It’s far easier to lose weight by eating better than by exercising.
Even if you run five miles a day, you’re going to get fat if you subsist solely on cheeseburgers, candy, and soda. Bad inputs undermine hard work.
The same is true when designing products.
Good designers look at popular designs as sources of inspiration for their designs. To a designer, the entire web is one big pattern library.
Indeed, most “formal” pattern libraries include examples from popular sites. What they rarely include, however, is any data analyzing those patterns. Some patterns actively help users, but some are barely usable. This is probably because designers have been confusing pattern libraries with style guides and design systems for at least as long as they’ve existed.
We need more data-driven pattern libraries. The folks at GoodUI have made some great strides in this direction. The web needs more projects like that.