Every project begins with a simple design that gradually increases in complexity as new features get added. When creating a product, whether it’s footwear, apparel, or jewelry, variations between products become inevitable. If multiple hands are working on the product, you may experience running into duplicate code, repeated components, design inconsistencies, etc. What ends up happening is that the same components that are used among multiple variations become scattered and data gets dispersed. Having to manage different components in different places becomes a time-consuming roadblock in the creative process. Communication between team members breaks down, consistency is lost, and brand image may be affected.This is a problem that tends to occur time and time again with little opportunity for improvement. Our role is to begin thinking about design and development processes ahead of time to prevent this problem from happening as you scale.
Fortunately, we live in a digital era where new technologies have many of our troubles covered.
Enter component libraries – the easy fix to design systems that inevitably become unwieldy collections of components that are difficult to maintain.
What is a Component Library?
Component libraries, also referred to as design libraries, are cloud-based folders that house reusable components that are used during the production process. The building blocks of fashion products include the components that are commonly found throughout all collections. Think trims, fabrics, threads, buttons, zippers, etc.
To design a product, we must pick the components from the library. It’s like a puzzle – designers have to piece together the components that are already organized neatly for them into folders and combine them together. In addition to combining parts together, component libraries also enable the designer to customize or create new parts. It’s easier to create iterations with only small changes, create new components, and add them to their selected folders. When executed correctly, component libraries can completely improve the design-to-implementation transition for all fashion brands looking to smoothen their design-handoff.
Benefits of a Component Library
Interconnected libraries with dynamically updated data may be the boost your brand needs to optimize production workflows and gain the competitive edge. Here are 5 advantages of component libraries that are worth highlighting:
- Efficient collaboration and communication: Component libraries provide easy accessibility to cross-functional teams working together on a product. As a single repository for housing pre-made, reusable components, it offers quick access to both developers and designers of your company, as well as suppliers who may be added as users on the platform. Multiple users can go into the library and add, edit, and update components with ease – improving collaboration and collaboration between all parties working across teams.
- Speed and faster time to market: When most of the needed components are already ready-made and replicable in their appropriate folders, it minimizes the time spent rebuilding the same components. There is no need to lose time and money creating the same components across different products – instead you can begin product creation right away with no further development. This saves teams any drawn-out and time-consuming decision-making processes that may have previously been hurdles.
- Flexible customization: The basic structure of components would already be created, and by avoiding building from the bottom up, time is saved. Reusing pre-set components, rather than recreating, enables designers to customize their products with greater flexibility. For example, if the summer collection jacket requires a different button, more time can be spent customizing it to your preferences, instead of replacing all of them with a new style.
- Creating robust components with design iterations: Component libraries help ensure that all information is up-to-date – when a component is updated, the change will populate across all instances and affect all previously made designs. Improving does not necessarily mean reinventing the functionality of the component. Rather, users have the ability to iterate on small details to enhance the readability and useability of the overall product.
- Consistency: When components are standardized, it helps products come together coherently and harmoniously, as parts of a greater whole. When multiple people are working on a product without component libraries, inconsistencies are inevitable. Component libraries offer the single source of truth that fashion brands need to ease their supply chain operations and achieve uniformity across a range of different product collections.
Optimize Your Supply Chain Now
If you are still unclear of how component libraries can ease your creative process and leverage your brand, here are some questions that could prompt your thinking:
- Do you find yourself building the same components for each product but with slight variations?
- Do you need a lot of customization?
- Are you looking for a combined design system and component library?
- Do you spend too much time building the same components for different product collections?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, taking advantage of Calico’s component libraries may prove beneficial for your product creation workflow. Bring your collections to life by easily creating materials boards with all your important product information in one centralized location – easily accessible to both your team and suppliers. This will help scale prototyping, simplify handoff, and reduce time to market.
"Say no to inconsistency and yes to scalability."
Choose the right solution with Calico. Sign up for a demo now and take the guesswork out of designing your perfect product.