Highlights from Bold Type, Our Celebration of French Typography

Version française ci-dessous.

This fall, Kickstarter and the French graphic design and visual culture magazine étapes: teamed up to launch Bold Type, a celebration of typography in France. From September 1 to October 31, we invited artists, designers, and type enthusiasts of all stripes to launch typography projects on Kickstarter.

Twenty creators took part, creating inventive new typefaces, playful typographic illustrations, new design publications, and more. To date, they’ve found support from over 1,200 backers, who have pledged more than $75,000 to help bring these projects to life. (There’s still time to support a few of them!)

Read on for a selection of standout live and successful projects from the Bold Type initiative, and to hear from a few of the creators who joined in.

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What $4 Billion Pledged to Creative Projects Looks Like

Last week, the Kickstarter campaign for Street Masters: Aftershock received a pledge of $209. For the creator, the independent game studio Blacklist Games, that represented another step toward bringing their board game expansion to life. For Kickstarter as a whole, it represented a thrilling milestone: $4 billion pledged to creative ideas on our platform.

Over 154,000 projects have been funded on Kickstarter with the support of over 15 million backers, more than 5 million of whom have supported more than one project. That’s 15 million people who have helped over 123,000 creators make hip-hop anthologies, DIY microscopes, animated documentaries, intersectional feminist zines, kinetic artworks, card games featuring combustible cats, and so much more.

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Make 100 with Kickstarter in 2019

You’re invited to launch a limited-edition project in January as part of Make 100.

In January 2017, over 470 creators launched projects as part of Kickstarter’s first year of Make 100, a creative initiative focused on limited editions of 100. Since then, we’ve seen creators take the idea in directions we never expected.

To kick off 2019, we invite you to join the Kickstarter community and launch a Make 100 project of your own. Whether you’re a curious first-timer or an experienced creator, there’s no time like a new year to take a creative risk, explore a new direction, and make good on your creative ambitions.

A few inventive Make 100 projects by creators Sara V. Ramirez, Jenny Odell, Mike Ambs, Derrick Schultz, Thierry Blancpain, and Jenn de la Vega
A few inventive Make 100 projects by creators Sara V. Ramirez, Jenny Odell, Mike Ambs, Derrick Schultz, Thierry Blancpain, and Jenn de la Vega
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Announcing Zine Quest, a Tribute to RPG Zines in February 2019

This winter, let us summon the ancient forms and blazon our sigils on portentous parchments!

Emerging in the early 1970s, RPG zines were hugely influential in the early days of role-playing game fandom and publishing. Inspired by classic titles like Judges Guild and Alarums & Excursions, Kickstarter is inviting creators to launch their own RPG-inspired zine projects in February 2019 as part of Zine Quest, a celebration of these influential documents.

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A New Approach to Our Work on Drip

Andy McMillan and Andy Baio of XOXO. Photo by Searle Video.
Andy McMillan and Andy Baio of XOXO. Photo by Searle Video.

A year ago we launched Drip, a tool for people to fund their creative work on an ongoing basis. We saw this as another way to fulfill our mission — to help creative projects come to life — outside of the project-based funding we’ve pioneered with Kickstarter, and creator resources like The Creative Independent.

Since its launch, Drip has operated as an invitation-only service with about 100 creators. Recently we began talking with our friends at XOXO, Andy Baio and Andy McMillan, about the best future for Drip, and the best way to support creators and creative work through such a tool. These discussions opened up a new direction that we want to share today.

A New Project With XOXO

We are partnering with XOXO on a new project that will ultimately replace Drip, one in which Kickstarter will be taking more of a supporting role. The project, which will build on the work of the Drip team, will help independent artists and creators get discovered, find a community to support their work, and build a long-term, sustainable career.

To date, subscription-based funding has proven to be a viable source of support for YouTubers, podcasters, and other serial digital-content creators — but it is still a challenging model for artists and other creators whose output is less episodic. With Drip, we endeavored to build a method for ongoing funding to support creators who didn't see subscriptions as fitting their creative practices. Andy and Andy are in an excellent position to pursue that goal, as well as to better serve creators who are already finding traction with this model.

XOXO has formed a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) for the new project, which will be led and driven wholly by the vision and experience of Andy and Andy. Kickstarter is contributing seed funding, making the Drip code available to them, and providing other support. Andy and Andy’s work in developing XOXO, the premier festival for independent artists and creators who work on the internet, has been a master class in how to support people who fight every day to bring their ideas to life. They are the best people to be leading this new effort.

Kickstarter and XOXO have a long and deeply intertwined history. In 2012, XOXO was launched through a Kickstarter project. It has since grown into a thousands-strong community filled with people creating new things — and many of those people have used Kickstarter and Drip. Andy Baio was Kickstarter’s first CTO, has remained a longtime friend and informal adviser to its founders, and most recently served as a Kickstarter Fellow, working often with the Drip team.

Supporting Current Drip Creators

Kickstarter will continue to operate Drip in its current state for another year. We’re committed to supporting creators and subscribers on Drip while the new project is developed. (In fact, the Kickstarter and XOXO teams have already been in close contact with many Drip creators about the change in direction.) We’ll help creators export their content and securely transfer subscription and payments information to the new platform when it’s ready. And if a creator wants to leave Drip sooner than that, we’ll help them move to another platform.

Our Mission at Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a Public Benefit Corporation with an obligation to serve our mission, not one to maximize our profits. When we make big decisions, we focus on impact — how can we help people bring more creative projects to life? We still believe ongoing funding can work for a broad range of creators, and we’re big believers in the ability of Andy and Andy to make that happen.

Meanwhile our teammates who have been focused on Drip are being rededicated to the big challenges and opportunities within Kickstarter itself. We’re a relatively small company in the internet landscape (140 people), so that shift will have a real impact. Simply, there’s a lot to do through Kickstarter proper, and we’ll do it better and faster with more helping hands.

We’re thrilled to be working with XOXO, and we’re looking forward to supporting them as their plans take shape. You can read their announcement of the new project here.

Introducing Designed by Artists

Artists on Kickstarter are launching projects that push beyond their own categories, working in disciplines like Design and Technology to develop products that bring communities closer together. Here on the Arts team, we’ve asked ourselves how to best elevate these cross-category projects—and what resources artists need to build their first product.

Today, we’re excited to announce the beginning of a new initiative called Designed by Artists, a celebration of Kickstarter projects by artists building community-centered products. From conceptual dating apps to hardware for new media art, these projects create thoughtful, useful products that enrich the lives of the people who use them—and we’re here to help you to make one too.

Join the initiative.

Similar to initiatives like Kickstarter Commissions and our Design and Technology team’s Request for Projects, Designed by Artists is an invitation for you to launch a project. This time, we’re looking to highlight artist-designed products that take their bold ideas outside the patron, gallery, and institutional models—and put them in the hands of the community they serve.

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Toward Better 3D Printers: A New Test From Autodesk and Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a well-established home for 3D printing. Over 200 campaigns focused on bringing new 3D printers to life have been funded here. Innovative industry-leading companies like Formlabs got their start on Kickstarter. Hundreds of other creators have launched filaments, fixtures, print heads, and other projects that support this dynamic ecosystem.

To ensure that this community continues to thrive on Kickstarter, we’ve been working with our friends at Autodesk to address a challenge that our creators and backers face: lack of a common standard to assess the performance of FDM 3D printers. (Fused Deposition Modeling is the standard layer-by-layer process that you’ve probably seen even if you’ve only encountered a few 3D printers.) Today, we’re happy to announce that with generous help from Autodesk, we’re releasing a new open-source printing test for Kickstarter creators.

Kickstarter already requires that 3D printer creators demonstrate the current functionality of their devices through videos of prints in progress and photos of finished prints. However, creators often showcase different types of prints, from geometric vases and abstract art to more common tests like the 3D Benchy. This makes it hard to compare the performance of various machines.

Autodesk research scientist Andreas Bastian has developed a test procedure designed to help creators better calibrate their machines and showcase their printers’ capabilities to backers on Kickstarter. He developed a single, consolidated STL file that tests a printer’s dimensional accuracy, resolution, and alignment. For example, poor execution of the “bridging” feature shown below will lead to a saggy and stringy print. A well-calibrated printer will make the horizontal feature with fewer of those issues.

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