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Developing a design system within the block editor

Date: Friday, July 14, 2023
Time: 4:00 - 4:45 pm (CDT) (UTC-05:00)
Location: Room 2

Who is this session for?

Anyone working in WordPress and developing a design system, wanting to start a design system or maintaining a design system. Web managers who are looking to develop a design system with WordPress for their teams may also benefit from this talk.

Session description

Building a design system can be a daunting project. Trying to build one on a platform that is in its infancy with evolving technologies can be downright crazy. But the WordPress editor has grown to include many of the tools to help build out a robust design system. Finding the right approach to these tools is key.

Over the last three years, the University of Michigan College of Engineering has built a design system and crafted the theme Forty-Two to be used across their college’s websites. Nick Novak led the Front-End development of the theme and has come across many hurdles working with the new block editor.


In this presentation you will learn:

  • How to build your design system around the tools and functionality of the block editor.
  • Strategies for implementing style guides into your theme that utilize the block and site editor.
  • Techniques that help your editors enjoy working with blocks, prevent them from violating accessibility practices, and keep them within brand guidelines.


Nick Novak

Headshot of Nick Novak

Nick Novak has been working with the web since High School. Writing HTML for friend's Myspace pages in exchange for vending machine snacks. He has worked with WordPress since 2010 and has over 8 years of higher education experience. Currently, he is the Web Product Lead for the University of Michigan College of Engineering's Communications & Marketing.

He lives just outside of Ann Arbor Michigan with his wife, daughter, and rescue terrier. When you can't find him working in code, he's typically getting his hands dusty in his woodworking shop.


  • Session: Developing a design system within the block editor

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