The first ATL Design Systems Meetup

Building design systems is hard. What makes it even harder is that a lot of these teams are very small, sometimes even comprising a single person. This can sometimes leave design systems practitioners feeling isolated and overwhelmed. The power of community can help to remove this feeling of isolation, making you feel connected to something bigger than yourself and providing invaluable perspective on the challenges you’re facing.

People sitting in stadium seating talking to one another

When I moved from New York back to my hometown of Atlanta I was eager to find a community of folks working on design systems. Nothing existed quite yet, so I created the ATL Design Systems Meetup. I knew I needed a partner, and through friends I was quickly introduced to Joanna Bennett, a talented UX engineer at Mailchimp. When we kicked this meetup off we had modest expectations, but we’ve been blown away by the level of interest and participation.

We held our first event last night which was generously sponsored and hosted by Mailchimp. Over 50 people came out to spend time getting to know one another and talk about design systems. Some of the most popular topics from the evening were:

  • How to get started building design systems
  • How to get started with accessibility
  • Maintaining and evolving your design system

Ola and Courtney standing together smiling.

A few of my main takeaways were:

  • Building design systems is still hard 😉
  • We face a lot of the same challenges and struggles
  • The design systems community in Atlanta is kind, humble, and eager to help each other

ATL Design Systems will hold events every month. Always mindful of inclusivity we’ll be holding our events in different locations around the city with easy access to MARTA. When we have speakers we’ll be sharing a live broadcast for folks to participate remotely, and we’ll also have remote speakers join us from around the world. Hope to see you at the next event!


Design and inclusion are inseparable partners.
Design From Anywhere at Automattic.

By Courtney Burton Doker

Design systems practitioner, design director, product designer, collage artist, and amateur zine publisher. Inspired by the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.


So proud of you Courtney! Exploring a new frontier! You GO GIRL!!!

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