The Power of AI in Crafting Personally Tailored Web Design Systems for Global Brands


An Interview with Dave Calleja, Head of Design and Design Systems Practice Lead at dentsu 

It’s no secret that the traditional approach to web design is undergoing a significant transformation. In an era where AI is playing an increasingly pivotal role for global brands in crafting highly personal experiences, brands are no longer confined to simple ecosystems supported by static design systems. To delve deeper into this topic, we spoke to Dave Calleja (Head of Design at Dentsu) on his opinions around the use of AI in creating tailored experiences to culturally diverse audiences.  

Q: Why is AI so exciting in relation to design systems right now? 

Historically, the creation of design systems involved (and indeed largely still involves) manual-task-oriented labour, where each iteration for different audiences required meticulous crafting and adaptation. However, by harnessing the power of AI, we are now able to move beyond the limitations of manual assembly. Instead, we can make enormous gains by using the power of structured data and standardised documentation to fuel a more intelligent and powerful design experience. Structured data serves as the blueprint for AI-driven personalisation, enabling dynamic adjustments based on cultural nuances, linguistic preferences, and market intelligence.  

Yet, this isn't merely about attaching AI as a superficial layer. Rather, it's about imbuing AI with the intelligence to understand a brand’s ethos, audience preferences, and market dynamics. This custom intelligence serves as the backbone of our design system implementations at dentsu, guiding the AI in orchestrating experiences that transcend the average and resonate on a deeply personal level with each end-customer.  

The essence of this approach lies in melding human creativity with AI prowess. We, as humans, assume the role of puppet masters, crafting the guardrails and providing the system with the necessary components to craft the desired experiences, market by market, for the brand. It's about striking a balance between automation and human intuition, leveraging AI to fill in the gaps while retaining our creative agency.  

We can use AI to empower brands to adapt design elements on-the-fly at scale, infusing each interaction with a culturally sensitive, tailored touch. It’s all about attaching structured data intelligence to the automation of your design system to create the right experience for your customers. 

Q: So, what does this mean for humans? If AI is the future?  

That’s just the thing. This isn’t about removing humans from the equation. It’s all well and good saying that we can turn a design system into a one-to-one type of personalisation engine by creating structured data and allowing the AI model to continually generate. Yet, that’s not the point. The source of the data for your design system comes from understanding the customer and what’s happening in the market. It’s about putting humans in the puppet master seat. Humans need to fill those gaps that machines can’t to create personal experiences for their users. Constant, human monitoring of performance – seeking what works and what doesn’t – is key. We aren’t removing the human. We are just taking out those mundane tasks, to focus our efforts on creating exceptional experiences to help differentiate and really deliver on the brand promise.  

Q: What are the biggest benefits of AI for design systems?  

As mentioned, it’s the freeing up of time which means the freeing up of costs. It’s being able to understand that audiences we previously marked as ‘optimal audiences’ were because that was all we had the capacity to work to. However, with the help of AI to free up time, we can look to creating more personalised experiences for everyone without it costing more. Having more time to focus on truly helping brands support diverse customer needs will help to differentiate our customer’s experiences from our competitors. Once you do the work to set up the design system and the guard rails, you can use AI (whilst having a lot less resources) to feasibly deliver varied experiences.  

It’s clear that as we move into the future, we are going to unlock a new realm of possibilities when it comes to design systems. Although AI will play a huge role in what’s next – we are not replacing human creativity. Instead, it will be about augmenting it – using AI as the tool to amplify our creative visions, enriching every interaction with authenticity. As we move towards personal web experiences that will be created in real-time for each individual, we will look to re-define the future of digital experiences.  

If you’d like to discuss how we might help you with your design needs, please get in touch.