Brooklyn-based creator Ellen Johnston was among the many rising stars at Cool Hunting's Pitch Night last month, and her digital concept shone just as bright as the many physical objects we admired. With iPad in hand, Johnston shared her app-in-the-works Makr. Geared toward creative entrepreneurs—from cafe owners and home brewers to freelancers and next-level at-home entertainers—Makr for the iPad puts branding in the maker's hands, with business cards, labels, flyers, stickers and more. The app makes totally user-friendly design tools accessible and much more affordable than professional software does, without compromising on beauty or design. And their templates—far from predictable holiday themes—keep it simple with all the right attention to detail.
"Makr grew out of both frustration and passion," Johnston explains. "It started as something we wanted for ourselves. We're a team of makers and DIYers who wanted a way to create great, custom, high-quality designs for the projects we work on." More than anything, Johnston is sharing her love of the old-fashioned craft by making it accessible online. "We're very passionate about digital tools that help people make physical things. I think there are a lot of great apps and software that live entirely on the digital side, which is great, but we believe there's value in something physical. We think there's an opportunity to bridge advances in technology with global shifts in the way things are manufactured and produced to create tools that enable everyone to be creative."
From the app's home, users pick from business, parties, wedding, baby, holiday and home categories to start creating. And if you're overwhelmed by the limitless design opportunities at hand, check out the blog tab for a bit of inspiration to see what fellow creators have gotten into. And with all the available customization tools, users can create something from a basic template that's totally one-of-a-kind.
Though we could spend hours fiddling with all of Makr's shapes, prints and patterns, we could just as easily throw a label together in moments if need be. And we're not alone in our customization enthusiasm; Johnston explains, "As a designer, I'm obsessed with the way Makr handles patterns and textures. Creating, colorizing and sizing patterns and textures is such a challenge with professional design tools. That's definitely a selfishly driven feature!"
In an increasingly paperless creative sphere, Johnston holds local paper production—and its benefits—close to heart. She elaborates, "I think the majority of paper waste comes from meaningless communication that's neither targeted nor creative. What we're trying to do is to enable people to make things that matter. Ultimately, we're fans of the maker movement over mass production, so we want to contribute to people making things in their kitchen or home and using Makr to keep the production entirely local. Hopefully a bottle of homemade hot sauce (which I made last night) will have a lower net environmental impact than hot sauce that's imported and sold in a grocery store."
Makr is offering all Cool Hunting readers 10% off all orders through the end of the year—just use COOLHUNTING10 at the checkout. The Makr app is available for free starting today in the App Store.
Screenshots courtesy of Makr