GIFs have been sold before, but until recently, the file format has been marooned online. Now, a Kickstarter-backed pair of designers are bringing the meme-enabling moving pictures into the physical plane using a method invented in the 1940s.
Lenticular technology was developed more than 70 years ago
Sha Hwang and Rachel Binx have started a company called Gifpop! and are using lenticular film to print GIFs. You'll likely recognize lenticular film from the front of childhood notebooks and stationery: it's a ridged plastic surface that, when tilted, produces a moving image. It's not particularly high-tech stuff — The New York Times reports that lenticular technology was developed during World War II — but advances in fidelity have meant that Gifpop! will be able to produce cards that display a GIF-like range of motion.
Gifpop!'s Kickstarter launched yesterday and was funded almost immediately. The GIF is more than 26 years old and is still the best medium for showing frolicking dogs, but it's also rapidly becoming the file format of choice for internet artists. Some of Hwang and Binx's first lenticular cards feature works created by GIF artists including mr div, davidope (above), and 89-A. The Atlantic reports the two designers were inspired in their venture by Cards Against Humanity, another card-based Kickstarter success. Hwang imagined a Cards Against Humanity-style game played with reaction GIF cards: "One card would say, ‘My face when I see my ex with her new boyfriend,' and then players would put reaction GIF cards down."
Gifpop! still has 25 days of its Kickstarter campaign to go and hopes to ship its first custom cards to backers in November. Its stretch goals include using Instagram and Vine in addition to GIFs to create lenticular cards.