The Breakroom

Introducing Iconfactory Stickers

September 13, 2016

By Webmaster

Iconfactory Sunshine Smilies screenshot for iOS 10

Today we are proud to announce the availability of 15 Sticker Packs on the App Store for iMessage!

We’re pretty sure Stickers are going to be the breakaway hit of iOS 10, so what makes ours better than the rest? Besides having some of the best artists in the business, we’ve also taken the time and effort to pack a bunch of unique features into our apps:

  • Bonus Stickers – When you collect multiple packs you’ll find some surprises: some will display extra icons with special themes! It’s our way of saying thanks for your support.
  • Customized – Our packs include custom colors and titles that make them easy to spot when swiping. You can also tap the pack’s title to toggle labels and see what the artist named their sticky creations. Be sure to turn on the labels in Monster Microbes and Stickypoo for extra fun!
  • Roll The Dice – Feeling lucky? Some packs include a randomizer that chooses a Sticker for you. Ask Mystic 9-Ball any yes or no question then tap to see his prognostications. Randomly roll the 12-sided die in Tabletop RPG and see what fate has dealt you!
  • Bundles – If you want to collect them all, this is the cheapest and easiest way to go. Head on over to the App Store to learn more about Iconfactory Sticker Bundles.

To get a taste for our Stickers, get Sunshine Smilies and Stuck On — they’re both FREE to download!

We’re also pleased to announce we’ve recruited some of the industry’s most talented artists & illustrators to create exclusive Sticker packs just for you. Be sure to check out the incredible artwork from Brian Brasher, Andreas Eckberg and Von & Savannah Glitschka of Glitschka Studios.

Fans have been enjoying our fun desktop icons for over 20 years and now with the launch of iMessage Stickers, we’re pleased to bring our talents to bear on iOS. Collecting, pasting and playing with Stickers in Messages is truly fun and a great, quick way to convey emotion. Whether it’s hugging it out Dyno style with your bestie, putting a naughty friend on your poo list, or maybe even sending flowers in a Victorian love poem to your better half, you can stick with the Iconfactory!

To see all our packs and to learn more, check out the Iconfactory Stickers mini-site. We hope you have as much fun using these Stickers as we did creating them!

Stuck on Stickers

September 1, 2016

By Craig Hockenberry

Iconfactory Messages Sticker Sample for iOS 10

You’ve heard of Emoji and use them every day, right? Even an old fuddy-duddy like me has swapped out :-) for 😀.

Something just as big is about to happen on iOS and they’re called “stickers.” When Apple touts them in the first sentence of the press release, it’s a pretty good sign of things to come.

Over the past several years we’ve been designing Stickers for clients, but it wasn’t until after the WWDC keynote that I realized Stickers share an important trait with Emoji. Both became a huge hit in Asia first and then that popularity carried over to North America and other continents. People are people and we love to communicate visually — it’s easier than typing and has a lot more personality!

This development has some significant ramifications for our business. This includes the apps we sell on the App Store, the apps we develop for others, and the design we do for clients.

But more importantly, it’s also going to affect your business…

What are Stickers?

The first step in understanding Stickers is looking at how they’re already being used in Asia. This overview by Connie Chan at Andreessen Horowitz is essential for understanding this trend in popular culture.

In the Line chat app, Stickers are a $270 million a year business. With numbers like these, it feels more like selling accessories to personalize your phone than the software we’re used to providing on the App Store.

Stickers have created new marketplaces for selling artwork, added a new dimension to character development and storytelling, and given brands a fantastic way to attract attention for products.

And you’re about to see the same thing happen here in North America.

Taking Advantage of Stickers

One of the easiest ways to leverage the power of this new medium is with promotional material. If you want to build buzz for a project, think Stickers!

Promotion is all about getting people to talk about your product. There’s no better place to do this than in a chat application like Messages. Instead of brand awareness in the one-to-many model of Twitter or Facebook, you’ll be using the one-to-few model of messaging. It’s more personal and more powerful.

Imagine you’re a movie studio with a summer blockbuster coming up. How great would it be to have people exchanging graphics like this or this during the run-up to the release? People will learn about the films during the normal course of conversation.

Plain Stickers

Don’t think this kind of promotion is limited to multi-million dollar budgets. We’ve seen that Stickers are a great way for smaller brands to raise awareness. Want to sell products to young people who have grown up with texting as a primary form of communication? Follow the lead of Benefit Cosmetics.

Even developers who sell traditional software on the App Store can take advantage of Stickers. If there’s a choice between a FREE app that has cute graphics embedded versus one that does not, which one do you think customers will download? Yeah we’re on that.

And if you’re a company that already has a well established presence on the App Store, imagine the ways you can delight your customers with chat images bundled in your next app update. With all all the work we’ve done with Emoji, we often get inquiries about doing “custom Emoji” for apps. Brand managers, Stickers are your answer.

Let Us Help

As you can see, the Iconfactory is well equipped to create Stickers. We’ve been designing these kinds of things for over 20 years. We’ve also been on the App Store since day one.

Branded Stickers

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that we have our own Sticker packs planned for the iOS 10 release. While creating these sets, we’ve learned a lot about how this new technology works.

There’s a lot you can do to transform Stickers from a static experience to one where customers interact with the brand or product itself. For example, imagine a pack for Star Trek or Indiana Jones with buttons that let you see a preview and order tickets.

Or how about a Sticker set that lets a gal pal know it’s time to get her arches in line by sending some flaming brows? The Sticker image is your entrée into a larger conversation with your customer.

If Stickers sound like something that can make your product shine, while boosting loyalty and awareness, we’d love to hear about it!

Exify & BitCam Updated

July 29, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Two small updates were released today that make using our new photographic apps that much better.

Exify v1.0.1 fixes problems with loading images stored on an iCloud Library, adds a progress indicator when working with large photos and fixes a couple important crashes.

Users of our retro photography app, BitCam, will enjoy the supercharged v1.0.3 update which now lets you transform existing images in your photo library into pixel-based masterpieces. When loading an image into BitCam’s photo extension, you can now choose both pixel size as well as black and white or color to apply to your photos. See BitCam’s help file if you have trouble installing your plug-in. Be sure to check it out, it’s really fun!

Both the Exify and BitCam updates are available now via the App Store. Enjoy!

Pokéwall Wallpaper for iOS

July 14, 2016

By Corey Marion

Screen shot of pokéwall wallpaper on an iPhone 6

We’ll admit it, we’re addicted to the new mobile game which seems to have the entire world caught in its tantalizing glow – Pokémon GO. We’ve been waiting patiently for Nintendo to get into the App Store for years hoping that when they did, they’d make a splash – what we got was a tsunami!

Now, thanks to a new mobile wallpaper from Ged, you can ride that wave all the way to your local Poke Stop and show off your lock screen to all those new friends you’ve made out in the real world.

Pokéwall is available for the iPhone 5, 6 and 6 Plus as well as the iPad. Head on over to gedblog.com to catch them all (yeah, yeah we know!). Have fun and stay safe!

Twitter Expands Twemoji for Unicode 9

July 13, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Twitter Twemoji Unicode 9 examples

Twitter has published an update to their custom suite of emoji – Twemoji – that covers over 70 new icons from the Unicode 9.0 specification. The Iconfactory was pleased to once again help Twitter bring these new additions to the social networking service. The update covers a wide range of subjects including an expanded set of diverse skin tones, food, animals and more.

Jeremy Burge has compiled a complete list of the new Twemoji which rolled out today along with a few notable updates to the existing Twitter suite over at Emojipedia’s blog. Be sure to check it out.

Twitterrific 5.15 Improves Discussions, Retweeting & More

July 11, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Twitterrific v5.15 adds several new features and greatly improves the way discussion and reply threads are handled within the app. When selecting a tweet in the timeline, users will notice a new explicit Quote Tweet button. This replaces the previous behavior of tapping and holding on the Retweet button in order to quote. Giving Quoting its own icon on tweets has allowed the tap & hold gesture to take on a new, powerful aspect that users will multiple accounts will love.

Screen shot of a selected tweet showing the new explicit quote button

Now when you tap and hold any of the primary action buttons on a tweet (Reply, Quote, Retweet or Like) if you have multiple accounts set up, you are presented with an option to take that action from any account. Want to like a tweet in your current timeline but from another account? No problem, just tap and hold the Like button and then select the account you want to like it from. Users can still choose to reply or quote from any account directly from the compose screen by tapping on their round avatar and changing the active account, but this new gesture acts as a shortcut to bypass that step and reply or quote directly from the tweet itself.

The other important improvement in v5.15 pertains to how Twitterrific fetches and displays both reply and discussion threads. When you swipe left on a tweet to open its discussion Twitterrific now does a much better job of fetching the entire contents of that thread or reply chain. This comes in handy when viewing tweet storms or complex, in-depth discussions from multiple users and even works if the linked tweet was first, last or in the middle of a discussion. The new discussion view also now shows replies and quotes of the tweet in realtime if streaming is enabled.

Twitterrific 5.15 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase. Visit Twitterrific’s version history page for the complete list of new features, improvements and bug fixes.

Iconfactory Founder to Appear on Food Network’s ‘Cake Wars’

July 5, 2016

By Cheryl Cicha

Emoji Cake Wars Banner

There’s no denying that emoji are all the rage these days. That’s why we were excited when the producers behind Food Network’s hit reality baking competition, Cake Wars, invited us to fly to LA to help judge a special emoji-themed episode which airs nationally in the United States next week.

It’s the most expressive episode of Cake Wars ever, as four talented cake artists compete to take their cake creation to a party celebrating everyone’s favorite little icons, Emoji. Who will earn a smiley-face, and who will earn a frowny-face? Judges Ron Ben-Israel and Waylynn Lucas, along with guest judge Gedeon Maheux, co-founder of Iconfactory, will decide which baker will take home $10,000.

Ged had the time of his life participating in Cake Wars and we can’t wait to see how the competition heats up and turns out. Be sure to set your DVR’s for Cake Wars’ emoji episode premiering Monday, July 11th at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network!

Behind the BitCam

June 29, 2016

By Ged Maheux

The folks over at The Apple Google interviewed me about BitCam, how the app came about and what went into bringing it to the App Store. There’s some fun insights in the discussion that are worth checking out like the specific challenges we faced when developing the retro camera for your “mini pocket computer”:

One challenge was the nature of today’s hardware with retina displays. Pixels are so small these days that they can’t be seen by the naked eye and so to make an app like BitCam where everything was pixellated and chunky took some planning and additional time. Also, today’s hardware is so fast that animation transitions can be nearly instantaneous, but obviously this wasn’t the case back in the day so we intentionally built in “slowness” into some portions of the app like the Super-Res view. When you pan your camera around, the display doesn’t update at 60fps, it does so in a “chunky” manner to help convey what it might have been like to have such a pocket camera back then.

BitCam has been receiving lots of great reviews from users and we couldn’t be happier with its reception. You can check out the entire interview over at The Apple Google, learn more about the app over on the BitCam home page or download it for free from the App Store.

Iconfactory Celebrates 20 Years

June 20, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Iconfactory founders: Corey Marion, Dave Brasgalla, Gedeon Maheux, Craig Hockenberry and Talos Tsui

Company founders (left to right): Corey Marion, David Brasgalla, Ged Maheux, Craig Hockenberry, and Talos Tsui in the same room for the first and only time back in the summer of 1999.

If you had asked any of us in 1996 if we’d still be busy making icons and crafting software twenty years later, we probably would have thought you were crazy. It’s hard to believe we’re still here designing icons for you, our loyal fans and clients. What started as a hobby between three (and then five) friends has grown to become something beyond our wildest dreams. Throughout this journey we’ve been blessed to work with some of the most talented people in the industry, honored by our peers and all while doing something we love. Who could ask for more?

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Iconfactory, and in order to help celebrate, we’ve put together “20 Years“, a webpage that highlights where we’ve been and how our art, techniques, and products have changed over the years. We’re also marking the occasion with special pricing on Flare, xScope and iPulse this week, so be sure to mark your calendars to take full advantage of these promotions.

We’ve also launched two brand new products. The first is BitCam, a fun, retro camera that lets you take old-school pictures circa 1996. BitCam is a great way to re-live the heady, early days of the Mac and has been receiving great reviews from users and press alike. The second new product is Exify, an iOS app that lets you peer inside your digital photos giving information on color range, metadata, location and much more. Written by veteran engineer Craig Hockenberry, Exify will help you better understand what makes a great digital photo. Both BitCam and Exify are available in the App Store today.

All of us here feel especially privileged that you’ve downloaded our iconic creations and software for the better part of a quarter century. In our own small ways we’ve done our best to contribute to the Mac & iOS community by giving back whenever possible. It’s our way of showing gratitude for the generous support you’ve all given us. As we look to the future, we’re filled with excitement for what technology and design trends have in store for us all. Join as we pause momentarily to look back and discover just how we got here. Explore and enjoy our digital tribute to the past twenty years, but please excuse us, we’ve got to get back to work. These icons and apps won’t design themselves!

Introducing Exify

June 20, 2016

By Craig Hockenberry

Exify for iPhone screen shot

For the past year or so, I’ve had an app on my iPhone that no one else has. It has helped me become a better iPhone photographer by letting me check composition and exposure. It also remembers when and where I took a picture. It lets me grab colors out of an image and even helped me understand how the CCD sensor in my phone works.

That app is Exify and you can download it today.

I originally wrote this app after I discovered how much additional information is embedded in the photos we take every day. Apple follows the Exif standard and includes a lot of metadata in our files. Unfortunately, much of this data doesn’t make its way into Photos and other apps that use our imagery: so I wrote my own.

Additionally, there is a lot of information you can extract from an image: things like sampling colors, measuring the proportions of a composition, and generating histograms that help you get the right exposure. Exify can do all that, too.

If you’re a professional photographer, you already know how important it is to copyright your work before distribution. Exify’s editing extension lets you add both a copyright and watermark to an image while editing in the Photos app. These edits are non-destructive, so you can easily remove the information and get back to your original photo.

One of the features I love the most about this app are the action extensions. They let you examine or query any image using the share sheet. Want to know where a photo in Messages was taken? Or check the info for an image you’re viewing in Safari? Or magnify the pixels of an image in Photos? Exify can do all of that and more.

For a full rundown of what this app can do, we invite you to check out the short video and documentation on the product page. Exify is available from the App Store today. Enjoy!