This Week in Kickstarter

Niamh and Sofia of "Why Can't I Be a Sushi?"
Niamh and Sofia of "Why Can't I Be a Sushi?"

Welcome back to This Week in Kickstarter (TWiK?), our periodic rundown of what’s been happening on and around the site. This installment comes during an extremely eventful week. For one thing, we spent yesterday officially launching a great new feature called Spotlight, which you’re welcome to learn about right here. For another, Zayn quit One Direction. It is a little hard to concentrate right now but here goes.

Contentious! Listen. I can’t speak with absolute certainty, but I’m fairly confident that a Kickstarter project has never before been discussed in great depth in the stock-market research on Barron’s. And yet here we are, thanks to the week’s newsiest project, Billion Dollar Bully. What’s the simple, super-objective way of describing it all? We’ll restrict ourselves to the following list of facts.

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The Process: Lisa Glover on Making Paper Dinosaurs

We first talked to Lisa Glover when she was running her first project, a paper velociraptor that you could assemble yourself. It turned out the internet loves dinosaurs (who could have seriously seen this coming?), and the project blew up — and nowadays Glover is dedicating her time to all things KitRex. She's running a second project, and this time it's for a paper pterodactyl. We asked her to walk us through the process of putting one of these guys together. 

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Introducing Spotlight

After watching more than 80,000 new creations take off on Kickstarter, we know that a project doesn’t stop at funding. We’ve seen projects go on to win Oscars, open restaurants, send satellites to space, and become a part of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. We’ve watched tens of thousands of projects come to life. Every one of them has a story of its own — and we want to help creators share those stories with the world.

That’s why we’re so thrilled to introduce Spotlight, a new feature that allows every successfully funded Kickstarter project to tell its story from beginning to end.

With Spotlight, successfully funded projects will turn into living, breathing homepages for their work. We’ve added simple tools that let creators customize the look and feel of the page, share their progress, showcase what they’ve made, add links to where you can experience their work for yourself, and tell their whole story, from concept to reality, all in one place.

Curious about how it works? Watch the video below. Curious to see what creators are already doing with it? Start exploring here.

For creators, Spotlight means the freedom to create a real home for their work, and make sure visitors can see the things they’ve made. For backers, it means an even closer connection with the creative process, and a bird’s-eye view of a project’s progress. And for everyone else, it means never coming across a Kickstarter project and feeling like you’ve missed it all.

Funding is just the beginning. Now, creators can turn the spotlight onto all the amazing work that comes next: creating great things and sharing them with the world.

Interview: Emily Gould and Ruth Curry of Emily Books

Emily Gould and Ruth Curry have been hand-picking dark yet illuminating, subversive books for more than three years as the publishers of Emily Books. The digital feminist subscription service offers one juicy read each month, celebrating and promoting writers that are ripe for discovery (or rediscovery, in the case of many of their re-issues). As Emily Books looks to broaden its scope and provide a new and improved online space for its community to gather, we talked to Gould and Curry about their working relationship, their tastes, and how to market a book that doesn’t neatly fit into traditional publishing categories.

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The Process: Bloom Blanket

A little over a year ago, Bianca Cheng Costanzo launched her Bloom Blanket project. The blanket simulated the folds of origami, but was not just an art piece, it could keep you warm too. As we watched the pledges for this intricate object come in, we wondered how she'd be able to manufacture them on such a large scale. Now that the blankets are in production, we asked her to tell us how she did it.

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By the Numbers: When Creators Return to Kickstarter

As Pebble’s latest project nears $20 million in pledges, on top of $10 million the first time, it still might seem odd that the company decided to return to Kickstarter. But the truth is that creators come back to Kickstarter every day. In fact, creators who have run more than one project have received over $511 million in pledges — nearly a third of all money pledged on Kickstarter.

Already in 2015, Pebble, Max Temkin, 3Doodler, Spark, and many others have returned to gather funding and a community around new projects.

By now that’s not so unusual: 22,000 Kickstarter creators — 12% of all of them — have launched more than one project. It’s easy to see why. The funding success rate for creators who come back after a successfully funded project is nearly double that of the overall site average — and their next projects do even better.

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Deep Space & Time: an Interview With Rachel Sussman

Rachel Sussman's work installed at Kickstarter HQ for Art & Photography Month
Rachel Sussman's work installed at Kickstarter HQ for Art & Photography Month

It’s not a question of whether or not the frenetic pace of contemporary society will twirl you into a panic, but when. As we hurtle around the sun on this spaceship we call earth, giving ourselves a moment to contemplate how small we are can leave us feeling quite strange indeed.

This is why speaking with photographer Rachel Sussman about her series The Oldest Living Things in the World makes for a meditative, calming experience. As her photos are installed in the Kickstarter gallery for Art & Photography Month, we had the distinct pleasure of hearing about the deep perspective that Sussman has gained through ten years of studying and photographing living organisms that are 2,000 years old, or older.

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