Consistency builds confidence. The introduction of a design system can ensure consistent delivery for complex organisations, as demonstrated in this example created for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1977 by Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (CGH). It is being re-issued in coffee table book format by New York publishing imprint Standards Manual.
From It’s Nice That’s article on the re-launch:
“…the original came as a result of the EPA’s ‘terribly inefficient’ graphic design and communications department, in which ‘millions of dollars were being wasted annually due to non-standardised formats, inefficient processes, and almost everything being designed from scratch.’ The 1977 manual by CGH tackled this, and now this reissue hopes to celebrate its impact.”
While a design system alone obviously cannot paper over the cracks of an inadequate message, a well-designed and consistent messenger is a vital component in building trust in an overall experience.
Rich Clayton’s working session at MEX/14 explored this in the context of digital interfaces.
At a time when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is facing existential challenges – including a proposed 31% reduction in its budget and the loss of 25% of its workforce – I was heartened to see this celebration of its identity.
Part of MEX Inspirations, an ongoing series exploring tangents and their relationship to better experience design.