Defensie Rijkshuisstijl (DRH) is going to be the most inclusief Design System for the entire Ministry of Defense!

Almost two years ago when I started working as a Lead UX Designer at the Ministry of Defense (JIVC), I quickly started lobbying for a unified Design System to bring all the teams and later on entire departement together. Soon the first version (DRH 1.0) was born. At this point we are wokring on v2.0.

Why a design system

The most important benefits of a Design System is the fact that it will help organizations unify in the way of thinking, working and consistancy. Next to that makes helps UX focus more on the user's needs and interaction instead of working continuesly on making prototypes look pretty and pixel perfect. Same goes for development, instead of re-creating the same structure, buttons, etc, it will be more focussing on thee business-rules and compiling "lego-blocks".


Hour team consists of a virtual team; 1 UX Designer (me) and 2 Developers. We have our own Kanban-backlog where we evaluate upcoming projects and roadmaps to determin which elements/components/structures need the most attention.

DRH vitrual team


The Design System consists of Rijkshuisstijl (Central Government Branding/identity) + Material Design + Mobile first (not mobile only). This combination gave us the correct styling and yet the flexibility of responsive design and interaction.

For creating structured components we used the Athomic Design Method. This way the components start small (atoms) and get combined to create larger components and so on. Designing and Developing these components will be much easier (change a color in one place, have it imported everywhere).

Atomic Design example


Tools I used for the Design System are simple and limited.


Currently we are at DRH v2.0, which is working pretty great if I may say so myself. Although it is not inclusive enough. There is a new version being worked on parallel to the current components To get the maturity level of the components and the design system to a higher level. This version (DRH 3.0) will be all about accessibility and interaction.

Version 2 vs. Version 3

Intrigued: Would you like to know what happened next, how well did version 3.0 (and the Dark-mode) did in accessibility-testing and how three-people team created an entire Design System for the Dutch Military? Let's have a coffee ☕


Research UX design Interaction Design Usability testing Stakeholder management Presentation

Meta data

Role Lead UX Designer
Client Ministry of Defense
Date 08/2020 – current

Would you like to see more examples? Sure, let me know.