An Inside Look into the Making of the Milk Stand

The following post is brought to you by Dropbox Paper. Our partners are hand picked by the Design Milk team because they represent the best in design.

06.06.17 | By
An Inside Look into the Making of the Milk Stand

Back in March, we shared a case study where a company gave its insights from implementing Dropbox Paper into their daily work routine. Now we want to share a second case study: our own! We’re taking you on a behind the scenes look (with real screenshots and tips) on how we used this collaborative platform to bring the Milk Stand to life at ICFF 2017.

One thing people might not know about Design Milk is that we don’t have a headquarters! Our team works remotely across the globe and we also work with other design brands, teams and companies on a regular basis. Because of this, we rely heavily on digital tools that help us to collaborate effectively and efficiently, especially for large scale projects that have a lot of moving parts and collaborators. For the Milk Stand, we had a big team that included Michael Yarinsky, Civilization, and Visual Magnetics (who came on board to design our booth, walls and graphics) and 12 brands from across the US and Canada (who would be exhibiting inside our booth). We needed something that would bring us all together. That’s where Dropbox Paper came in.

With its simple interface and cloud-based ecosystem, it was an easy decision to use Dropbox Paper to plan our popup shop and collaborate with our ever-expanding team of remote designers, project managers, and editors. As you know, Design Milk loves seeing a minimalist approach to design and that’s exactly how the designers at Dropbox approached Paper, which was important to us because the last thing we wanted was to hold up our team and the project’s development with a tool that had a high learning curve. Designed with a clean look, easy-to-read sans-serif font, and lots of white space for easy navigation, I’d say it only takes 15 minutes top to learn the ins and outs of Dropbox Paper—no lengthy guidebook PDF necessary!

Our Dropbox Paper homepage

Dropbox Paper feature: commenting

Planning a popup shop means there’s a lot of to do’s to split among all of the teams. Dropbox Paper kept us all on track because we could assign team members to a task and a due date with simple “@” mentions (including a very useful @doc tag that alerted everyone involved in the document). Like with pen and paper, we all got a collective jolt of gratification when we checked things off one by one.

In fact, we’re pretty sure we converted some of the other teams we collaborated with. By the second conference call, our Milk Stand team collectively agreed that the features in Dropbox Paper made it easy for us to collaborate remotely and keep the flow of the project moving. As you can see, we also took full advantage of the built-in emojis too.

Dropbox Paper feature: owner, task, and due date assignment

Dropbox Paper feature: stickers and emojis

To us though, what really gives this platform its unique edge (and therefore made it an invaluable asset) are its capabilities to promote effective collaboration. Using Dropbox Paper allowed us to invite our whole team into a single shared document that we all could work on together as a team during calls or independently on our own time. With features that let you focus on developing, managing, and sharing ideas, collaborating remotely became as efficient as collaborating together in a physical conference room. Dropbox Paper became our central hub for bringing together collaborators, content, and communications in one accessible and all-inclusive document.

One misconception we’ve come across is the idea that Dropbox Paper is supposed to replace all other apps/platforms. On the contrary, Paper was designed to supplement your current work flow (especially in collaborative projects), not reinvent it. Nobody wants another document to keep track of and we sure didn’t want to assign another burden onto our team. As the Milk Stand developed though, we found ourselves eliminating the need to go into other platforms because our Paper document had everything we need: mock-ups, floor plans, task lists, schedules, timelines, and more.

We do still use other tools in our work kit but we didn’t expect to need them less with the introduction of Dropbox Paper into our arsenal. Now, we had a place to centralize everything and make it accessible to everyone on the team without asking them to open 17 different tabs or dig through “that one email with the attachments” to find what they needed. The more we collaborated, the more we found ourselves working solely in Dropbox Paper.

Dropbox Paper feature: tables

If you’re the visual type like we are, tables really helped structure our tasks and due dates. Like all the features in Paper, these tables are stripped down to the bare essentials (no elaborate formulas here!), which is something we can appreciate because it kept us focused and kept the document streamlined. You won’t find unnecessary functions in Paper. Here, it’s the quality of your work that shines, not the fancy formatting you put on it, and the instant save feature means you never have to worry about losing your work when your computer freezes and you haven’t hit save in a while (because isn’t that the absolute worst?).

One feature we loved was the auto-generated table of content that appeared when you hover to the left of the screen. Any time you created a header (ICFF MARKETING MATERIALS CHECKLIST being the header here), it would automatically populate into the table of contents. Also, unlike other platforms, Paper helps you keep track of who entered new content into the document by automatically labeling the name of your teammate next to the content they posted.

Dropbox Paper features: emojis and auto-generated table of content

Dropbox Paper feature: auto-generated table of content and image gallery

We loved being able to comment and write notes on the edge of the document as we reviewed it. This is a feature that can make a document look cluttered, but Paper’s clean design made it easy to navigate through multiple comments by multiple authors throughout the document. Whenever something was cleared up, we could hit resolve and refer to it later if we needed to in the Comment History.

Dropbox Paper feature: comment history

Dropbox Paper feature: timely email notifications

Last but not least, one of our absolute favorite features was the emails you could opt into to get timely notifications of changes to the group document. This allowed complete transparency and helped everyone stay up to date on the “who, what, when, and where” details on an ever-changing document. This became a crucial feature, especially at the end when we were adding last minute installers and managing multiple projects (here’s a look at our hectic NYCxDesign week schedule).

We’ve recommended this platform to so many of our colleagues, friends and family because without a doubt, Dropbox Paper was the glue that held the Milk Stand together. If you’ve made it this far in the post, maybe it means you’re curious about it too. After all was said and done, Dropbox Paper has earned a permanent spot in our online toolkit.

Give Dropbox Paper a go for free here.

As the Senior Contributing Editor, Vy Yang is obsessed with discovering ways to live well + with intention through design. She's probably sharing what she finds over on Instagram stories. You can also find her at