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Guidance to help make sure that GOV.WALES products are consistently designed.

First published:
27 November 2019
Last updated:


GOV.WALES products should be well designed from day one.

It’s essential that all parts of GOV.WALES are designed to high standards. Design should not be an afterthought.

People are used to good design, and they know when they encounter bad design. When something is badly designed, it makes it harder for people to complete tasks and understand information. They may make mistakes, and it gives them less confidence the next time. This makes more work for them and more work for government.

We have created these design standards to help you to procure or build digital products. They’re put together to help you understand what you need to do and the support available.

Step 1: identify the GOV.WALES design category

GOV.WALES products fall into the following GOV.WALES products categories:

  • GOV.WALES core
  • GOV.WALES services
  • GOV.WALES tools
  • GOV.WALES microsites
  • GOV.WALES campaigns
  • GOV.WALES organisations

The Welsh Government Corporate Digital Team will work with you and identify which of these are appropriate.

What you’re building within GOV.WALES may take place across many GOV.WALES products. For example, a GOV.WALES campaign may provide links to guidance within GOV.WALES core.

Step 2: recruit GOV.WALES designers

Your product team should include designers to ensure you create GOV.WALES products that are user-focused and high quality. They should be in place from the start, to understand user needs early on, and to begin to map out ideas for meeting them.

Depending on what you’re building, you may need a team of designers with different types of skills.

Your designers need to provide an effective GOV.WALES design experience. They need to have a high level of design skill, discipline, adaptability, and empathy for users.

Step 3: use the GOV.WALES design system

Every part of GOV.WALES should be designed with the GOV.WALES design system. We call it the GOV.WALES Global Experience Language (GEL).

It is a large collection of consistent design patterns which are continually improved.

Designing with GOV.WALES GEL design patterns

GOV.WALES GEL design patterns provide consistent official solutions to common design problems.

You must start using them as soon as you begin making a GOV.WALES product.

Using GOV.WALES GEL design patterns means you:

  • avoid doing the work that’s already been done
  • avoid poor solutions that have already been discarded
  • build on the research and experience of teams across GOV.WALES
  • make your GOV.WALES product a seamless and consistent part of GOV.WALES

GOV.WALES design patterns assets

The Corporate Digital Team will issue you with the GOV.WALES GEL assets, to design and build your GOV.WALES product.

Amending or creating new GOV.WALES design patterns

The GOV.WALES GEL design patterns cover many user needs. If none of the existing patterns meet your users’ needs, you may be able to extend or create a new design pattern.

The Corporate Digital Team must approve for any extended or new design patterns

Step 4: get GOV.WALES design approval

Every GOV.WALES product needs to meet high design standards. This means implementing existing GOV.WALES GEL design patterns. You should only extend and create new design patterns where necessary.

GOV.WALES products go through a review and iteration process with the Corporate Digital Team. This is to ensure that they meet design standards. This process is the GOV.WALES GEL QA process.


After receiving the GOV.WALES GEL assets, you will begin work on the design and build of your GOV.WALES product.

You’ll need to share your progress with the Corporate Digital Team at various stages of your product’s development. This includes initial designs, prototypes and up to the developed product. We will support you by reviewing your work and providing you with a GOV.WALES GEL QA report. The report shows the changes you need to make to your product. This is to make sure that we provide a consistent and optimised GOV.WALES.

After you’ve made the changes, we’ll update the QA report. We’ll continue to work with you until the product meets a high level of design standards for launch.

Once the product has launched, we will continue to work with you on further developments. We will also to update you on any improvements to the GOV.WALES GEL.