UI Kit for designers: what is it and how to work with it

What is UI Kit
User Interface Kit (UI Kit) is a set of ready-made components with which you can create a graphical mobile or web interface. A convenient and visually pleasing main page of the project is the calling card of any brand. When a client visits a website or application, he usually understands from the first seconds what to expect from cooperation.

The UI Kit contains information about the possible states of each interface element: indents, colors, typography, effects. There is no need to invent anything: the designer just has to select the desired shape, size, color and font of the component, copy it and paste it into his layout. If you wish, you can change ready-made elements based on the needs of the project - this will only take a few minutes.
UI Kit is a living design system that needs to be kept up to date: add new components, settings and colors. It is usually created as a file in Figma or another graphics editor, accessible to all members of the development team.

UI kits for different platforms - MacOS and Windows, iOS and Android - have significant differences, as they take into account the limitations and features of different types of interfaces. For example, navigation through sections in iOS occurs using the tab bar element, and in Android - using the navigation bar.
What problems does UI Kit solve in design?
For a designer, UI Kit is an indispensable assistant that allows you to:

● Improve and maintain consistency and quality of user experience. UI Kit helps create a unified visual representation and clear logic for the operation of components. The site or application looks like a cohesive whole: even new forms or pages feel familiar to the user due to the use of the same shapes, patterns and colors.

● Save resources. With UI Kit, design speed increases and the final development cost decreases.

● Reduce the likelihood of errors and make communication within the team more effective. For example, if there is a disagreement due to different perceptions of color shades, you can simply check the encoding with the UI Kit: all decisions within are agreed upon and recorded.

● Make it easier to scale the product. Assembling a new interface from ready-made components is much faster than creating a page from scratch.

Pros and cons of UI Kit:

✅ Pros

● High speed of design development, eliminating routine tasks, reducing the cost of development.
● Consistency of design and user experience.
● Availability of information to the entire team.
● Many UI Kit options are publicly available, they can be used as a base for projects.
❌ Cons

● Resources are required to create and maintain the UI Kit up to date.
● Free component kits can become boring to users due to their popularity.
● It is necessary to modify the UI Kit for a specific project and draw missing elements.
● UI Kit may not cover all states and corner-cases (extreme cases, for example, if there are very long names in the drop-down list).
What elements are included in the UI Kit
The content of the UI Kit depends on the specifics of the project - the designer can adapt and change it. Typically, every UI Kit includes the following basic components:

● Typography. Description and size of fonts, text styles, options for using leading and letter spacing.
● Colors. Description of the main, semantic and corporate colors, their tasks and rules of use.
In the UI Kit, colors are encoded to make them easy to copy. Rules and recommendations for the use of colors are also prescribed. Sources: Cardbox UI, Figma Community

● Modular grid and indentation system - for the correct arrangement of elements on the page.

● Basic controls - buttons, bullets, links, checkboxes, input fields, toggles, indents, shadows. In order to obtain an optimal result, it is necessary to describe all states of the elements. For example, a button can have the following states: default, on hover, when pressed, in the process of performing an action, inactive.
● Basic navigation elements - menus of different types, scroll, endless scroll, tabs, paging.

● Pop-up elements - tooltips, toasts, modal windows, tooltips.

● Progress indicators - spinner, progress bar, loader.
● Icons required for a specific project: a mobile banking application and a sports tracker application will have different sets of icons in the UI Kit.
● Effects, such as shadows in Android, that create a hierarchy of depth.

● Additional elements. For example, screen templates, blocks and individual pages, logos, widgets, animations, photographs and illustrations.

How to create a UI Kit
To get a set of components for a specific project, you need to either adapt a ready-made UI Kit or make a new one. Let's look at both options.
Editing a finished UI Kit
Sets of design components are available in the Figma Community, on the websites of large companies, on specialized websites, Behance, Dribbble, Creative Market and other similar sites. UI kits presented in the public domain can be either free or paid. The cost depends on the method of use, for example:

● $39 – personal license for UI Kit for Figma;
● $59 – commercial license for UI Kit for Figma;
● $119 – PRO version for individual designers on Untitled UI;
● $349 – PRO version for a team of up to 5 people on Untitled UI.

Creating a new UI Kit
You can create your own UI Kit in four steps:

1. Draw interface prototypes and approve them with the team.

2. Create text and color styles, focusing on the brand’s corporate identity and customer wishes.
3. Create components in a graphics editor, such as Figma or Sketch. The list of required elements can be recorded in advance in Miro, FigmaJam, Notion, Confluence or Google Docs. The composition of the UI Kit depends on the goals of the product, corporate identity and planned user scenarios. When creating components for a UI Kit, it is important to:

● work according to the principles of atomic design;
● define a modular grid and work according to it;
● give meaningful names to all elements.
Made on