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The right number of design tokens

Seedling GardenDesign tokens

Something I’ve been thinking about for a while now is, how many design tokens is the right amount?

I often see roughly around 10 for each colour, whether they’re named 1-10 counting one-by-one or 100-1000 like font weights. So for example, in the font weight style of naming you might have purple-300 and teal-900, etc.

Sometimes these are then also given semantic names, maybe something like primary-bg and neutral-text, or maybe something like error-border and success-text.

I’ve also found that often I’m just wanting a specific colour that the semantic name mightn’t actually fit or make sense in the circumstance. For example, I might be wanting to use the accent-border colour but for something that isn’t a border.