I suck as an art director but that doesn’t keep me from appreciating art and wanting to play at it. Having looked over the shoulder of some pretty good art directors, watching them silhouette and manipulate images and color, I know what can be done with the right tools. The problem is the tools aren’t ready for mainstream. And they are not free.
Polyvore is a women’s fashion website gets this and has developed a smart application where users drag and drop various clothing and accessories together into “sets” or looks. The UI (user interface) lets you flop things, flip things, enlarge, reduce, change color and purchase. By surrounding that functionality with comments, a community of fashionistas, and smart curating (showcasing Taylor Momsen and Keira Knightly sets, for instance) Polyvore has created a business.
Polyvore has tapped into people’s need to art direct or fashion direct and it points to a business I think is ripe for the taking. A company by the name of TechSmith is aware of this and sells a product SnagIt that lets you grab and copy pictures and images via screen grab and do with them what you will. It looks fairly easy and for active users is a deal at $49.95. But the web needs an ad-supported version of this software for free. Think of it as a rudimentary retouching site – much like Flickr was to photo sharing a few years ago. Make it simple and they will come.