Static Pixels, a Montreal-based startup launching today, wants to help people turn their favorite Instagram photos into physical works of art. Heard that one before? Probably, since there’s no shortage of companies looking to do the same thing, including Instaprint, Prinstagram, CanvasPop, Kanvess, PostalPix and many more. But Static Pixels has a couple key differences that could help it stand apart from the crowd.
Founded by Massimo Farina and Lawrence Tenuta, Static Pixels offers a unique take on Instagram prints, first in terms of the materials it uses. Prints from the service, which at launch can be ordered in bundles of four five-inch square “DeepSquare” prints for $25 (plus $5 shipping in North America, and $10 internationally), are printed on paper-based corrugated board made from a combination of recycled materials and renewable resources. The startup also promises durability, thanks to fade-resistant UV inks, and says that all prints are 100 percent recyclable, as well as certified by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.
“We wanted to help people make their space their own, using their own art,” Farina told BetaKit in an interview. “We also wanted to go the sustainable route, not just put something on plastic or on canvas. We wanted something really unique, that was also eco-friendly.”
Farina himself has a long history of working in photography, and extensive experience with a number of printing materials, but he said the paper board just stood out and seemed to fit best with Instagram-style photos, both because they give photos some depth, and can go on a wall or desk without frames. But materials are only one part of Static Pixels’ unique take, and Farina believes their other difference is a key advantage in terms of ease of use for the service.
“We’re going to let people who’ve ordered from us before, order from directly inside the Instagram app,” he said. “We’ve built a system here so that basically when you log into our system and order four prints and we ship them to you, we’re now following you on Instagram. Then let’s say you’re at a photo and you take a photo that everyone loves, while you’re posting it to Instagram you could just @ reply us, and we’ll automatically print them, charge you and ship it out.”
Right now, that means ordering four copies of a print, which is good for sharing but not necessarily something people want to be doing frequently. The startup plans to introduce different order packs and formats, however, including a 10-inch square version of its DeepSquares, letting users tag their photos with their order choice. Additional versatility should add a lot to the value of being able to order at the same time you post to Instagram.
Even with a unique twist on their printed products and a clever trick for instant ordering, Static Pixels is entering a very busy space, and one built on another company’s platform. Still, Farina says they hope to expand to offer on-demand printing for other apps and services, and if they can attract a number of early users early before others copy their auto-ordering concept, they’ll be in good shape to compete in this emerging market.