Visuals for those who think outside the box

Charles Deluvio
Feb 26 · 4 min read

Every story has to start somewhere. Ours happens to start with Dropbox.

The premise was simple: To release 10 free photos every 10 days. Every time you downloaded a photo on our site, we’d redirect you to the high-resolution photo… hosted on a public Dropbox folder.

Dropbox wasn’t exactly aware of what we were doing. And to be fair, we weren’t sure neither. After all, it was a quick afternoon project. We figured if only a handful of people could find Unsplash useful, it’d be worth it.

But a handful grew to a few thousand real quick (50,000 to be exact). Our site literally blew up. And if it wasn’t for the good people at, you guessed it, Dropbox, who knows if Unsplash would’ve survived the afternoon.

One of the first photos on Unsplash. By Alejandro Escamilla

It’s been five years since we launched Unsplash. What used to be 10 photos by 1 photographer is now a library of more than 850,000+ photos by over 120,000+ contributors. And while we’ve moved on from our frugal ways of hosting photos on a public Dropbox folder (hey, we would if we could), we still rely on Dropbox for running our day-to-day.

Using Dropbox Paper to focus on the work, not the tool

Designers are always itching to try the latest tools. Beta me this, beta me that. When Dropbox Paper announced early access for its newest project, we were eager to try it out. Besides, we’d already been hosting our design files with Dropbox all while using an alternative platform to write our project scopes. It seemed like having everything under one system made the most sense.

Dropbox’s approach to product design aligns perfectly with our values at Unsplash. With its incredibly simple interface, we’re able to focus on the work, not struggling to learn yet another tool. It’s because Paper provides only the features you need for writing or planning; not the things you might want (e.g., different fonts like Papyrus, font sizes like 96, colors like #39ff14). These “limitations” also help to keep the docs visually consistent across the board, which is always a plus when we’re collaborating between teams.

Dropbox Paper is also more than just a place for writing: It’s a space that lets us review our team’s latest articles, have meaningful exchanges around specific problems, create the next to-dos, assign owners, and set deadlines all in one place, in real-time. In just under a year, Dropbox Paper became the essential tool for planning the next set of features for Unsplash, and it’s now how we build our company roadmaps.

Adding an Unsplash image to your Paper doc

Dropbox has made it really easy to pair your ideas with usable, high-quality images in one go. With the Unsplash integration, you’ll be able to find the perfect header image for your project scope, put together a grid of photos for your client’s mood board, or prepare a dynamic template for all of your next presentations.

How to insert an Unsplash photo

  1. Click into an empty line in your Paper doc
  2. Click the Add media icon in the menu that appears
  3. Select Unsplash from the Featured Apps on the left side panel
  4. Browse or search the Unsplash library to find relevant photos
  5. Once your selections made, click on “Add to doc” to insert your photos

Your photos should automatically appear in the doc. You will find the photographer’s name and a link to their Unsplash profile under each photo, allowing you to discover more of their work.

It’s always surreal to see Unsplash in the tools you interact with daily. 5 years later, we’re delighted to make our partnership with Dropbox official.

Preview of the Unsplash integration within Dropbox Paper

More on Unsplash Partnerships. This partnership with Dropbox is part of our continued mission to push the impact of photography as far as we can.

Over 800+ products and companies including Sketch, Adobe, Trello, Google, Medium, Square, Semplice, Typeform, Weebly, PicsArt, Ghost, CodePen, Unfold, Product Hunt, Anchor, InVision, Unbounce, and FiftyThree support this mission by officially integrating with the Unsplash API. 🔥

These partnerships enable creative action and serve to recognize and amplify the contributions Unsplash members make.

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

Charles Deluvio

Written by

Designer @ Unsplash

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

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