Jun 18 2018
Quickstarter: it's OK to think small
Today we're announcing Quickstarter. It's an invitation to create small projects—the kind you do mostly for fun. London-based designer Oscar Lhermitte came up with the idea for Quickstarter. He’s no stranger to big projects (like the time he literally promised people the Moon). But he also loves doing small ones “that are inherently beautiful because they are simple and manageable.” He launched the first Quickstarter project earlier this year as an experiment to see what he could create with a small budget and a limited timeframe. When he offered to come up with a way to help other people create small projects, we were quick to say, "Yes!"
Read Oscar's Quickstarter Manifesto below and start thinking about what you’d like to create.
As a product designer, creative consultant, and backer, I’ve been involved with many Kickstarter campaigns—some for my own projects and some for other peoples’. This includes large projects that got support from thousands of backers and required a lot of pre-production work, a full support team, and a large budget to come to life. But it also includes small projects—done mostly for fun—that are inherently beautiful because they are simple and manageable.
As exciting as big projects can be, I’ve learned just as much from doing the little ones. Kickstarter is a great tool to test out experimental ideas—things that don’t follow traditional models—and working on a small scale can give you the freedom to experiment and explore new things without putting too much on the line.
This is true for young designers and artists looking to launch their first public project, who might not have the budget to hire a videographer, spend months doing PR, or figure out a complex manufacturing process. But it’s also true for seasoned professionals who are looking to shake things up and try something new. So, I’m collaborating with the folks at Kickstarter to launch Quickstarter: a creative prompt aimed at inspiring small campaigns, just for the fun of challenging yourself creatively. Here’s what I have in mind:
Quickstarter is fun.
Quickstarter is DIY.
Quickstarter won’t take over your life.
Quickstarter is not a job.
Quickstarter is no big deal.
Quickstarter is about thinking small.
Here are some rules that I’ve come up with to help you get started. Feel free to adapt them to your own needs.
Rules for launching a Quickstarter campaign:
1. The development process—from sketching an idea to launching it on Kickstarter—should take no more than three months.
2. Keep the campaign under 20 days.
3. The funding goal should be below $1,000 (or thereabouts in your local currency).
4. The main reward should be under $50.
5. The video should be shot over one day with whatever camera you have (smartphone highly recommended).
6. Don’t do any PR and media outreach (unless you get contacted).
7. Don’t run any paid ads on social media.
8. No stretch goals.
9. Include “Quickstarter” in your campaign name.
Hopefully this has you thinking about some fun, small projects you’d like to create. But don’t think about it too long—go ahead and Quickstart it!
Jun 12 2018
Back in 2016, Kickstarter launched The Creative Independent as a resource of emotional and practical guidance for all kinds of creative people. Since then, we’ve published interviews, how-to guides, and essays from more than 430 working artists—including writers, filmmakers, dancers, designers, musicians, poets, and more. We’ve used each conversation as an opportunity to learn about the issues faced by independent creators today, and to gather wisdom on dealing with things like creative anxiety, burnout, and sharing your work.
One thing that has come up again and again in our work is the question of how to make a living. For visual artists today, the path to financial stability is neither straight nor predictable. When faced with the question of whether to seek out gallery representation, attempt to sell art on their own, or keep a day job while hustling to make art on the side, many emerging visual artists have no firm guide posts to look to on their journey.
Because The Creative Independent's aim is to be a resource for creative people, we decided to try and create something that could openly document how today’s artists are managing to make a living. This morning we've released a study on the financial state of visual artists today. In it, you’ll find information collected from 1,016 anonymous respondents reflecting their financial status, business practices, and overall experiences working within the art world.
The findings from the report are nuanced. For example, while about 60% of responding artists said they were earning less than half as much as the average American household, about half of respondents felt optimistic that they’d be able to become financially stable down the road. The data also demonstrates that for most artists, it’s not realistic to expect to make a significant amount of money through art sales (nearly two-thirds of artists are supporting themselves through freelance work, while only 12% listed gallery sales as an important means of support). Additionally, three-quarters of artists said they’d been learning to become financially stable through trial-and-error, compared to just 6% who’d taken a financial planning class or worked with a financial advisor. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In addition to the survey report, this week all of The Creative Independent's interviews and guides will focus on how to make a living as a creative person. You can explore everything we’ve published on the theme so far here. We hope the information will be useful if you’re working to forge your own path as a visual artist which, while not easy, is definitely possible.
—Willa Köerner, Creative Content Director at The Creative Independent
Jun 5 2018
Scroll down to read this post in English.
Que vous soyez artiste, graphiste ou amateur de polices de caractères, si vous êtes basé en France, vous êtes invité à participer avec un projet Kickstarter sur le thème de la typographie lancé entre le 1er septembre et le 31 octobre. Nouveautés, témoignages de créateurs et travaux typographiques seront mis en avant dans nos communautés du monde entier.
La France se passionne pour la typographie et la création graphique. De nouveaux studios voient le jour et les cours et ateliers de conception se multiplient. Pourtant, ce domaine en pleine expansion n’est pas sans obstacles pour les spécialistes.
« Dans un paysage aussi riche en termes d’offre et d’acteurs, il peut sembler difficile de se faire entendre et de diffuser son travail à l’international », affirme Matthieu Salvaggio, créateur de caractères, fondateur et PDG de Blaze Type.
« Les typographes français n’ont rien à envier à leurs collègues anglo-saxons quant à la qualité de leurs créations – c’est juste qu’on a plus de mal à se vendre », ajoute Yannick Mathey, qui a financé Prototypo, un éditeur de police de caractères en ligne, sur Kickstarter en 2014. Ces jours-ci, il prépare sa prochaine campagne.
La mission de Kickstarter est d’aider les créateurs à donner vie à leurs idées. C’est ici que des projets comme Hermetica (l’Helvetica des symboles occultes et ésotériques) ou Bacterium Typographica ont trouvé leurs premiers fans. The Type Writer, une revue expérimentale au carrefour entre la typographie et la poésie, a vu le jour chez nous. Tout comme une police de caractères inédite inspirée de l’écriture d’Albert Einstein, signée Harald Geisler.
Depuis 1994, étapes:, revue et plateforme référence sur les thèmes du graphisme et de la culture visuelle, s’engage à soutenir les créatifs et à rendre visible le travail des artistes émergents. Ensemble, nous souhaitons donner aux typographes français la possibilité de mettre leur travail sur une plateforme mondiale et entre les mains d’un public international.
Plusieurs designers de renom et créateurs Kickstarter récidivistes prévoient de lancer des projets dans le cadre de l’initiative Bold Type, notamment Prototypo, Benjamin Dumond et Lucas Descroix, Arman Mohtadji, Matthieu Salvaggio, Camille Boileau et Tassiana Nunez Costa et Cássia D'Elia, Bureau Brut et Guillaume Guilpart. Nous espérons que vous vous joindrez à vous et nous avons hâte de découvrir vos créations.
Des questions ? Envoyez-nous un mot à l’adresse email@example.com.
Announcing Bold Type, a Celebration of French Typography
If you’re an artist, graphic designer, or type enthusiast based in France, you’re invited to participate by launching a typography project on Kickstarter between September 1 and October 31. We’ll be highlighting new projects, telling creators’ stories, and sharing your work with our communities across the globe.
Typography and graphic design in France are thriving. New studios are steadily emerging, and design classes and workshops are bustling. But this rapidly growing field can present new challenges for designers.
“In such a diverse field with so much to offer and so many people, it can be difficult to leave your mark and to share your work internationally,” says typeface designer Matthieu Salvaggio, founder and CEO of Blaze Type.
“When it comes to quality, French typographers have no cause to be envious of their Anglo-Saxon colleagues—they are just having a hard time marketing themselves,” adds Yannick Mathey, who launched his online typeface editor Prototypo on Kickstarter in 2014 and is now planning his next campaign.
Our mission at Kickstarter is to help bring creative projects to life. It’s here that projects like Hermetica—Helvetica, but for occult and esoteric symbols—and Bacterium Typographica found their first fans. It’s where The Type Writer, an experimental magazine at the intersection of typography and poetry, was founded. And it’s where Harald Geisler created a brand-new font based on Albert Einstein’s handwriting.
Since 1994, the graphic design and visual culture magazine and platform étapes: has been committed to supporting creatives and shining a spotlight on emerging talent. Together, we want to help French typographers find a global platform and an international audience for their work.
Several notable graphic designers as well as past Kickstarter creators plan to launch projects as part of Bold Type, including Prototypo, Benjamin Dumond and Lucas Descroix, Armand Mohtadji, Matthieu Salvaggio, Camille Boileau, Tassiana Nunez Costa and Cássia D'Elia, Bureau Brut and Guillaume Guilpart... We hope you’ll join them—and we can’t wait to see what you’ll create.
Have questions? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR FREEDOMS and Kickstarter Launch a Campaign for the Largest Creative Collaboration in U.S. History
Jun 4 2018
Seven months ago, the artist Hank Willis Thomas came to Kickstarter and shared an idea with me. It seemed extraordinary—even unbelievable. He and his team at For Freedoms wanted to create one of the largest-ever creative collaborations in United States history: a call for cultural and civic action that would take place in every single state. Communities would choose their mode of participation—a billboard, town hall meeting, or special exhibition—but their goal would be singular: to create art across the country that would spark honest dialogue and reflection about issues that affect them.
Today, on Kickstarter, For Freedoms seeks support for the billboard portion of this initiative. Fifty-two projects will be launched, simultaneously, across 50 states (as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico), to commission artists and secure the reproduction of their work on 52 billboards. Individual communities will make these billboards come to life through local programming and discussion, but because the projects also have a home on Kickstarter, their reach—and their success—rely on people across the globe.
Billboards have deep roots not only within daily culture but also within contemporary art—notable artists like the Guerilla Girls, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, and Jenny Holzer have all experimented with them. They provide a way to convey visual information, sometimes subversively, to thousands of viewers on a daily basis. What better way to democratize access to culture than with such a public and accessible format?
Known as the first artist-run Super PAC, For Freedoms was founded in 2016 by Thomas with fellow artist Eric Gottesman. They’ve both spent much of their artistic careers dedicated to building community and representing those without the power or platform to have a voice. Those of us who have devoted our lives to the creation, support, and admiration of art know that artists are able to see and speak to a community in a way that is direct and often ahead of its time. For Freedoms, like Kickstarter, believes that art is a necessity in any productive society.
Join us in creating a massive community of arts supporters to ensure our collective future and highlight the connections between us all.
May 16 2018
Today we’re excited to announce that Camilla Zhang has joined Kickstarter as Comics Outreach Lead. As a creator herself, Camilla’s work has been published by Top Cow, Reading with Pictures, and Crossed Genres. She’s also worked with Marvel, Mad Cave, Reading with Pictures, and DC Comics, where she helped edit the entire Before Watchmen series, Batman: Black & White Vol. 4, Batman: Death by Design, and Batman: Noël. And last year, she was selected to be in Marjorie Liu’s Genre Fiction workshop at VONA, an organization for writers of color.
With over 6,300 zines, webcomics, community events, graphic novels, and more funded since our launch in 2009, the Comics category on Kickstarter is vibrant and diverse. Camilla’s breadth of experience in the comics world makes her an excellent addition to the team. And her passion for promoting empathy, inclusion, and equality through storytelling make her a great person to support, educate, and celebrate the wide range of creators bringing projects to life here.
Check out the Q&A below to get to know Camilla.
What drew you to comics as a storytelling medium?
I cut my teeth on Archie and the newspaper funnies. My mom used to co-run a deli and any unsold newspapers were mine to keep, so I clipped my favorite strips and saved them in a binder. As a kid, I loved how clever they could be in just a few panels. Each was a story beat. What’s more, only comics could achieve the exaggerated facial expressions and body language that really make sense for kids. They made me laugh and characterization was more immediate and accessible.
Later, I got into manga and Batman, the Animated Series, which opened me up to mainstream comics like Birds of Prey. I became obsessed with Cassandra Cain’s run as Batgirl. It was my first time since seeing Trini in Power Rangers (which is its own can of worms) that an Asian-American woman like me was represented as a hero. Reading about her struggles and triumphs felt incredibly validating. And the way Damion Scott drew action sequences and facial expressions (this was hard since Cass’s mask covered her entire face!) was awe-inspiring.
My tastes eventually leaned toward Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and more indie titles like Joe Sacco’s Palestine. It was amazing to see how comics could be stretched to tell all kinds of stories, from the dark and fantastical to the journalistic and slice of life. And finally, through Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, I saw how comics could be poetic and metaphorical, not just as a whole, but down to a single panel.
On a cultural level, what inspires me most about the medium is that it gives independent creators — especially those who have been marginalized — the power to foster a more empathetic society, one that celebrates multiplicity: diversity within diversity, if you will. For example, while Asian-Americans share similar experiences, each is still different. It’s the multiplicity of people’s stories that is beautiful. And it is multiplicity that dissolves stereotypes.
The comics medium pushes and leads the cultural zeitgeist, which spills into mainstream media like TV and film, thereby encouraging a larger audience to recognize nuance and empathize with those who seem different from them. Comics trends have shown that fans are hungry for inclusive stories by diverse creators and not just for diversity’s sake. I think they recognize that it’s bigger than sales and buzzwords. It’s holistic. It’s about changing the world.
What are a few of your favorite Kickstarter funded comics?
The ELEMENTS: Fire, and Boy, I Love You anthologies are some of my favorite Kickstarter-funded comics to date. Made by creators of color, the former is a fire-themed comics collection that includes stories about hot sauce that transforms you into a dragon and spells that burn away bad memories. The latter is a shorter Yaoi-inspired anthology, featuring both slice-of-life boy love stories and space mecha romance. The artists and writers in these books are so talented and their stories are truly unique, ranging from heartwarming to heart-wrenching (in a good way!). They’re really aligned with the whole “multiplicity” idea I mentioned.
What are you excited about doing with the Comics community on Kickstarter?
I am STOKED to raise up the comics community, especially marginalized creators. As a queer woman of color, it’s a very personal mission of mine to highlight LGBTQIA and PoC comics writers and artists. But specifically, I want to nurture those who may not be confident when it comes to self-promotion. There are so many talented people out there who deserve a larger audience. I think that, often, artists and writers can be shy and unsure about how to market themselves. I’d love to use my experience and new role to help with that.
What’s one great comic you recommend?
Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata. The graphic novel is about an Arab-American college student who struggles with epilepsy. The book has a very illustrative quality where ideas about fear and illness take on symbolic forms. The story beats are expertly timed, sometimes with black pages and palette changes. I actually read this while I was going through a bout of depression and it resonated deeply with me. It made me think a lot about self care, self love, and how it’s important to let those who care about us actually care for us. We aren’t weak for accepting or asking for help.
May 16 2018
Take part in a season-long celebration featuring new poetry projects, live readings, and more.
Poetry, one of the world’s oldest art forms, is thriving online. With so many options for how to share work and engage with new audiences, it seems like there has never been a more exciting time to be a poet.
Kickstarter is a place that connects poets and poetry publishers with readers who care deeply about their work. Since 2009, more than five hundred poetry projects have come to life with the help of the readers and poetry lovers on Kickstarter. We’ve seen chapbooks like No Experiences, anthologies like Anchored in Deep Water, translations such as Then Come Back (the lost poems of Pablo Neruda), a live performance series from Button Poetry, and even a poetic tarot deck.
In June, we’re launching our first-ever Summer of Poetry, a season-long celebration featuring amazing new projects and poets for you to discover, poetry readings on Kickstarter Live, and events at our Brooklyn HQ. We want to spark conversations about what poetry is, who gets to write and publish it, how poetry sustains us, and how we can expand the world of poets and poetry.
“Poetry surprises and deepens our sense of the ordinary. Poetry tells us that the world is full of wonder, revelation, consolation, and meaning.” —Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate
We invite you to participate in these conversations with us by launching your own project sometime between June 1 and August 30. (Check out our video about how to raise funds and build community around your poetry project on Kickstarter.)
Learn more about Kickstarter’s Summer of Poetry here, and be sure to send your project links, treatises, explorations, readings, videos, events, raw material in all its rawness, and any other ways you are celebrating poetry to email@example.com.
We can’t wait to hear your voice.
Summer of Poetry Kickstarter Live Readings Schedule
Fran Wilde [2-3 PM Eastern Time]
With an MFA in poetry and a masters degree' in interaction design, Fran Wilde genre-hops between poetry, programming, and speculative fiction. Fran's poetry and fiction has appeared in Who Will Speak For America, Uncanny Magazine, The Marlboro Review, Poetry Baltimore, Tor.com and Nature Magazine, and has been a finalist for multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. She recently completed Clock Star Rose Spine, a new poetry collection.
Elayna Mae Darcy, Unraveling Light [3-4 PM Eastern Time]
Elayna is a writer and filmmaker from Philadelphia, who spends her spare time professionally fangirling as a podcaster and former MuggleNet.com staff member. She also serves as a Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month, a November writing challenge that she has participated in since she was 14.
May 15 2018
Last year we announced Hardware Studio, an initiative from Kickstarter, Avnet, and Dragon Innovation that helps hardware creators get ready for manufacturing. A major part of that effort is Hardware Studio Connection, which allows qualified creators to get one-on-one advice from the electronics and manufacturing experts at Avnet and Dragon.
The Connection program has been a bit under the radar since then, but that’s about to change. After spending months developing their projects with help from the experts, four participants in the program are launching on Kickstarter today.
These projects will stand out in two ways. All participants in Connection will have a “Hardware Studio” badge under their project video:
And elsewhere on the project page you’ll see one of four insignia awarded by Avnet and Dragon experts. The first is Engaged, which indicates that a project has been accepted into the Connection program. Then there are Ready 1, 2, and 3, which are awarded based on the experts’ assessment of the project’s stage of development, with Ready 3 being the most advanced.
These insignia are meant to help backers gauge the readiness of a creator to fulfill the promises of their Kickstarter project. You can learn more about the insignia system on the Hardware Studio site.
Our mission at Kickstarter is to help bring creative projects to life. We teamed up with Avnet and Dragon on Hardware Studio because we saw that manufacturing problems were tripping up hardware creators after they were funded. That was frustrating for them and, of course, for their backers.
The best way to improve creators’ chances of success, we decided, was to equip them with information and expertise before they launched on Kickstarter. We’re so happy that we now have a system in place that can make this happen, and that Kickstarter creators can benefit from Avnet and Dragon’s deep knowledge and experience.
You can see all Connection projects on this page. And be sure to check out the projects that are launching today. We asked their creators how Hardware Studio Connection had helped them prepare:
RaceYa by Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson: Customizable radio-controlled cars that teach kids about engineering.
“The Connection team really helped us control our bill of materials and ensure we’d thought of all the individual product (and project!) details before we launched. We have a distributed team, so we’ve also found Dragon's Product Planner tool extremely useful for keeping everyone on the same page when it comes to the details of the car’s design.”
Syphon by Daniel Fukuba: Wine dispenser and preserver using argon capsules to protect wine from air.
"The Hardware Studio Connection team helped identify issues we would face as we scaled our designs. This led us to develop automated test fixtures that could simulate years of product use. Their experts also helped analyze our bill of materials so we could appropriately set our campaign funding goal."
MagneTag by Adam Cohen: Wearable electronic scoring system for playing tag, using magnets and foam swords.
"Our first Kickstarter for MagneTag didn't fund, and that was actually a blessing in disguise. When we started building that initial design it became clear that our plan wasn't fully thought out and we would have probably run out of money. The Connection program really helped us understand what drove our costs and revealed potential challenges we might not have seen until it was too late."
RF-1 by J. Kevin Crowell: Cycling computer powered by Android, with dual lights and a video camera.
“Hardware Studio has been extremely helpful in making sure you’re as prepared as you hope you are. By evaluating your project they help you solidify your plans for the next phase, whether that be budgeting, timelines, technology, or engineering."
If you’re working on a hardware project, we hope you’ll consider applying for the Connection program. And if your project is just in the idea stage, remember that our Hardware Studio site is a growing source of practical information that can help with your planning.
May 14 2018
Today we’re happy to announce that Meredith Graves joins Kickstarter as our Director of Music. Meredith embodies a spirit of creative independence at the core of Kickstarter. She’s a talented writer who explores music, language, and identity for publications including Pitchfork, SSENSE, and i-D. She’s the founder and frontwoman behind the hardcore punk band Perfect Pussy. She established the independent record label and book publisher Honor Press. And most recently she was an anchor and journalist for MTV News, where she discussed rank-choice voting and Album Generic Flipper with Krist Novoselic, freestyled with Migos, and accidentally became a meme after a particularly Chance encounter with Beyoncé.
People have funded more music projects than any other category on Kickstarter — 27,488 albums, performances, independent venues, archival re-releases, and experimental events that span genres and geographies. We couldn’t be more excited to have Meredith here to support fellow creators who will build on that. In her own words:
Every day, all over the world, brilliant shit isn’t getting made because nobody has the money.
That which is not appropriately supported, historically, falls. Structures both concrete and theoretical rely on institutional backing as a form of loaned power. A band, a social initiative, an ideology, a house: not one can get off the ground without a strong foundation. One person’s success does not mean your failure — but this being true doesn’t make it fair that ten or fifteen major label artists receive a disproportionate amount of the money and resources available to the industry.
We the artists have, for too long, been on the wrong side of that divide. A lack of resources, perceived or actual, is the first and largest stumbling block most people encounter on their journey to rock-and-roll enlightenment. We know deep down in our bones that we could open that all-ages show space or community studio, record that life-changing anthem, compile and exhibit the whole histories of regional scenes — if only we had the money, time, support, resources. We lose sleep over internal conflicts like this, sleep we need in between band practices and dishwashing shifts, tired already but unwilling to close our eyes against the possibility of someday —
— all because music matters.
The most powerful institutions in the world are proposing more direct threats than ever toward our ability to speak and create freely. This honestly feels dangerous: the world is being deprived of the brilliance of billions, art that could theoretically affect future generations in the same way we stay fixed on Sappho, Virginia Woolf, Alice Coltrane.
Directly funding art is a display of public conscience: putting a few bucks toward the transformation of a historic property into a public center for music and healing, the archiving of a marginal composer’s body of work that may otherwise be lost to time, or a high school hardcore band’s first tour is one way to vote for a sort of continued normalcy. It’s doing your part to ensure beyond a reasonable doubt that, come what may, the choirs will keep singing, the punks will keep photocopying, and we will continue to live in a world more beautiful because there is jazz in it.
Likewise, as we finally begin the arduous process of skimming the scum from atop our societal talent pool, directly funding artists and creative projects is one way to assure that resources remain in the hands of People Who Aren’t Garbage. Even the worst of the worst tend to fall hard without institutional support. Cooperatively organizing around musicians and artists who represent the kind of behavior we’d like to see exhibited in the world is one thing; surrounding a castle of enemies and starving them out, another. Pulling resources is a counter-revolutionary tactic, just as much as providing resources determines who gets to create, who is seen, who is helped, who survives.
This is as much about helping new, unsigned artists develop a base network of care and support as it is about funding institutions and artists who have worked tirelessly for decades so they can continue to operate freely and without interference: a stable model that, if we start hashing it out now, will only benefit us when it turns out to be what we want in the future.
I’m here to help figure out new ways to assure that all of us, no matter where we are on our journey as musicians, feel more-or-less amazing every day we get up and create, sing, compose, bawl, shred, whatever it looks like when we allow ourselves to create freely. To reinforce continually the importance of the arts; to prove there’s still meaning and possibility in a cold world, to show the powers that be how little they can do to stop us from realizing our dreams.
We start with, and amongst, ourselves — we are figuring this out together. I’m so honored to be joining you here in this emergent world, bursting at the seams with song, with more than enough room left over to accommodate every single one of our dreams.