Drift's Tide Design System

When I started at Drift in 2018, there was a common look and feel shared by designers building new features, but no formalized design system. As our team grew, we needed a better way to ship simple, usable, and consistent new features and updates.

At a Ladies that UX Boston event in summer 2021, I talked about the role that I played in that effort, and how others can get started on a brand new design system while working at a company that’s scaling in hypergrowth. Spoiler alert: get started on just one piece. For me, that was defining a color and spacing system. The rest of our components and patterns fell into place from there. Today, the Tide Design System has been used by over 20 designers, lives in Figma making great use of variants and auto-layout (my favorite features), and is fully built out in code for engineers to use.

I've also written about building the Tide Design System here.