Most social networks revolve around consumption but Studio puts the focus on creation, providing simple tools that allow users to create beautiful layered designs.
If the navigation buttons in Photoshop make you want to cry, you may be able to nurse your inner creative with a new app that recently launched on iPhone.
The app, called Studio, comes from a team of seasoned app developers, and while their other apps have seen success, this is the one they’d like to turn into a company. The team is currently in accelerator BoomStartup in Utah.
Joe Wilson, Studio‘s CEO, who is himself a designer, says the practice of design has the same limits photography recently escaped from, when smartphone cameras paired with apps like Instagram allowed non-photographers to share beautiful photos.
But, could a simple app enable a wide range of people to make their own designs? Based on my personal usage of the app, perhaps not. But it sure is fun.
How It Works
My first creation started with a photo of myself and a friend at a baseball game. I added funny glasses to our faces and a mantra that says « Today Is Good » via Studio’s free overlays — layers you can pile onto a photo, and change the size, angle and color of each. Studio sells design packs with additional overlays.
Next I put the mantra « Bloom Where You’re Planted » on a photo of the Manhattan skyline. I immediately realized this makes no sense, but I didn’t have a picture of flowers on my iPhone. Eventually I used a picture of myself with a new haircut, put a circle-shaped cutout frame on it and added what Studio calls a Social Jive, which said « Word! ».
You can share your creations to various social networks and the images are also saved to your phone’s photo stream.
Despite my clumsy experimenting, Wilson explains that the app isn’t about to let non-designers like me lament our design failures for long. A unique feature called « reuse » allows you to reuse someone else’s design — note, you cannot take their photo, you can only take the layers on top. So if someone creates a fun design on a photo of their child playing at the beach, you can reuse the design elements on a photo of your own child on the beach.
The app is already a top 50 photo app in the U.S., and is featured by Apple. Users have created 74,000 designs since launch, 29,000 from the reuse feature.
Studio also represents a shift in social networking.
Creation Vs. Consumption
Social media consumes time, Wilson says — it’s primarily a consumption activity.
« I’m only 28 years old and social networking is kind of sucking for me right now, » he says, explaining this was part of the inspiration for Studio.
In the same vein, checking Facebook has popularly been compared to opening a refrigerator, never quite sure what you’re looking for.
Studio, in contrast to other networks, is primarily about producing content — it’s a cooking class compared to Facebook’s empty refrigerator. In that, it has more in common with Snapchat, Tumblr and even Instagram — while these networks are great for consuming content, they encourage creation via various functions in each app, something Studio takes up a notch. In fact, I found Studio to be an alternative to smartphone games such as Dots, something to do while standing in line or waiting for a friend.