Introducing The Drift Brand Book: A Guide to Building Your Brand Guidelines

Editor’s Note: The following is a look at the brand guidelines for startup Drift. While their Brand Book is specific to their company, you can use this template to create your own guidelines. 

I hear businesses talk about branding all the time. What’s the #1 common thread that I hear? “We need brand standards!” As a designer and marketer, I get it. Or at least I thought I did until mid-week when four people reached out to ask about our logo.

I had a epiphany. It was time for a press page. Pause. WHOA. As a startup this is a pretty amazing little moment. So I’m super enthusiastic, pulling together all the right elements for a press page — our logo, our typography, our colors.

Then I started drafting the content.

I should begin by explaining how to use our logo.

“Use the color logo when…”

But I couldn’t finish the sentence. I’m on the marketing team and I can’t even explain when to use this logo?! Yikes. What’s the reason for having different logos? Okay. What now? I start asking around the office, and I gather tons of logo use advice. None of it consistent. Relief — it isn’t just me.

But we still have a problem: we let the brand go without setting any guardrails in place to prevent this kind of thing. This is probably the result of two things:

  1. The team has grown
  2. The product and brand have evolved over time

At Drift we now have four different people working on design from Boston to San Francisco. And since everyone keeps producing such cool stuff, it’s easy to keep shipping (which is what we want to be doing) instead of taking a step back every now and then to make sure we are all on the same page.

On top of that, our brand changed drastically over six months. Our product grew a ton in really amazing ways. When I started in August we talked about bots as a cool idea for the far off future. And now we talk about Driftbot like an old friend.

So this journey led to building out a collection of our brand values and brand assets.

I collected everything that I could could get my hands on that felt “Dirft-y.” I grabbed photos we took on our phones, tweets from customers, all of the logos we have ever used, our mission, etc. And I started organizing. This collection quickly took form as a brand book. And it now represents the Drift brand as we know it today.

We believe that branding is so much more than a logo. So one of my favorite things about this book is that we break down our core brand values — and core value number three is Transparency. So sharing version one of our brand book with you just seems right.

It’s a living document — which means we’re always going to be changing, updating, and tweaking, but it’s time to share V1 with you now. Here’s the Drift Brand Book, version one:


By the way, Dave and I did a little video about the brand book and our thoughts on branding in Office Hours:

Amy Ahrens
Amy Ahrens
Brand Marketer

Amy Ahrens is a brand marketer at Drift, helping build a world class brand through strategic social, video, and design content. She attended Boston University for Graphic Design and Marketing. Amy grew up in Southern California and is obsessed with travel and learning.
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