Somewhere between “all things Print-on-Demand” and “Creating a Design Culture” lies a turbulent explosion of ground-breaking startups. These are people who are acting now on the growing creative potential of emerging technologies like 3D manufacturing, and in the case of JuicyCanvas, highly personal and affordable print runs of ONE.
The idea of couple, Deb and Artur, the JuicyCanvas concept leapfrogs print-on-demand sites like Zazzle and Society6 because it allows non-artists (well, artists, too) to remix original art, share their personalized results on the web, and print them to canvas, t-shirts, pillows and more. You can resize, tilt and recolor your chosen artwork, plus change the background color, and even choose gradation. You can also add text, although for now there is just one typeface (Helvetica! but more typefaces are definitely on the way).
They are currently on the road, seeking venture funding. Even better, today marks the launch of their indiegogo campaign so the rest of us can get involved and help them improve their (already rather awesome) customization tools, offer more customizable products, add the work of more artists, and go global.
The site is active now, so I spent some time exploring the artwork and editing tools. The basic functions were easy to find, and as I played I found more.
I recommend experimenting with a couple of different types of artwork just to get a feel for what you can do. If you make something you like (or just want to try something else), but aren’t ready to buy, share your creation via the social media or email links below your workspace to generate a permanent URL you can return to later. That step also gets you free shipping if you’re in the U.S.
A few less-obvious features I was delighted to discover in the JuicyCanvas workspace were:
You can make colors transparent, allowing the background to show through
- You can use your keyboard arrow keys to nudge the artwork incrementally
Any artists’ work with subtle gradients and shading becomes posterized when it’s brought into the JuicyCanvas workspace. This allows you to choose a single color and modify it, but some artwork may not survive the journey from gentle shading to sharp color divisions. Still, don’t be afraid to experiment: the transformation could create unexpected serendipity.
- Artist’s work is for individual use only, and not for more than the one piece you design. However, as someone who is often designing to grow a brand, I’d look into allowing a business to post quality artwork to the site, as a contributing “artist”. Then fans (and fans-in-the-making) could mix up their own versions, share and print them. Yes, yes. That does fly in the face of traditional “brand management”, but regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised.
My personal Feature Wishlist
Color sampling! I’d love a way to precisely match the background color to an element in the artwork.
Ability to change layer order, so if I add text, I have the option to place the artwork on top of it.
Ability to see the artist’s name while I’m in “create” mode, as well as in any social shares I generate.
Option to disable posterization, which I realize would probably also
- And finally, I can see how it would be a tech nightmare with the current system, but I can’t stop wondering how cool it would be to combine two artworks, particularly a spot-type or one-color illustration over a pattern.
disable the color modification tools.
Interested in customizing a piece from a smartphone or tablet? Plans have already been set in motion to make JuicyCanvas a completely mobile-friendly platform.
Global shipping is also on the way. If you’re outside the U.S. feel free to start experimenting now. Just save your creations by sharing them (save or bookmark that URL). That way you can come back and order when the big announcement arrives in your inbox.
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