I used to laugh quietly to myself when SuperFriendly clients came to us, asking to license our design system product. “We’re a services company,” we’d politely reply. “We don’t have a design system product to license to you.”
Inevitably, the next question would be, “Do you have a product you would recommend to us?”
When we dug further, many of those requests seemed to be specifically around design tokens, a concept pioneered by design systems evangelist Jina Anne during her time at Salesforce, working on the Lightning Design System. Of course, clients wouldn’t be asking for design tokens by name; they’d instead be looking for solutions that helped them “scale their brand,” “create a source of truth,” and other aspirations like that.
As much as we had—and have—great relationships with many friends building tools for the design system space, none of them really seemed to accomplish (or accomplish well) what these clients were asking for. So, like many services companies that see the same unsolved problem over and over again, we figured we might as well be the ones to try and solve it.
I built an embarrasingly simple proof-of-concept. I showed it to my friends Leslie Camacho and Mike Carbone, and we decided to officially start Arcade together in June 2020. For the last 10 months, we’ve been quietly building Arcade and using it on our own products—this site is actually powered by Arcade.
Today, we’ve launched a brand new site and are ready to open up Arcade to a small number of teams to kick the tires and see how well a tool like Arcade serves their needs. The early access fee is $2500, and we’re looking specifically for teams that already understand and use design tokens, are open to our opinions on how to better manage brand decisions, and have a well-rounded, cross-disciplinary team of at least one designer, one engineer, and one product manager.
Does that sound like your team? Is Arcade the kind of solution you’ve been looking for? Head over to usearcade.com and apply for early access!
You can read more about Arcade from other perspectives:
- “Eat Design Tokens for Breakfast,” by Mike Carbone
- “Arcade is looking for teams who want to scale brand decisions with confidence!” by Leslie Camacho
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