Design Tokens Community Group

DTCG Glossary

This glossary contains high-level definitions, leaving out technical details on purpose. Part of the DTCG's mission is to write those technical definitions in the form of specifications.

Design token

The single source of truth to name and store a design decision, distributed so teams can use it across design tools and coding languages.

Design token translation tool

A tool that translates token sets from one format (such as YAML) to a range of other formats (such as CSS custom properties, Sass, Swift, Sketch palettes…).


Design tool

A tool for visual design creation and editing.



Company shipping design tool(s), in a position to implement the design token specification, such as Adobe, Framer, UXPin, Figma, Sketch, and many others.


Generic term describing the most common way (but not the only way) a design token is formatted and used in code.


Design token name

A label assigned to a design decision.


Design token value

A context-specific value assigned to a design token name.


Design token properties

Additional data describing the token’s value or the token as a whole.


Design token alias

A token value that is a reference to another token.

Example #000000
   color.text.primary: ${}

Design token group

Author-defined categorizations applied to related sets of tokens.


Design token type

A classification applied to the value of a token.


Composite design tokens

Composite design tokens contain values that represent more than one design decision.


Design token schema

Rules for writing tokens that are used to determine if the syntax is valid.