Learning from the Language of LEGO

Omnichannel presentation

If you work with digital technology, you’ve probably heard or used a LEGO analogy: The line of click-together toy bricks has served as a go-to illustration of modular construction for more than a generation. Now it’s a favorite when explaining component content and the increasing popularity of pattern-oriented design systems.

Unfortunately, the complexity and nuance of real-world communications systems can be lost in a simple stacking-and-clicking metaphor. A closer look at the world of LEGO reveals something more like a language: modular, expressive, and bound by simple rules that work together in surprising ways.

Moving beyond the “building blocks” metaphor, and learning from the worlds of language and architecture, can shed new light on our thorniest problems with component content and decoupled design systems.


What you’ll learn

  • Understand key elements of a language, including modularity, creativity, and structure
  • Learn to recognize language-like patterns in other systems
  • Use the lens of language to recognize flexible solutions to content architecture and design system challenges


Jeff Eaton
Jeff Eaton