Today, most design systems work like dictionaries, composed of a finite set of definitions. But there’s a new page turning, one that ushers in the age of functions. Design systems are evolving to survive in a world where applications and experiences exist on vastly different screen sizes, for different accessibility needs, language modes, hardware specifications, and spatial dimensions. For these complex interfaces, dictionaries just can’t cut it.

Design systems are starting to use functions that recreate the design decision making process, responding appropriately to any input they are given. The early uses of functions do a great job of extending the reach of design systems. But the potential is vast.

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