workflow – Design tokens in design systems – are designers working with developers?

Usually when I have worked on design systems in the past, a clear and robust IA helps to create a convention and vocabulary to describe all the abstract and concrete elements contained within. And this is done in an implementation agnostic manner so that developers are free to choose how they implement the designs as long as it follows the logic and consistency outlined in the design language used to create the design system.

There is a lot of talk about design tokens among the design and development community, which I see as the lack of clarity in the communication or understanding between designers and developers, and therefore the need to ‘codify’ at least some of the visual design aspects as it is applied to the UI components. Design tokens appears to be the currently accepted (or trending) solution to this problem, although I am wondering if it is worth looking at the root cause of the issue a bit further instead of looking at putting a band-aid on the problem instead.

For teams that have worked on design systems where design tokens are included (examples include Adobe Spectrum, Salesforce Lightning and Invision DSM just to name a couple), do the designers work with the developers when it comes to design tokens, or is this just something that the development team does separately to designers?