Dropbox dialing their new(-ish) branding down?

5 years ago from , Product Design @ Zavzen Design

It seems like the Dropbox homepage has completely gotten rid of the more dramatic typefaces and color schemes they were using previously. It's still in some of the internal pages but less emphasized overall.

I wonder how data-driven this decision was or if it had more to do with some of the backlash from the design community. There are two pretty competing styles (thin typography and heavy use of photography vs. bolder typography and color schemes) on the marketing site right now.

It brings up the question for me... How does a company that is scaling quickly manage continually pushing a brand/product forward with so many different teams and projects without completely removing the trust you've built with customers? Being more iterative and less inventive seems to meet existing needs better, but potentially ignores longer-term growth options.


  • Jonah GrindlerJonah Grindler, 5 years ago

    Arlen McCluskey gives a really great background on why they toned down the brand on their pricing page on this dribbble shot

    When Dropbox rebranded late last year, our Plans page got a complete makeover. After launch, we soon noticed a drop in several key metrics. We reverted to the previous version of /plans, and swiftly got to work. My team and I studied the numbers, and formed hypotheses to explain why the dip had happened, and how we could turn it around. For example, user research suggested that on this page, the bold rebrand color palette negatively affected trust and clarity. We also noted that the overall height of the page had grown substantially because of small increases in spacings on rows and titles. We combined a number of these ideas into one macro-experiment, and redesigned, rebuilt, and relaunched the page. The results were in: the new page fully recovered across the board, now with a double-digit metrics lift. The new design out-performed both the pre-rebrand and rebrand Plans page in several other ways too. Here’s how it looks today. Not bad for a day’s work!

    11 points
    • David ThornDavid Thorn, 5 years ago

      I remember some comparison article about that when the launch happened, but iirc, there were also language shifts and they played with different numbers of plan categories, which would likely have just as much of an effect as changing colors and spacing.


      0 points
    • Aubrey JohnsonAubrey Johnson, 5 years ago

      What’s insane to me is that they didn’t test this before launching it so widely.

      Launch something totally radical, not have a clue what’s going to happen and then conversions dip... then fix?


      2 points
      • James Young, 5 years ago

        Utterly crazy right, especially since they obviously have the team and testing ability in place to run this sort of thing after the fact.

        1 point
    • Dan Christian, 5 years ago

      Amazing that the first reply, after quite a detailed explanation and rationale behind the re-design is, "Looking nice and clean"

      1 point
  • Eduardo NunesEduardo Nunes, 5 years ago

    I’m really curious about this. I still see the heavy branding, but always thought it was a matter of time before they dialed it down a bit. For brands targeted at very broad and diverse user bases, like Dropbox is, it seems like time, user feedback and over-reliance on analytics eventually push design towards the same bland, safe choices. You can make some ripples every now and then, but the system will eventually self-correct (not always for the better, of course).

    5 points
    • Richard BruskowskiRichard Bruskowski, 5 years ago

      I guess you need to switch the language to English (UK or US) to see the old design Bryan is talking about. You can choose the language at the very bottom. The design is not the only difference though, the english landing pages also seem to speak more to business prospects while all the non-english landing pages put more of an equal weight on private/freelancer prospects and larger businesses. Not sure, but I think I remember that both these designs have been around in parallel already at the time of the launch of the new brand design. Looking at both, I feel the new brand design makes the baby-blueish-gray older design look pale and dated in comparison.

      2 points
    • , 5 years ago

      Yeah, it's not at all surprising that it's being implemented more subtly.

      There's a balance that has to be made between analytics-driven and intuition-driven approaches, but ideally that is a company-wide conversation rather than competing teams with different ideas. It almost becomes more about internal communication rather than the actual external branding.

      0 points
  • julian sharifi, 5 years ago

    Are they maybe running a test? For me the pages are as dramatic as ever...

    2 points
    • Terrell GriffithTerrell Griffith, 5 years ago

      Is it a language thing?

      English (US/UK): Subdued page [I think this is what it was prior to the rebrand, but I'm not positive]

      Non-English: Dramatic as ever [And still quite lovely imo]

      0 points
  • Craig RozynskiCraig Rozynski, 5 years ago

    It's because Collins are almost certainly no longer involved. They were paid to do the rebrand and have moved on. If anything they're probably consulted on for things like landing page refreshes, but not actual product design.

    Let's assume Dropbox designers were as horrified as everyone else and over time there will be a gradual toning back, as shown with Arlen McCluskey's plans page.

    Common sense prevails!

    1 point
  • Russ BrownRuss Brown, 5 years ago

    I wonder how intentional this approach is:

    step 1) Over the top ultra trendy redesign to make a splash and get some publicity

    step 2) dial it back, reveal the real redesign underneath.

    step 3) profit.

    1 point
    • , 5 years ago

      That's an interesting thought and could definitely be the case, especially considering they hired an outside agency for the original redesign but still need to make it their own.

      It also seems like there are two competing approaches right now though, rather than a well-executed, more subtle version of the redesign.

      0 points
    • Account deleted 5 years ago

      step 4) Redesign it in a minimal style saying you want to 'capture the essence of the brand'

      step 5) Profit again

      0 points
    • JayO ★, 5 years ago

      Is everything an okie doke or a conspiracy nowaday?

      Are YouTube commenters finally growing up and getting jobs?

      -1 points
      • Russ BrownRuss Brown, 5 years ago

        Conspiracy is a bit strong, just wondering out loud.

        And I have no intention of growing up thank you very much.

        0 points
  • Mike A.Mike A., 5 years ago

    They are still there, they run series of A/B tests...

    0 points
  • John PJohn P, 5 years ago

    If you didn't see this coming a mile away you had your eyes closed.

    -1 points