Janelle Sing: Shoe designer, digital illustrator, watercolorist, and Dropbox Pro user

One might think that the head designer for a global footwear brand would be so busy that she’d avoid extra work like the plague. And the designer in question, Janelle Sing, is busy indeed. But that doesn’t stop her from taking on side projects that let her spend as much time as possible doing what she loves: drawing. And she’s making it happen — juggling demanding roles as a designer, fashion illustrator, and contractor for a mobile app company — with the help of Dropbox Pro.

Janelle the shoe designer

Janelle’s main job is in the fashion industry, as the head of design for Soludos, makers of summery sandals and espadrilles. She and her team juggle a lot of documents, like spec sheets, charts, drawings — and most importantly — a master file of in-development styles for each upcoming season. Janelle works closely with other Soludos employees working in factories in China and Spain, so she’s invited them to be members of a shared Dropbox folder, where they keep all the materials they need to keep production running smoothly. “We do it this way so people don’t get several copies of different things, and everyone has the most up-to-date version; it works really well,” Janelle says.

“I don’t think there’s another service that would provide the same things for us that Dropbox does.”

Janelle often works with suppliers who want to share dozens of files with her — for example, scans of materials, as a sort of electronic fabric swatch — and hates having to sort through 30 attachments in one email. Instead, she requests that these vendors send the files using a Dropbox folder link, which her team can always refer back to without having to sort through their email. And since the vendor is sending a link to a folder — as opposed to an invitation to a shared folder — the files are safe from accidental edits or deletions.

Janelle Sing

Janelle the watercolorist

Before Janelle headed up design at Soludos, she did the same for Ghurka Bags — so it’s no surprise that she continues to find ways to express her creativity with occasional side projects for other fashion brands. For example, by creating illustrations for the owners of Simon Miller, a high-end denim brand out of Los Angeles.

This year, Simon Miller is a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, a prestigious award that emerging brands compete for every year. To help with the award application, Janelle did a series of watercolor paintings using indigo pigment to help bring the Simon Miller vision to life. She wanted her paintings to convey the mood of the garments, so she drew inspiration from how the brand creates its denim. The Simon Miller designers invited her to a shared Dropbox folder containing designs and videos of the techniques being used on jeans. “For the three of us to work together — with one of them in New York and the other in LA — it was great to have everything in one place,” she said. With access to the design materials, Janelle was able to mirror their garment design approach in the construction of her illustrations.

Janelle the digital illustrator

One of Janelle’s other side projects is a little more high tech: she uses her iPad to create illustrations for Paper, an award-winning iPad sketching app made by FiftyThree. Paper turns your iPad into a digital notebook, allowing you to sketch and draw right on the screen with your finger or a stylus. If you visit the Paper website, you’ll see dozens of beautiful drawings that show off the app’s capabilities — many of which were created by Janelle.

Janelle's work for Paper

When Janelle started working with FiftyThree, she created a shared folder and invited them to it. In that folder, she has sub-folders to separate the different projects she works on for them — like the images she created for the version of Paper that’s shown on iPads in Apple Stores, illustrations for Paper’s sister app, Mix, or drawings to support new product launches. After Janelle creates drawings requested by the FiftyThree team, she just scans them and drops them into the appropriate folder. “Whenever there’s a new project, we start by getting on the phone and bouncing around ideas. Then I’ll whip up some drawings, put them in Dropbox, and fire off a link.”

Making it all work

With everything Janelle has going on, a typical day for her can involve running around to meetings all over New York City, then spending a good chunk of time on the phone and email catching up with clients and vendors. It’s important for her to be able to access any of her work at any time, so the extra space that comes with Dropbox Pro provides flexibility that she’s come to rely on. “I love that I can just take out my phone, and use the Dropbox mobile app to pull up a file in a meeting, or share it with the people around me.”

“With Dropbox, I know that I can access all my files and projects from wherever I am. I’m always confident that I’m walking into a meeting prepared.”

And sometimes, Dropbox even helps her out in a sticky situation: “For example, last week I was in Spain meeting with folks from a new shoe factory, and I realized I had forgotten to send them artwork and logo files. Luckily I could access them on my phone through the Dropbox app, and send them right then and there.”