The Daily App: Create Your Own Hallmark Moment
The holidays are coming up faster than you can say "Ho, ho, ho," ushering in a busy season of present-buying, party-planning, tree-decorating, cookie-making and card-sending.
Some of these tasks can be offloaded to the Internet or other devices and done on-the-go, but some remain stubbornly analogue. While it's still hard to find a way to decorate a tree via app or phone, sending off holiday cards just got easier with an app that makes it easy to send personalized cards with just a few taps of a screen -- no more licking stamps and stuffing envelopes.
What's the App?
There are lots of ways to send cards via Web or an app, but Inkly's new card-making app, available for free for iOS with an Android version coming soon, offers a twist that makes it stand out from the pack, using the imaging and photo capabilities of the iPhone to send real, personalized cards.
You can browse a wide selection of cards and choose a card from the hundreds of designs available on the app. Then you can write a message on white paper and pen, personalizing the card with your own sentiments and thoughts. You take a photo of your message with your iPhone's camera and upload it via the app. Inkly then prints out the card on one of its high-quality digital presses and sends it off for you to anywhere in the world.
The company says its printing process is of such high quality that the recipient won't even know the handwritten message is printed. "Inkly uses advanced patent-pending image-processing and extraction techniques to make sure the handwritten message looks exactly as you wrote it," said Lee Hawkins, co-founder of Inkly, to The Next Web. "It is so accurate, that the recipient won't even know the handwritten message is printed. Combined with industry-leading printing presses and card stock, Inkly cards are printed to the highest possible quality every time."
The process is incredibly simple and streamlined, aided by the clean design and interface of the app itself, which is easy to navigate and even fun to use. And it's ten times easier than going out to a store, choosing a card, digging up a stamp and address and sending it off in the mail.
You'll Want It If...
You're lazy, pressed for time, in a crunch or agoraphobic, but still want to put in the effort to remember and show you care on special occasions like birthdays, holidays or "just because." Inkly's ease and convenience offers a mobile solution to a common time-cruncher during a busy season, taking care of a task that often gets pushed to the sidelines until the last minute.
Beyond its usefulness, however, users might appreciate the wide selection of designs available via Inkly, which boasts hundreds of cards, with plans to add hundreds more per month going forward. Going beyond the traditional soft-focus sentimental designs available at your local Hallmark store, Inkly emphasizes work designed by independent artists, designers and publishers from all over the world. Inkly's selections slant towards the whimsical, quirky and humorous, but there's still a nice range of more traditional work to choose from.
With a fine selection and the convenience of mobile, however, Inkly doesn't come cheap -- cards run about $5 each, paid for with your credit card or PayPal account. Though Inkly is an international operation, cards are printed off and sent from the U.K., which could explain the cost as well as the lag in mailing time to the U.S., which is about ten days on average from creation to arrival in your recipient's mailbox. Locations are being opened, however, in the U.S. and Australia, which may allay the costs and time lag somewhat in the future.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Inkly doesn't come cheap, and with the 10-day mailing time, it's not a true last-minute time saver for most U.S. users, which could keep the midnight run to the 24-hour Wal-Mart an annual holiday rite for the time being. But if you're going all the way with the personalized aspect of sending a card, why not sign up for an Instagram account, take a festive pic and make your own cards, postcards and gifts? Services like Instamaker make cards, apparel and other gifts from your images, adding your own creative spin to traditional gifts and holiday cards. ♦
Categories: Lifestyle | The Daily App