Documenting Design Tokens: A Guide to Best Practices with Supernova

Uncover the essential role of design tokens and learn to document them effectively using Supernova.

Maintaining consistency and coherence across products can be challenging. Design tokens, the core elements of a design system, play a crucial role in achieving this uniformity. This blog post guides you through the best practices for documenting design tokens within Supernova, ensuring your design system is robust, scalable, and easy to use.

Importance of documenting design tokens

Documenting design tokens is vital for several reasons:

  1. Consistency: It ensures consistent application of design principles across different platforms and devices.
  2. Communication: It bridges the gap between designers and developers, providing a clear understanding of design specifications.
  3. Scalability: Proper documentation makes it easier to update and scale your design system as your product evolves.
  4. Efficiency: Well-documented tokens speed up the design and development process, reducing the chance of errors and rework.

Importing data into your Supernova design system

The first step in documenting your design tokens is importing them into Supernova. Supernova supports imports from various formats and design tools, allowing you to seamlessly import your existing design tokens. Here’s how to do it: How to Create a Figma Design System With Supernova.

Creating a token group overview

Once your tokens are imported, create a comprehensive overview of all your design tokens. This overview should include:

  • List of Tokens: Display all tokens, categorized by type (e.g., color, font, spacing).
  • Status Information: Indicate the current status of each token (e.g., draft, approved, deprecated) to track its lifecycle.
  • Token Details: Provide key information such as value, usage, and properties directly in the overview for quick reference.

Design token documentation template

To ensure uniformity and clarity in your documentation, use the following template for each specific token page:

Section 1: Overview

  • Name: The official name of the design token.
  • Definition: A concise description of what the token represents and its role in the design system.
  • Status: The current status of the token (e.g., in use, in review, deprecated).

Section 2: Usage Guidelines

  • Overview: General explanation of how the token is used within the design system.
  • Examples: Visual or coded examples of the token in use.
  • Usage: Detailed guidelines on how to use the token, including any Do’s and Don’ts.
  • Behaviors: How the token behaves in different contexts or interactions.
  • Anatomy: The components or elements that make up the token, if applicable.
  • States: Different states of the token, such as default, hover, active, disabled.
  • Variants: Variations of the token, including sizes, colors, or other properties.
  • Accessibility: Considerations for ensuring the token meets accessibility standards, such as WCAG.

Section 3: Code

  • Live Demo: Interactive demos showing the token in action.
  • Properties: Technical properties and attributes of the token.
  • Installation: Step-by-step instructions for implementing the token in projects.

Optional Sections

Depending on the complexity of your design system, you may also include these optional sections:

  • Content: Additional information on the token’s role in content layouts or typography.
  • Versions: Documentation of different versions of the token, useful for systems undergoing frequent updates.
  • Related: Links to other related tokens or components.
  • Feedback: A section for collecting feedback from users or stakeholders on the token’s effectiveness.

For some inspiration on how to effectively document your design tokens, check out some live documentation sites form some of the best teams in the world.

Documenting design tokens in Supernova not only enhances the efficiency of your design and development process but also strengthens the overall integrity of your design system. By following this structured approach, you ensure that every member of your team, from designers to developers, has the necessary tools and information to produce consistent, high-quality products.

Start documenting your design tokens in Supernova today and establish a solid foundation for your design system’s success.

Get started with Supernova today

Unlock the full potential of your design system with Supernova, empowering you to drive innovation, collaboration, and seamless scalability.

10 Most Popular Content Blocks to Document Your Design System Guidelines

Use tables, component checklists, shortcut links, and more to write easy-to-understand guidelines for your design system.

Top Design System Documentation Sites Created With Supernova

Explore top design systems built using Supernova including Skyscanner's Backpack, Okta's Odyssey, and Mozilla's Acorn. Learn how Supernova enhances collaboration, scalability, and integration in design systems.

Four Essential Principles to Scaling Your Design System

Explore key principles for building a scalable design system: automation, clear communication, feedback, and contributions. Enhance efficiency and collaboration for a design system that evolves with your needs.

Get early access to Forge