Print Mosaic, a new startup out of France, wants to unlock the print potential of digital images stored on social networks. That’s not exactly an original angle, with startups like Static Pixels, CanvasPop and many more trying to cash in on variations of the same business model. Print Mosaic offers something a little different though, since it focuses, as the name suggests, on Mosaics, which founder Guillaume Fradin, a filmmaker by trade, believes provides a unique final product.
“There are indeed a bunch of apps that allow you to print online photos. But mosaics have a special place in those products, in the sense that there are unlimited possibilities,” Fradin explained in an interview. “There is no limit to the different variations of mosaics you can make. Not only that, but when you see people looking over a mosaic and spending time looking and discovering all those small images, you see them covering a wide range of emotions.”
With Print Mosaic, users simply use photos stored on Facebook, Instragram or Dropbox, choose one image as the overall picture, and let the service adjust the remaining stock of pictures to create it as a composite. You can then embed a digital version anywhere on the web, or order an 80 x 60 cm print in Europe for €39.95. For all other locations, you can order a super high-resolution digital version (12,000 x 9,000 pixels) to have it printed yourself for €9.95. It’s a little pricier than some existing web-to-print options, but Fradin also points out that what Print Mosaic offers is unique even from other image mosaic services in a few key ways.
“There are already some tools to create mosaics similar to the ones Print Mosaic offers, but they suffer from a few issues,” he notes. “For one, they are limited in the photos you can build the mosaics from. Either it is software you can download and install, in which case you can only use photos that are on your computer, or it is a web app which will only take photos from Facebook.”
Not only does Print Mosaic support Instagram, Dropbox and Facebook already, but Fradin also offers an API to make it easy for developers to access its functionality with virtually any photo service by rolling their own integration. That’s also a smart way for Fradin to minimize engineering overhead, since he doesn’t have to work on building integration for every service requested by users.
As for future plans, Fradin says he’s hoping to expand the choices in terms of sizes and types of materials for prints, and will focus on improving the mosaic creation algorithm the company employs, for instance to help preserve fine details. He also says they’ve gotten a lot of requests for black and white mosaics, and intends to introduce that capability in the next few days.
Print Mosaic is self-funded, and is also incredibly lean in terms of how it works. As with others basing their business on a perceived desire by consumers to unlock their digital photos in a way that has real-world impact, the challenge will be building a lasting, growing audience, but at least Print Mosaic is approaching the problem from a unique technical perspective.