Co.Design

Whims: It’s Like Instagram For Words

Wait a second, wasn’t Twitter the Instagram for words?

There’s only so much you can say in Courier or Times New Roman. Sooner or later, one has to spread their typographical wings, use a script font to show something is almost important enough to be handwritten, or a gothic font to show something is either celebrating Oktoberfest or influenced by death metal.

The core interface is very Instagram, right down to popular shared images.

Whims is sort of like a classy meme generator, or a social network for casual typography junkies. It’s an iPhone app that turns a short message—about the length of a tweet—into a fancily laid-out, T-shirt-ready slogan.

"Social networking apps have focused on photos and location-based features, which are great, but we’ve forgotten the importance of words," Whims CEO Alex Khorram tells Co.Design. "Form can complement content to provide greater expression."

Whims works a lot like any text editor. You highlight words, tweak font sizes, and augment spacing. What’s particularly clever, however, is that Whims features a series of pre-made style sheets. Just as you’d toggle between Instagram filters, Whims lets you mix and match cleverly named profiles like Daisy Buchanan or Bruce Wayne, even Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Each makes sense, either in a literal visual sense (Obama’s seems plucked straight from his campaign posters) or in a thematic, gut sense (Buchanan is still a cute flake).

Swapping Style Sheets instantly reskins your message.

"We think having an endless number of fonts, colors, sizes, spacing, and other design options would create too many options, and thereby reduce the overall usability of the product," Khorram explains (correctly). "We want users to have more than enough options to express themselves creatively, but not too many where it becomes too difficult to create a Whim."

Still, what happens when you get tired of your existing Whim collection? User-generated content—style sheets created by users—will offer more variety in the future. "Think about a Bloomingdales style sheet, a Georgetown University style sheet, a Dr. Seuss style sheet, and other designer style sheets," Khorram elaborates. "Anyone can submit one, and we will review and include in our library if they meet our requirements."

Spacing options can feel limited, but it’s ultimately for ease of use.

Despite its few thousand users, Whims may seem like it’s sitting in a pretty strange, even artificial, niche. After all, good writing can often express itself, can’t it? Do we NEED to HAVE more E X P R E S S I O N? But at the same time, there are more and more apps in this particular space—apps like Over, which actually superimpose text onto your photos. The entire web is growing more visual; why can’t words, too?

Download it (free) here.

[Hat tip: TechCrunch]

[Image: Letters via Shutterstock]

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9 Comments

  • Melissa Sugar

    I just discovered the whims app- ( late the the ball game again), but I love it and enjoy expressing myself through words. I'm not artistically or techno gifted so this app encourages and helps my creative side . It's a nice creative release outlet and I've read many other encouraging, uplifting and thought provoking whims designed by users of the app. I love it

  • madame_easybella

    is there an alternative for android available? love this app and tested it on a iPhone by a friend... but i have an android (and love it)...

  • Ashley Krista

    I can see this being used most of Pinterest!

    It takes a lot effort to move an application to another platform. Stop complaining. :)

  • Andrew Oid

     oh look another iphone only app. I guess when you have a demographic that will literally eat the founders deification you make sure they get all the new shit first.

  • lukash MAYYN

    Very interesting.  Stylish quotes are already all over Pinterest, this just seems like a cool, mobile extension of that thought.  

    Would love to give it a go except I have an Android...

  • knitpurlgurl

    The WHIMS app for Android is horrible!  It only allows one to caption their own photos.  There are no pre-made style sheets.  A big thumbs down!