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Category Direction - Design System

Stage Ecosystem
Maturity Viable
Last reviewed 2022-01-14

This direction is constantly evolving, and everyone can contribute:


The Design System category is responsible for leading the direction of the experience design, visual style, and technical tooling of the GitLab product. This encompasses two broad areas of focus:

  1. Tooling-focused enhancements
  2. User-focused enhancements

Tooling-focused enhancements include:

User-focused enhancements include:

Both of these areas lead to a greater user and contributor experience while increasing operational efficiency. We aim to create functional growth that scales for the long term. Our goal with the Design System category is to treat the underlying foundation of GitLab as a first-class internal product which supports product designers, engineers, and product managers to more efficiently perform their roles.


As the GitLab product expands to include offerings for the entire DevOps lifecycle, it is critical to provide support for building a cohesive product that has the ability to replace disparate DevOps toolchains.

To serve these needs, we will work with the Groups and Categories across GitLab to contribute to our design system, Pajamas, while also continuing to define guidelines and best practices that will inform how these teams are designing and building products. Additionally, this team will act as a centralized resource, helping to triage large scale technical and experience problems as the need arises.

Target audience

Design System category is focused on supporting internal users and product teams, with a focus on four cross-functional counterparts: Product Designers, Technical Writers, Engineers, and Product Managers.

We also aim to improve the community contributor experience by streamlining the process of writing consistent code that conforms to set practices.

What’s in progress, next, and later

In progress



What we've accomplished

What we’re not doing

Building and integrating all components across GitLab. The scope of this group is to provide guidance and governance for our design system and related tooling, and is staffed with dedicated Product Designers to support that. However, creating those components and implementing them throughtout the application is a massive lift that requires participation from every Group and Category. While Foundations has some Frontend Engineering capacity, it can’t be responsible for creating and implementing everything.

Maturity plan

Today, we consider our Foundations to be Viable. Below is how we think we’ll grow that maturity level over time:

Foundations Buddies

Foundations work covers a wide range of issues when it comes to our Design System. Historically we had a Working Group for GitLab UI, but the work on our Design System is an continuious effort.

We invite Frontend Engineers from other Teams and Community Contributors to pick up frontend-related issues if they have an interest in the UX/FE Foundation work. Issues that are ready to be picked up are labeled with the ux-foundations-needs-fe label.

GitLab Team Members are able to self-identify as foundations_buddy Domain Experts if they are interested UX/FE Foundation work. Doing so will help our Product Designers to reach out to folks in order to get Engineering support.

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