Using the best tools for collaboration: how we use Zeplin.

Megan Stott, Marketing Manager in London, UK
08 September 2020

We’re one of the fastest-growing digital product and experience agencies. But what does it take to deliver products we’re proud of, at pace and scale? And what are some of the best tools we use to encourage collaboration and aid productivity? As we often work closely with our clients, and as our Somo-ers are spread all across the world, it’s essential we have the right tools in place to connect our global teams. Zeplin is one tool that has helped us enormously in this space. Zeplin integrates seamlessly with our other design tools and ensures we have a centralised repository of all our design work that our team can collaborate on, no matter where we are or what time zone we are in. 

We’ve worked with Audi of America since 2014, becoming its digital agency of record last year in May. We’re now responsible for strategising, designing, and building Audi’s digital presence across its core pillars – Shop, Buy, Own and Enable – spanning across the entire customer journey. The Zeplin platform has evolved massively since we first started using it in 2018. It has become our single source of truth for project work and it’s core to our specification process, saving us time, boosting collaboration and improving communication between the team members. Here’s a bit more on our journey...

We first started using Zeplin when we were one team. It improved our specification and design to the developer hand-off process, and provided a central repository to store our designs, ensuring they were fully transparent to Audi stakeholders.

As our remit grew, we expanded to become seven teams. All the teams focus on creating customer-centric digital experiences through a combination of process, design, and technology enhancements. We leveraged the Global Styleguides feature to ensure consistency across all teams and for it to be the central place to hold design work across all the teams. The teams are made of both Audi experts and Somo-ers from our US, UK, and Colombia offices – so collaboration, effective communication and rapid feedback are essential for us to succeed at scale. 

To ensure the product teams are designing and developing consistently, we went one step further, by introducing a Design System for Audi. The Audi Design System is the single source of truth for product teams in all markets, with everything from Getting Started guides, Core Components, and process documentation. By creating a Design System for Audi, we are looking to leverage the connected components feature to bridge the gap even further between design and development.The connected components feature allows us to link the core components in our Library (i.e. Buttons) to the corresponding code that is documented and available to view in Storybook. This avoids the same component being developed multiple times because developers were not aware of its existence.

On working with Somo, Zeplin's Global Director of Partner Success, Neil Smith, said:

Our collaboration with Somo has been such an amazing experience, their ability to deliver Design Systems with deep collaboration at scale has set the benchmark for agencies using Zeplin

Our Head of Design Tizz Chapman and Product Director Ben Magnus recently chatted with Zeplin about their favourite Zeplin features, how we used Zeplin when delivering The Audi Design System, and what's next on the roadmap for Somo and Audi. Read the full Q&A here.