Chrissy Eckman is merging her love of typography, illustration, and design with augmented reality to create greeting cards with more meaning.
Chrissy and I met when we were just 12 years old. There are two things I remember clearly from our early days as friends: she was always brilliantly smart and her notebook was filled with the best doodles. As the years went on, Chrissy became known in our community for this creativity and talent, starting with a Will Smith drawing that hung in our high school hallway (and later in many a college dorm room). She ended up attending Savannah College of Art and Design, where she dove deep into the world of design and emerging tech and developed her current business, Kineticards.
Meet Our Fine Friend, Chrissy Eckman:
Who are you?
Hiya! I’m Chrissy Eckman: designer, animator, entrepreneur (currently girlboss of Kineticards), former Chief Nutella Ambassador, and feline enthusiast. I grew up in Pennsylvania and I am currently soaking up the southern charm of Savannah, GA.
What’s your background?
My heart lies in art & design; I studied motion graphics + graphic design at SCAD as a supplement to my traditional art background. Two of my biggest loves are typography and illustration, and I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with them in the time-based digital world of motion design. I also love the challenge of using design to build brands. And on the personal side, I do a lot of hand-lettering and sketchbook doodling just for fun.
Most recently, I’ve been focusing on emerging tech, specifically augmented reality and how it can be used in a digital space to strengthen our physical relationships.
Outline a day in your life.
After snoozing a hundred alarms a few too many times, I wake up, eat a toasted bagel with cream cheese, brush my teeth (with my Quip toothbrush — LOVE that thing…) and the rest totally varies day-to-day. Right now, I spend the majority of my time in the Kineticards studio, whether designing or animating, researching, filling orders, brainstorming new ideas or troubleshooting old ones. Two things that stay consistent: I drink a whole lot of coffee and I never skip dessert at the end of the day.
What inspires you?
I draw inspiration from a lot of areas, but I will say that the best way for me to fuel the creative process is to clear my mind by going outside and soaking up the sights + sounds + feelings of nature. Those are the moments when I can really dig deep and analyze the sparks of creativity that I’m constantly collecting from all different parts of life.
What do you listen to while working? While relaxing?
Typically, I don’t listen to anything at all while working; sometimes the silence will bother me and I’ll decide to put background music on, but most days I don’t even notice. When I do, I like choosing a random song that fits with whatever I’m feeling and then making an Apple Music station out of it. Same goes with relaxation — I like creating randomness within limit of whatever mood I’m in.
Talk us through the process of creating Kineticards. How did you come up with the idea and bring it to life?
Kineticards began as my senior project at SCAD. I knew I wanted to create something that could be valuable in the real world, and I was looking for a way to combine graphic design with motion, so eventually I landed on AR as a means of bringing printed greeting cards to life with animation. I spent ten weeks teaching myself how to build an AR app and pushing the limits of my personal skill set, and then ten more weeks building a brand and a prototype within those limits. By the end of the project, I designed and animated nine cards, each one linked within the app I created locally on my device, and I developed a cohesive brand identity around the name I chose: Kineticards. To showcase everything, I also made a promotional video for the (at the time, fictional) company that was “coming soon to a store, mailbox, or party near you.”
That video helped me land a spot as one of the first participants in SCAD+, an entrepreneurial business launcher for SCAD alumni with commercially viable products. Fast forward a few months and I am now halfway through the program, with Kineticards for sale in stores + online and a free app available on the App Store + Google Play. I was able to hire a team of developers to assist with the programming while I focused on refining the brand, growing the card collection, and preparing to sell commercially. There are now eighteen designs on our online store and even more in the works. Every card is special because of the amount of thought that goes into each one; from the written text to the illustration to the animated versions of both, all accompanied by sound, and supplemented with hidden stories that can only be revealed through the app. I’m very proud of how far the company has come in the first three months, and I’m even more excited about what the future holds for Kineticards.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Life’s too short to drink black coffee.