July 16, 2019 • Sarah Schwartz
Kineticards Transforms Card Sending
Animated Greetings is a magical, 21st-century experience
The concept of linking the stationery and digital card worlds isn’t new, but Kineticards has blended the two into one cohesive, colorful package and has transformed card sending with animated greetings. Chrissy Eckman, founder and CEO, developed her approach while attending the Savannah College and Design (SCAD).
“I was passionate about graphic design and animation, but was pursuing the two on separate paths throughout college,” Eckman recalled. “Kineticards were born to bring those two worlds together. I loved the idea of introducing cutting-edge technology into the world of paper because the two are so completely opposite, they become very powerful when combined. And greeting cards felt perfect, because I’ve always wanted to connect with people and bring more positivity into the world.”
Eckman published the app after spending six months in the SCAD+ Alumni Business Launcher Program, and later joined forces with Black Math, a Boston production company, to prep for Kineticards’ National Stationery Show (NSS) debut last February. I interviewed Eckman about how she brought them to vibrant life.
ST: In all, how long did it take to develop the app and the cards?
CE: After about a year of development on my own, I spent six months working with developers to design, code, and publish the app. During that time I designed and animated the first 20 cards.
ST: How did your focus shift while developing Kineticards?
CE: In the beginning, I started with the app to see if (I could) create what I was imagining. I played around with the technology (to) find my boundaries and design concepts within them. After the app framework was developed, I shifted to the cards themselves, and that’s where the bulk of our energy remains. Each idea goes through sketching/storyboarding, illustrating the printed design, animating the AR-activated version and adding sound, design and music before integrating it into the Kineticards app.
ST: Did you encounter any obstacles during development?
CE: Building an app was new to me, so there were tons of challenges! Most of the solutions just came with time, trial and error … and Google. Once the app was running, obstacles (involved) delivering the product effectively to our customers. We’re still refining things.
ST: How did the feedback from NSS impact your new designs?
CE: We were thrilled to see how positively everyone reacted to our brand debut at NSS this year! We expected our silly, lighthearted designs to be crowd favorites but were surprised how much people enjoyed the weird and more serious ones too. Our biggest takeaway was on the user experience side; we brought back a lot of valuable knowledge on how to explain the cards to the public, and we’ve been working on sales tools to help retailers.
ST: How do you recommend retailers merchandise and explain Kineticards?
CE: Kineticards have self-explanatory packaging: On the front, there’s a play button with text reading, “CARD COMES TO LIFE / FLIP ME OVER,” and the three-step instructions are listed on the back. We always mention that the app is free, made by Kineticards, super easy to use, and collects no data. We encourage retailers with iPads to show customers a live demo; but if not, we include laminated signs and photos in every opening order.
ST: What’s next for Kineticards?
CE: On the tech side, we’re working on adding 3D capabilities into the app so animated pieces can actually pop out of the card surfaces, and we’re experimenting with user customization as well