Photo by Omar Flores ⇥ on Unsplash
There seems to be no single way of use when it comes to the terms component library and pattern library. The industry is using the two terms interchangeably, quite often with no distinction between them, other times with unspecified differences.
Similarly, our team inherited the obvious communication trap, often breading confusion when trying to communicate ideas.
When structuring our design system, for our sanity if nothing else, we decided to define the distinction between the two terms. For our purposes, a component is a stand-alone entity, with re-usable code, that can live in multiple patterns. A pattern is a combination of components that solves specific usability problems.
There, all done!