In late 2013, Dropbox was around 500 people, globally. As new people joined, they brought in new ideas, and ways of problem solving that helped reshape our culture. This was also a tipping point; While we gained new perspectives, some of the more unique qualities that made our early culture strong were watering down. To prevent any loss, our company’s first designer, Jon Ying and I started a team to help guide culture as we grew.
We called the team Black Ops, as we saw ourselves as a team that could galvanize around whatever the company needed, behind the scenes. Today, the team designs what we call work experiences that inform, celebrate or shift culture — to help Dropbox achieve our more aspirational goals.
What is a “work experience”? It can be a piece of art that encourages you to look closer, or think bigger. It can be a poster that inspires you to take action or change your behavior. It can be an office installation that simply brings you joy. In other words, our team designs work experiences that inspire, unite, and bring joy.
Black Ops designs for Dropboxers — our people, not our customers. That means we’re able to work outside of the company brand guidelines. Instead, we craft unique designs that reflect attributes of our culture. This approach provides us with unique challenges, yet gives us a tremendous amount of creative autonomy. Much like an incubator for visual experimentation.
For example, over the years we’ve remixed the Dropbox glyph in countless ways. By reflecting aspects of other initiatives like Pride or Hack Week, this allows us to broaden our logo's meaning. We’re much more than a product, we’re a diverse community of people and projects.