Design Principles That Stick

Crafting Design Principles That Your Team Will Actually Use Design Principles are a great tool to align your team towards a shared vision, incorporate your company values in your product, and especially to evaluate and critique designs. That is, if you can remember to use them. In this post I will share tactics for how to make […]

Crafting Design Principles That Your Team Will Actually Use

Design Principles are a great tool to align your team towards a shared vision, incorporate your company values in your product, and especially to evaluate and critique designs. That is, if you can remember to use them.

In this post I will share tactics for how to make your design principles sticky using the Good Eggs design principles to illustrate.

5 Steps To Stickiness

1. Make them authentic

Great design principles reflect your organization’s values. Since we can’t tell our users how to feel, we have to decide how to design the experience to evoke those emotions. Using our customer journey as a framework, we asked our teammates to write on post-its how they wanted our users to feel at every step. This uncovered a complete picture of our collective vision for our users’ experience.

Feelings uncovered at each step of the customer journey.

2. Make them distinct

Each principle has to stand on its own. At the same time, together they should feel greater than the sum of their parts. If two feel too similar, it will be hard to tell them apart. For example, in our case Joyful is an emotional principle, whereas Upfront is rational.

3. Make them memorable

The name and the mantra both have to pass a roll-off-the-tongue test. They’re no good if people struggle to remember them or feel silly saying them out loud. In our case, the name (e.g. Joyful) is the desired result, and the mantra (e.g. Craft rare moments of delight) is how to get there.

4. Make them unavoidable

How many design frameworks are forgotten soon after their big unveiling? Getting teammates comfortable with new concepts means making them as accessible as possible. To keep our principles top of mind, we printed posters that live next to every whiteboard. (We did the same thing for our customer journey and personas.) Sharing our principles on Medium is another way of committing to them.

5. Make them part of the process

Motivate, defend and critique design decisions using the principles. Refer to them while designing, during design feedback sessions and presentations. Encourage non-designers to use them as well because a shared language speeds up the process.

Making them sticky keeps you on track

The seed of our design principles was planted while developing the first version of the Good Eggs iOS app. As we evaluated possible early design directions, you could sometimes hear someone say:

“Don’t be clever!”

This became an unofficial mantra throughout the project. Through user interviews, we’d learned that most people still thought shopping for groceries online was novel. Reminding ourselves to strive for familiarity rather than cleverness helped us to create solutions that put users at ease.

The more we used it, the more we realized how powerful this mantra was. It was an easy concept to grasp and easy to remember while designing. We decided to expand it into a set of design principles. We also wanted to bring this beyond the design team to align the whole Good Eggs team around our vision. Because at the end of the day, we’re one team with one mission — wherever decisions are made, they ultimately impact the user experience.

Let us know what you think, and if you’re in the process of developing your own design principles, tell us about it in the comments.

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Good Eggs connects people who love food, directly with people who make it. We deliver the most incredible food, straight to Bay Area homes. If you are inspired by our mission to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide, find out how you can help.


Design Principles That Stick was originally published in Good Eggs Product Team on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Source: Good Eggs