Designer + Engineer in San Francisco, She/Her
First designer & frontend engineer at DoorDash; now a design, engineering, and people leader working on Design Systems.
Built out the Design Infrastructure function at DoorDash—design engineering, design systems, accessibility, and prototyping.
Recruited, managed, and led a team of 25+ design-oriented people (including 4 managers and 3 staff designers or engineers) focused on the intersection of design and engineering, in service to our Consumers, Dashers, and Merchants.
Joined as the company's first product designer. Worked on our Consumer product helping people order from restaurants, our Dasher app and tracking experience, and was the first design lead for our Merchant products to help restaurants operate.
Established the first frontend engineering stack, migrating us to React and Webpack back in their early days.
Helped interview and build the teams of designers and engineers that joined DoorDash from 2015 onward.
Built some productivity tools with a tiny team. Led design (brand, product) and hacked on the product as a frontend engineer.
Designed and built some websites, web apps. Learned the ropes of the design world.
Design Systems as a practice is a relatively young and growing part of the design and engineering community. For many design systems, they are built at different stages of a company’s life—for older companies, to manage the chaos and debt of existing design and product decisions, for younger companies to wrangle a growing organization and team to help them scale for the future.
As DoorDash’s first product designer and frontend engineer, Kathryn has seen the impact of building a design system from the very earliest days as a small, scrappy team of 8 engineers and 1 designer, all the way to IPO in 2020, to a company now with thousands of engineers and a design team of a 100+. She’ll talk through the lessons she’s learned, the ways she and her team have adapted to the different needs of a company at different stages, how no matter what stage you’re at as a company, you can find value in a design systems practice.
Kathryn Gonzalez and Chris discuss the evolution of design systems from centralized to localized and how DoorDash’s design system team is evolving as their system matures.
We talked about building DoorDash’s first design system, how to scale a design systems team, balancing technical and design skills, how to become a better systems designer by learning outside of work, and much more.
In this Spotlight we talk about how a design infrastructure team gets built and the challenges with growing a team that can design infrastructure across many diverse platforms.