BY LEX BERKO

The future is being able to reach out and touch GIFs. Sounds impossible, right? The GIF is, after all, a computer-based format that exists only in that digital universe behind our computer screens. But in spite of that, Brooklyn-based digital designers Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang have come up with a concept for making GIFs tangible. They aim to create customized cards from the ubiquitous image format, a plan that they are now trying to fund via Kickstarter.

In order to bring GIFs to life, Binx and Hwang are in the process of developing a website through which users will be able to upload their favorite GIFs, select a few frames, and print those frames via a method called lenticular printing. You're probably already familiar with lenticular film—it’s that trippy material that makes it look like an image is moving when you look at it from different angles. I remember seeing it in my childhood on a few special edition trading cards and cereal box prizes.


Hwang and Binx vomiting rainbows in a GIF. 

Binx and Hwang think lenticular film is perfect for bringing GIFs to life: It is comprised of lots of tiny lenses onto which a manufacturer can print 10 or so frames of animation. “We think that GIFs and lenticular printing are two simple, lo-fi technologies that were made for each other,” they write on the Gifpop Kickstarter.

Beyond users being able to upload their own images, Gifpop will also offer art prints. They have teamed up with digital artists Mr. Div89-A, and Davidope, who are at the forefront of the GIF art explosion. Binx and Hwang say that most of the revenue from these particular prints will head directly back to the artists. “We are not interested in treating digital art as a second class citizen the way it often is in the art world," they declare.

As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign had just surpassed its goal of $5,000 dollars. With that money, Binx and Hwang hope to fund their first production run as well as pay for packaging and finish the website. But if the funding page keeps chugging along and heads on towards $10,000, they’d like to allow for Vine and Instagram support.

I spoke to Hwang via email about Gifpop's motivations and hopes, as well as the designers' opinions on all things GIF.

Read the full interview on Motherboard