Develop a component or pattern

Anyone can choose to work on items marked ‘to do’ in the community backlog.

If you see something you would like to work on, email the Design System team at

If you have an idea for a new component or pattern that’s not already on the backlog, propose it.

Plan your work with the Design System team

After you’ve emailed them, a member of the Design System team will get in touch to arrange a kick-off meeting.

During the meeting, the team will help you to:

  • agree the scope of your contribution
  • plan what design, content, code and guidance needs working on
  • agree timings
  • discuss any support you might need
  • identify a contact for you to work with in the Design System team

If you’re happy to go ahead, the team will assign you to the issue as a contributor.

Research and develop your contribution

While you’re working on your contribution, the Design System team will arrange a weekly catch up to find out how you’re getting on and if you need any help.

Find examples of the component or pattern already in use. The best way to do this is to ask the government design community on the digital service designers mailing list or the #design channel on cross-government Slack.

Examples and research from government services are usually most relevant. But look at how other organisations solve the problem too.

Involve people from the government design community in any work you’re doing. This makes it less likely that you’ll spend time doing work or research that’s already been done.

By finding people who are working on similar solutions, you can benefit from progress they’ve made and relevant research they’ve done.

Once you have collected some examples and research findings, you should start designing a specific implementation of the component or pattern to research with.

Ideally you’ll research as part of an actual service, but it’s possible to test using prototypes as long as they are realistic. Work with your own team or find a team to work with through the design community.

Once you have researched the component or pattern and shown it works for users, the Design System working group will review it.

Send your contribution for review

All components and patterns must meet the contribution criteria before they can be published. The Design System working group will use the criteria to review your contribution.

To arrange a review, tell the Design System team your contribution is ready. The team will check your work before letting the working group know it’s ready to review.

The working group will vote if your contribution:

  • can be published as it is
  • cannot be published until certain recommendations have been addressed

The Design System team will invite you to meet with them and discuss the decision.

During the meeting, you’ll be able to ask questions, hear recommendations and talk through any queries or concerns.

Get ready to publish

If the working group recommended some changes to make before publishing, the Design System team will help you work on them.

If the working group agree your contribution meets the criteria, the Design System team will help you get ready to publish. This includes organising any final checks or updates to the design, content, code and guidance.

Most new components and patterns will be published as experimental at first. The Design System team will remove the experimental status once research proves the component or pattern meets user needs. The research must be from different services and with different types of users.

Need help?

If you’ve got a question about the GOV.UK Design System, contact the team.