Drive system design is regularly formulated as a mix-and-match process where power electronics, electric motor, and control algorithm and devices are selected as separate system building blocks. Strong interplay between components, and their associated performance characteristics, requires proper combination selection to obtain desired system performance. Within this paper, essential design considerations for an optimized drive system are considered. Emphasis is placed on the construction of a unified drive system rather than fitting procedures and rules of thumb for existing components that may satisfy given performance requirements. The ramifications of select design decisions are discussed, and a case study is used to highlight the need for system-level considerations.