As our lives become more digital, so do our expectations for the public services provided by governments. From paying taxes to obtain a document, we want these services to be of high quality, easily accessible, standardized, and fast. Recognizing this, several countries have adopted design systems as a means of elevating their public services.
A design system provides a comprehensive set of practical tools to enhance and standardize government services, making them more user-friendly and accessible. It also helps create visual consistency and unifies the national brand across various platforms.
In this blog post, we’ll explore five inspiring examples of how design systems are being utilized by governments around the world to improve their public services. Keep scrolling down to find out more!
First of all, let’s fly to Estonia, a Northern European country renowned for its design system called “Brand Estonia.” This design system represents the country’s national identity and provides a consistent, recognizable look and feel for Estonian brands both online and offline.
Estonia boasts a unique combination of pristine natural beauty and cutting-edge digital advancements, making it a hub for innovative minds. The design system of Brand Estonia reflects the harmonious balance, using a clean and simple visual language inspired by the country’s lush landscapes.
The design system includes design principles, guidelines, and a wealth of design assets, including icons and illustrations, available for download. This makes it easy for institutions across Estonia to create cohesive and impactful experiences that showcase their products and services.
This design system has been successfully integrated into various websites, such as Work in Estonia, Study in Estonia, and Trade with Estonia, bringing the brand’s vision to life.
Italy’s “Designers Italia” is a cutting-edge design system that streamlines the creation of digital public services. Focused on meeting the needs of citizens, this system covers the entire service design process, from research and prototyping to development and user interface design.
One of the key strengths of this design system is its open-source nature. Users can build upon and improve the available models, kits, and guides, making the system expandable and constantly evolving. Each new public administration service can contribute to the design system, ensuring it stays up-to-date and relevant.
With 14 available kits, including user interviews, web analytics, personas, UI kit, content kits, and more, Designer Italia provides a comprehensive set of tools for rethinking, improving, and creating effective digital services for citizens. This also helps to eliminate the need for each institution to “reinvent the wheel”, and save time and resources.
Next, there is Poncho which is the official design library of the Government of the Argentine Republic. It provides a comprehensive collection of UI kits, such as icons, typography, and components for designing government websites and mobile applications.
Built on the popular Bootstrap framework, Poncho offers an easily recognizable and consistent look for government sites. Additionally, the system has been designed with accessibility in mind, with components that have been improved for use by individuals with disabilities.
With Poncho, developers can save time by utilizing the pre-made components and templates without having to start from scratch. This allows for a more efficient and streamlined design process.
Moving on to a country in Southeast Asia, the Singapore government has also developed The Singapore Government Design System (SGDS) to streamline the creation of fast, accessible, and mobile-friendly digital services. SGDS provides a collection of open-source, front-end components, templates, and patterns, which are in line with the Digital Service Standards. This helps teams to quickly build websites while also meeting specific needs.
One of the key features is its use of templates, which enables teams to jumpstart their website development. SGDS also provides a theme customiser that allows teams to customize components and colors to suit their needs. This ensures that while each digital service may have its own unique look and feel, it still aligns with the overall design language of the government.
Examples of the implementation of SGDS can be seen in the launch of websites like SingapoRediscover Vouchers and the Singapore Government Developer Portal. These teams were able to save valuable time by using SGDS’ ready-made components and framework, rather than starting from scratch.
GOV.UK encourages contributions from its community, and this collaboration is vital to the design system’s success. Cross-government discussions, events, and co-design sessions are held regularly to gather feedback, gather new research, and incorporate the latest design and development trends. The ultimate goal is to keep the design system up-to-date and relevant for its users.
From these examples, we can see how governments around the world are turning to design systems to improve their public services and meet the growing demands of a digital world. These systems provide practical tools, design assets, and a consistent visual language to enhance the quality, accessibility, and speed of public services.
So, what do you think? Do you think it’s necessary for governments to have a design system? Whether you’re a government official, a designer, or a citizen, it’s worth exploring these inspiring examples of how design systems can play a role in improving the public service provided by governments.