Tokens in design systems - on source to rule them all

Tatiana Kolesnikova

Short talk - in English

Design tokens - the smallest building blocks of a design system. The community has been talking about them for a while, now it is time to dive deep and see their real meaning and value.


Tokens systemise the visual style, document it and distribute to all platforms. Add new product, change tech stack - the system will be ready for all newcomers. They work as a communication tool between design and development sides. No design decisions are lost in translation. They make the products easy to maintain and future-friendly. Rebranding, acquisitions - no manual changes will be necessary. Tokens become the foundation of the whole design system providing immediate value and enabling further growth.


We will look at how to approach creating tokens and what should be the responsibilities of different team members in this process. We will discuss what changes need to be made in design to enable creating elegant and flexible tokens architecture. We will look at how to distribute them, what tools to use. We will see how to introduce tokens in code and discuss alternatives based on product needs.


You will learn:

  • How different disciplines need to collaborate in creating and using design tokens;
  • How to introduce tokens in new and existing projects;
  • How to use tokens for scaling and maintaining consistent appearance and behaviour of multiple products;
  • How to set up dynamic styling of white label solutions.