There's nothing more exciting than meeting someone with a really fantastic concept, and no idea how to make it a reality. So when a client came to us for help connecting social media to physical printers, we were over the moon. They wanted to know how the technology could be put in place to make this work, and how to turn the idea into a business. We couldn't wait to find out.
Plan. Create. Iterate.
In 2013, there was no easy way for users to download pictures from Instagram. After speaking to a few users so keen to print their photos that they resorted to taking screenshots of the page, we realised there would be high demand for a service that made printing easy.
Our main priority was to make our service really uncomplicated. Besides, Instagram's own massive success came from their simplicity — they did just one thing, but they did it well — and we wanted to emulate this. We devised our Instagram-focused service as a minimum viable product (MVP) to test the concept with an audience.
As we were involved in this business right from the start, we were able to work on all aspects. We collaborated on the name, the visual identity, and the development of the whole brand. We built an online printing platform that threw out all previous traditions of e-commerce, drawing inspiration instead from social media sites.
We didn't want to force users to register for our service; instead, they log in with their Instagram credentials, and all their photos are instantly within reach. The photos are effortlessly transformed into beautiful Polaroid-style prints to give users exactly the retro experience they crave.
It's time to iterate!
Once we'd tried and tested how to make a truly simple social printing service, we knew exactly how to expand the experience. We wanted Instabear to work with Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or pictures uploaded from users' computers. For this next iteration, user experience was the most important part of our design. Instabear is simple, slick, and fast, with minimal steps to create and buy.
Navigating the site doesn't drag users through a series of pages, but brings the content to them through subtle animations and fades. Instabear is focused not on our products, but on the user's own pictures. It is interactive; it is personal — like a social media network should be.
Taking this bear on the road
As Instabear found success with users, we started to talk to global brands to explore how Instabear could be relevant to them too. We realised that making use of online social engagement at live events would allow brands to engage with their users in a whole new way — so we created our revolutionary social screens and live printers. Through futuristic screens controlled by hand gestures, this service encourages guests at live events to upload their content to the brand's hashtag, and rewards them with a beautiful high quality print to take home — as well as the thrill of seeing their content broadcast live at the event.
We've travelled from Barcelona to LA providing brands like these with successful ways to engage their users: