it as building the ‘Lego bricks’ that form the backbone of a product; think of input fields or buttons for example. We then use design tokens to specify the colour or style of each block or button. While bol used to adjust these design elements throughout the organization, now we centralize them. Besides saving a tremendous amount of time, this way of working ensures consistency and enables the organisation to innovate faster.”

Recently, bol implemented its new visual identity, presenting the perfect moment for the Design System to shine. Rens shares enthusiastically, “Changes at the smallest level – like transitioning from ‘bol blue’ to a slightly darker blue – were implemented into our Design System and instantly transferred throughout the whole organization, making it available to over fifty teams. Moments like these really highlight the added value of what we’re doing here.”

Proud of our work

While Rens primarily focuses on design, Redmar applies his skills in a completely different field. “As Team Lead, I set the direction we’re heading towards, and decide which steps we should take to get there. While this role might typically be filled by someone with a design background, bol recognized that my experience in data-driven work actually adds more value to the project. It’s essential to demonstrate that what we’re doing, also gets us the results that we want.”

To make the necessary changes and add features based on what’s needed, both Rens and Redmar work closely with designers and software engineers within the organization. Rens: “I’m particularly proud of our recently updated table component. The code had gotten too complicated, making it hard for teams to maintain and use. After assessing the needs within the company, we combined different parts and completely rebuilt the table. I can confidently say it was our most ambitious project to date, but also our most successful one; across all interfaces using the Design System, this updated component is now most widely used.”

Redmar adds, “Completing such a big project together is really satisfying. That’s why we made sure to celebrate it properly with a release party and cake. Wins should be celebrated, and luckily, there’s plenty of opportunity for that at bol.”

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