WeTransfer wins Best Digital Platform: Wallpaper* Design Awards 2021

WeTransfer has long been within our essentialist digital toolkit

Drawing created on Paper, an immersive drawing app owned by WeTransfer
In 2018, WeTransfer acquired Paper, an immersive drawing app, which was used to create this image
(Image credit: TBC)

we've shown our appreciation by giving the platform a nod in the 2021 Wallpaper* Desgin Awards

It didn’t take long for WeTransfer to become a cornerstone of modern creative business. The online file-sharing firm was founded in Amsterdam in 2009, just as big tranches of digital data were becoming way too unwieldy for emails and the ‘couriered hard drive’ was already as archaic as the stagecoach.

From the outset, the start-up prioritised ease of use and wasn’t afraid to put its primary revenue – ads – bold and centre stage. WeTransfer rapidly became essential, and the big visual hit of its full-screen campaigns transcended the banality of the pop-up and the banner ad. By 2014, the company was ramping up support of its creative ecosystem, with side projects including a bursary scheme for Central Saint Martins students.

These days, WeTransfer’s free ethos remains, albeit bolstered by a premium subscription service that adds functionality and a suite of helpful tools and apps for subscribers. Co-founder and chief creative officer Damian Bradfield has overseen an increased emphasis on presenting new work, with three million people clicking through to the ever-changing roster of WePresent portfolios every month.

WeTransfer’s tools, Collect, Paper and Paste (which help to create a cross between a grown-up version of Pinterest and a simplified Photoshop), are perfect for ordering the digital paper chain of inspiration that we gather as we move around the web. The company is also a vocal supporter of good causes, regularly giving its high-profile ad space over to both emerging creatives and activists, such as gun control advocates. If that’s not enough, WeTransfer cements its place as a piece of ‘curatorial infrastructure’ with an annual Ideas Report, especially useful for getting a handle on how others have dealt with the creative blocks imposed by the pandemic, for example. With 60 million users sending around 1.5 billion files a month – most probably including substantial chunks of the magazines you read and the websites you browse – WeTransfer is a vital creative backbone.

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.