• Transform magazine
  • June 20, 2018

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Peer perspectives: Dropbox

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Prominent file-sharing platform Dropbox unveiled a new brand that featured a minimal wordmark retouch, the introduction of quirky hand-drawn animations and a stronger sense of self. The divisive work has for some, been well-received and for others, missed the mark. What does Derek Johnston think of the new approach?

Project: Dropbox rebrand by Collins

Reviewer: Derek Johnston, co-founder, Family (and friends)

The branding approach: First, I think it’s fair to say that from a logo perspective this is not a ‘rework’, it’s a tweak. I don’t think the general user will be any more drawn to the brand than before. Neither am I altogether sure I understand how it reflects being ‘a living workspace’ that brings people and teams together. Perhaps the wider communications reflect this. Delving deeper, I’m seeing a purpose-driven mission (good), plus a LOT of colours and somewhat bizarre graphic and photographic juxtapositions pulled together (not so good). And an inspirational little film that suggests the world is a frenzy of generic, youthful, studio based workers, with a shoehorned clip of ‘Africa future’ (now I’m concerned).

Nothing connects for me I’m afraid: target-wise, clearly, it’s all designed for the Millennial creative entrepreneurs, the independent filmmakers, the small boutique design firms, the fashionistas of the world. Unfortunately for Dropbox, the rebrand has got my goat; it’s not solely at fault, but I’m becoming convinced that few designers, brands or digital businesses are really creating brands for real people. They make them for themselves and a create them with a narrow perspective on what’s cool, relevant and interesting.

The future for the brand: I think this is an opportunity for Dropbox to look and feel like a real ‘everybody’ brand – to be there at the forefront of a global revolution to help people store and share their stuff. Nobody is doing this well in my opinion. Dropbox could’ve rightfully owned it.  

I think there is still plenty of space (and it’s not too late for Dropbox) to craft a clear proposition that is a) easy for the brand to own, b) manage with simple assets, and c) most importantly, celebrate and communicate that the mechanism is easy for one and all to deliver inclusivity for digital natives and centenarians alike.

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