Try this right now: Posterista
Most of us have hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos strewn across the social media landscape, and Posterista can drag them kicking and screaming out of the virtual world and into the physical one.
So what is Posterista?
It’s a web service that delves into your Instagram, Facebook or 500px accounts to grab images and use them to create montages for real-life posters.
There are a number of options: you can choose between landscape and portrait orientations, layouts of just squares or a mixture of squares and rectangles, dark or light backgrounds and, of course, the size of the printed poster.
According to south west England-based designer and co-founder Marc Phelps, Posterista was borne of need. “It really hit home for me when a friend recounted a story of his 4-year-old asking him why there were plenty of images of her brothers and sisters printed around the house, yet none of her.
"As the youngest, she was born as social media was really taking off – and while her father’s social profiles were filled with treasured snaps of her, he hadn't taken the time to actually print these to show them off around the home."
Fellow designer and co-founder James Cowdale says the service promises "to make it impossible to create a bad poster from your photos". Now there's a challenge.
What sizes are available?
There are six in all, ranging from 70 x 100cm to 30 x 40cm. The former will set you back £44 plus delivery, while the latter is the cheapest option at £15 plus delivery. You can also have your images framed, which obviously bumps the price up a fair bit, or download them as PDFs to print yourself, which is much cheaper at £5.
The default number of images for a 70 x 100cm poster is 150, but this can be knocked down to 104 if you wish. For the smallest size, it’s 54 and 28 respectively.
How do I go about creating them?
The Posterista site is slickly designed and the interface for making posters is pretty much idiot-proof. A column on the right lets you choose the layout, size, orientation and background colour, a column on the right lets you login to the social networks, and in between them is a preview of your poster. You can’t place each image individually (a drag and drop option would be welcome), but you can shuffle the whole lot around, and remove any pictures you don’t like.
Aside from the aforementioned inability to manually place photos within the montage, there is room for improvement in a couple of other areas. First, it’d be nice to be able to bring in photos from multiple social networks on a single poster; at present, you’re restricted to one. Also, Flickr is mentioned on the Posterista front page as a supported network, but the makers are still working out the API details and as such it isn't available for use at the time of writing; they say, however, that they're in the final stages of this and it should be up and running soon.
Besides adding Flickr to the mix of compatible social networks, Posterista's creators have some interesting new features lined up for the future. There will be new layouts, the ability to add typography and filters to posters and functionality that allows users to crop images. An iPhone app is also in the works, and this will allow users to upload images from their iPhone or iPad's photo roll, as well as social networks.
They also plan to bring the service to other countries, which currently have access only to the self-printable PDF versions of posters. They're already in talks with distributors in Australia and New Zealand, and the US and Japan are next on the list.
And after that? Co-founder James Cowdale tells us that other ideas for new products are on the horizon: "We are full of ideas – but at the moment we are focussing on Posterista and making it a brand leader. This will involve some pretty cool ideas and innovations."
Just what form those innovations might take, we'll have to wait and see – but we shouldn't expect things to become too complex. "We have learned the power of when to stop with a design: simple, elegant and beautiful will be the checksum of each product. We will make it our mission that you can't make an ugly poster!"