Shakey Monkey Space App – 2011

In 2011 we created an App that allowed hipsters to shake and create almost limitless poster layouts. We did it tongue in cheek but not everyone took it as a joke.

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In early 2011, Apps were an exciting new platform. Clients kept asking if we did them but we had no past record to show. So we set ourselves up as Apple registered developers and created two Apps to show off our skills.

The first was used to detail our monthly cultural outings – Cog Nights. It was a relatively simple app with a map of venues, a short review of each outing and a photo gallery.

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Our second App was more of a game – The Shakey Monkey Space App.

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We’d spotted an aesthetic trend. Every magazine, every website, every student portfolio seemed to have a poster featuring an animal in space with some colourful geometric patterns behind it.

We set about making an App to spoof that trend. With a shake of the wrist you could create your own trendy design, apply it to a poster (displayed, of course, by someone holding it from behind by their fingertips), and post it on social media.  

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Essentially we created layers of space imagery, geometric shapes and cut-out animals which, when activated by a shake, selected randomly into a single image. There were more than a million combinations.

The App got us a lot of interest from other designers who enjoyed the joke but I don’t think many of our clients cared as much. We also got a fair amount of interest from people who took it very seriously. One Belgian fashion house asked, with no sense of irony, if they could use the images across their website; we were so flattered that we said yes.

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Almost as quickly as they became popular, Apps were superseded (in most of our client’s needs) by mobile-responsive websites. With a few exceptions, we never did break into the big-time of App development.

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Sadly, the Shakey Monkey Space App is no longer available on the App Store. And, as I pulled out my old iPhone 3G to help write this entry, I noticed that the battery had bloomed and the phone has died, taking our only working copy of the App with it. If anyone still has a version, please do let us know, we’d love to play with it again.

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