Design Lead, Airbnb Design System

Hayley is a Design Lead at Airbnb, facilitating the next evolution of Airbnb’s Design Language System (DLS). Previously, Hayley was the Design Lead for IBM’s Design Language. Based in San Francisco, Hayley’s work is showcased as one of “26 Innovations by 26 Innovative Women” and she is a certified Enterprise Design Thinking Leader. Hayley helps companies create a sustainable culture of design by building programs, systems, and frameworks that scale across the life span of an organization.


Designing products and designing the way organizations work are not mutually exclusive; to do one well, you have to do the other!

Since Airbnb released their design system, the design organization quadrupled with designers embedded across several teams. The system was valuable and in high demand—a wonderful problem to have—but we couldn’t keep up with the amount of requests coming in. New components were being made, but not documented. And files were being shared across teams, but without naming conventions. It was the wild west. So, across the company, we’ve had to re-invent the way designers work together and how teams relate to the system.

We’ve evolved from a single app to a platform that supports multiple businesses – a shift that has us reframing our work around human needs over features. Collaboration across businesses is important, now more than ever, because we don’t want our community to experience chaos while we transform our technology behind the scenes. So, we created a feedback loop to round up work and unite people. I would like to share the story of our partnership program pilot, and how we’re continuously evolving to our organization to build sustainable culture of design system thinking.