I was a UX/UI Design Intern at TD Canada Trust's innovation lab, a team focused on equipping students for post-secondary financial challenges.

I designed, implemented, and tested a multi-platform, accessible Figma design system that increased prototyping efficiency by 16%.


Product design
Design system

None, independent

Oct - Dec 2020
(3 months)


At TD's innovation lab, I was tasked with rapidly prototyping experiences that could impact millions of TD's student customers.

Within my first week, I realized that there was no source for styles, UI elements, or design patterns. This led to inefficiencies in our design workflows, poor accessibility, and confusion inconsistencies during user testing.

Thus, I embarked on a self-driven project to create the foundation for TD Lab's design system.

The Problem

We have observed that the TD Lab design library is not meeting user needs, which is causing inefficient design workflows and poor accessibility in prototypes.

How might we build a design library that promotes inclusion and innovation by improving accessibility documentation and reducing time spent on creating and updating interface elements?

Crafting the Foundation


My first order of business was to understand how the lab currently designed. After a few conversations, it was evident that while the lab did have an minimal Sketch pattern library, its unfinished nature resulted in a lot of time being spent on creating user interface elements from scratch.


My next task was to inventory the common UI elements used in the lab's previous projects. I collected Sketch project files, analyzed the current pattern library, read over the minimal Atlassian documentation we had, and took screenshots of previous projects.


Once I felt I had captured every button, icon, and design pattern I grouped them into categories. Viewing them side-by-side revealed exactly why we needed a system. Without any documentation, many of our prototypes lacked in accessibility, with elements being used incorrectly and colours not satisfying contrast ratios.


To ensure that the design library was future-proof, I started this project with some heavy research into design library and UI design best practices. I studied Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and Google's Material Design Guidelines, analyzed design systems from Atlassian, Uber, Github, and Figma, and read through countless Medium articles.

The Structure

Inspired by Dropbox's design system, I decided to structure the design library in a two-tiered hierarchy:

By creating separate UI Kits that inherit from Global Styles, we get the best of both worlds - the consistency of having shared styles with the flexibility of being able to toggle on specific UI kits based on the project scope.

Testing the System

While building the design system, I communicated progress, gathering feedback via Slack and meetings for iterative enhancement. I also tested myself it other lab projects, gauging visual harmony, navigation, and usability.

A student budgeting app that I used the design system to design.

The Final System

Global Styles

A shared language across all platforms


Craft vibrant designs with our WCAG 2.1 compliant colour palette, categorized for seamless styling.


Leverage Material Design icons, with each icon incorporating a union layer to maintain fill color during icon swaps.


Elevate your design with dual lighting: sharp shadows from key lights and diffused shadows from ambient lights.


Optimize layouts with responsive 12-column grids for mobile, tablet, and desktop, all anchored in an 8px grid.


Enhance designs across desktop and mobile with typography harmonized with a 4px vertical rhythm.

iOS Kit

Prototype apps quicker


Prompt image uploads with placeholders that encourage personalization, featuring an inclusive light blue skintone.

Text inputs

Elevate user autonomy with required and optional labels, external placeholder text, and styled error messaging.


Simplify actions with intuitive buttons, each designed for varying action importance and optimal accessibility.

Default components

Integrate iOS kit elements, complemented by Human Interface Guidelines' best practice documentation and illustrative examples.

The Launch

Upon launch, designers seamlessly embraced the system due to its public development. Within a month, notable improvements in collaboration emerged, with designers proactively suggesting enhancements and developers aligning coding efforts. The system's impact extended beyond process, shaping a transformative cultural shift.

Prototyping effiency increased by 16%

WCAG colour contrast compliance rose to 98%

System adoption in new projects rose to 91%

"It was great having Jayden and his enthusiasm around. He has a lot of passion in the work that he does and it shows in the quality of his work and his involvement in projects outside of his assigned work."

Amanda Cheung, senior UX designer and mentor



Invest in best practices

Prioritizing quality during the creation of the design system's core components proved invaluable. Developing a well-structured hierarchy and a wide variety of flexible design elements simplified the process of choosing components to suit different design requirements.


Use your own product

When creating a design system, it can be easy to lose usability in the name of "optimizing the library." Using my own components within my own design workflows helped me identify and fix unintuitive or difficult features.


I love designing interfaces

At the start of my internship, I had uncertain feelings about user interface design. Building this design system from scratch truly deepened my appreciation for the craft. Whether it was establishing consistent grids, optimizing for accessibility, or mastering Figma shortcuts, I found my passion for UI design!

Next project

Jayden Hsiao - Designer & Developer