The Intersection of Design Systems and Product/Market Fit: Creating Sustainable Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 13, 2023

4 min read


The Intersection of Design Systems and Product/Market Fit: Creating Sustainable Growth


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, organizations face the challenge of delivering value to their users while achieving sustainable growth. Two crucial aspects that contribute to this goal are the implementation of design systems and finding product/market fit. While they may seem unrelated at first glance, there are common points that connect them and can help organizations navigate their journey towards success.

The Importance of Design Systems:

A design system serves as a set of principles, guidelines, and tools that enable consistency and efficiency in design and development processes. It encompasses design philosophies, interface guidelines, visual guidelines, component catalogs, and more. By establishing a design system, organizations can ensure a cohesive user experience, improve collaboration among teams, and expedite the design and development process.

Connecting Design Systems with Product/Market Fit:

When we talk about product/market fit, we refer to the stage where a product satisfies the needs of its target market and experiences sustained growth. This connection may not be immediately apparent, but it lies in the concept of delivering value to users. Design systems play a crucial role in enabling organizations to connect people to the value of their products.

Product/market fit, as defined by Casey, is the satisfaction that allows for sustained growth. Customers are inherently discontent, and their expectations constantly rise. Therefore, achieving product/market fit does not mean that customers stop complaining or become fully satisfied. It is about reaching a point where customers stop leaving, and retention becomes a reliable indicator of satisfaction.

Measuring Product/Market Fit:

Retention is a key metric for measuring product/market fit. However, it is not enough to solely rely on retention rates. To truly gauge product/market fit, organizations should aim for a flattened retention curve of a key action at a designated frequency, coupled with month-over-month growth in new customers. This combination indicates that the product is delivering value and attracting new users, leading to sustainable growth.

Approaches to Finding Product/Market Fit:

There are two main approaches to finding product/market fit: the Eric Ries model and the Keith Rabois model. The Eric Ries model emphasizes continuous customer feedback and iteration. By targeting a specific customer segment and understanding their pain points, organizations can build something valuable. This approach is commonly seen in enterprise businesses.

On the other hand, the Keith Rabois model revolves around a strong vision held by the founders of the company. While customer feedback is considered, it is not as crucial as building what the founders envision. This approach is often seen in hardware and consumer markets, where founders have innovative ideas that need to be introduced to a broader audience.

Combining Vision and Market Feedback:

A powerful combination of these two approaches involves incorporating a strong vision with market feedback. This allows organizations to build a product that aligns with their vision while addressing the needs of their target market. The market feedback provides insights that help refine the vision and ensure that the product resonates with users.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Establish a Design System: Implementing a design system can streamline the design and development process, enhance collaboration, and maintain consistency in the user experience. This foundation sets the stage for delivering value to users.
  • 2. Measure Retention and Growth: Look beyond retention rates and focus on a flattened retention curve of a key action at a designated frequency, along with month-over-month growth in new customers. This comprehensive approach provides a more accurate measure of product/market fit.
  • 3. Combine Vision with Market Feedback: Embrace a strong vision while actively seeking market feedback. Balancing these two aspects ensures that your product resonates with users while staying true to your organization's goals.


Design systems and product/market fit may seem like separate concepts, but they intersect in their goal of delivering value to users and achieving sustainable growth. By implementing a design system, measuring retention and growth, and combining vision with market feedback, organizations can navigate their journey towards success. Establishing a strong connection between the "Why" and "How" is essential for organizations to thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.

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