Dropbox today said it has named Nicholas Jitkoff — former lead designer for Google’s Material Design team — as its VP of design.This comes on the heels of a suite of announcements Dropbox made last week, including the launch of its continuous synchronization product Smart Synd and the global launch of note-taking app Paper — as well as a redesign to its web experience. Dropbox at that event said it had hit a $1 billion run rate, and over time we’ve seen Dropbox say it’s trying to create a simpler enterprise collaboration service.
It would make sense that Dropbox would appoint someone to lead the design, and especially someone who has experience in consumer products. As Dropbox tries to expand further into enterprise products and capture large companies as customers, it’s going to need to show some differentiation from competitors like Microsoft and Box.
Dropbox, to be sure, has stumbled somewhat in pointing its products designed initially for consumers at the enterprise customers it needs. It fumbled Mailbox, a slick email client that it acquired for $100 million that it shut down in 2015, as well as others like its photo app Carousel. Dropbox is going to have to figure out how to toe the line between the simple consumer products that initially propelled it to a $10 billion valuation and still be palatable for large enterprise customers.
“Nicholas will lead our Design team in defining their vision for Dropbox,” the company said in a blog post. “He’ll also help us continue to grow our diverse and talented teams across Design Research, Product Design, Brand Design, and UX Writing.”
Jitkoff was a principal designer at Google since September 2006.