A zoom lens system is usually composed of several components. Some of the components can be moved to change the focal length or magnification. Zoom lens system design is more complicated than fixed-focus lens design due to the moving of some components. In this paper, an optimization method that is used to design zoom lens systems is presented. Using this method, the Gaussian parameters of zoom lens systems are optimized at first, and then the initial structure parameters in each component are generated and optimized. At last the aberration balance is made using multi-configuration. In this paper the flowchart of optimization design for such complex optical systems is showed and the algorithms are described. As a conclusion, the relationship between power distribution, initial structure and the aberrations is considered at the beginning, the evaluation criteria are reliable and efficiency for designing zoom lens systems.