Clayworks Studio/Gallery – where handmade artistry is alive and well!

Every once in a while, we find a business that reminds us of the fact that quality truly does count. In today’s mass-produced, that’s-good-enough, just-push-it-out-the-door-fast-or-lose business culture, it’s refreshing to find a company that believes in the human touch, attention to detail, and taking the time to get it right.

Clayworks Studio - John Gray

John Gray carving detail on a handmade clay sconce

Clayworks Studio/Gallery  on East Sixth Street in Austin, Texas is just such a company. Owners Chris and John Gray produce architectural ceramics – lighting sconces, hanging fixtures, decorative tiles, ceramic address plaques, decorative pottery – and they do it the traditional way, with intensive, hands-on, human involvement, using the finest materials, and possessing an unshakable dedication to producing high quality items. We recently produced a series of Cinegifs for Chris and John to use on their website and in their marketing and communications campaigns, and we really had a blast meeting them and watching the true artistry involved in the creation of their products.

The Cinegif  above at right is barely one megabyte in file size, which makes it portable enough to open and play instantly in emails, on websites, and in e-newsletters.  Go to our website, and sign up for a free trial to create your own Cinegifs – harness the power of Quality Video Anywhere for your own marketing and communications efforts – it may just give you the chance to flex your artistic muscle!

GIF’s Tipping Point

As the GIF turns 25, it’s about time that the clever image format start making some money.  The GIF is enjoying quite a resurgence in popularity –  primarily among teens using Tumblr, and among photographers and artists experimenting with miniaturized or isolated areas of motion within what appear to be otherwise still photographs.  A good modern GIF captures just enough of a specific moment to illustrate motion, yet leaves enough out to spark your curiosity – to make you begin wondering what the back story is that’s associated with the motion.  That connection to a sense of wonder and imagination is a major contributing factor to why teens and artists are the ones helping us redefine what a GIF is.  The problem is, many teens and artists don’t have any money!  Given the current lack of heavy financial support, some say that this new GIF trend will come and go, fade as just another passing fad, and never really infiltrate the mainstream.  I beg to differ. I say that the current trend is just a precursor of the real economic opportunity that lies ahead.

Trends typically start small, and as they grow, they tend to find their own “tipping point” – often in unusual and oblique ways.  It seems that the real opportunity for GIFs is in the $280B advertising and marketing industry.  As more ad dollars continue to switch to digital content in the form of e-mail campaigns, website graphics and mobile ads, the more we all will battle for consumer attention.  To remain competitive, we will all have to “think outside the box”, and begin utilizing technology in ways that leave no stone unturned.  Teens and artists have already begun the first steps in that process, exploring the creative side of the technology.  Businesses (marketers) will slowly begin seeing other advantages to a new form of communication that is as engaging as a video, but as simple to use as a photo.  The real opportunity lies in this new category of interaction – the GIF as a new short form of communication that bridges the gap between our insatiable appetite for video and our rapidly shrinking attention spans.

Monetarily, GIFs will begin to make an economic impact when any of the following three tipping points occur:

  1. A major stock photo supply house begins licensing GIFs
  2. Facebook fully supports GIFs (as is the case on Tumblr)
  3. MS Outlook 2007 & 2010 email clients make up less than 5% market share of all email client users (9.7% today)

I expect one of these tipping point events to occur within a year from now (Summer 2013), and for all three to take place by the end of 2014.  This will open the flood gates, and the marketing community will rush to incorporate animated GIFs, using the medium in a variety of creative ways that will capture our attention and dramatically increase audience engagement.   Based upon current industry data, I expect that GIF licensing will make up 18% of the total $2B stock photo licensing market by 2018.  That is about where video stock sits today, following a five year trend similar to that projected for the GIF.

Based on that logic, by 2018 it can be expected that GIFs will account for approximately $350M in annual licensing revenue.  “Conventional” video in all formats will continue its strong growth, topping $525M by 2018, and still photography will see a steady decline, due to incremental displacement by the other two media – but still photography will, nonetheless, account for $1.1B in annual licensing revenue in 2018.  The entire market can be expected to stay relatively flat due to other economic factors, however – but the over all mix will begin to favor the newer, more engaging formats.

So what does it all mean?

At 25, it’s time for the GIF to move out of Mom’s basement and into the real world.  Time for it to begin supporting itself – and we can all help, by showing businesses how this forgotten file format has gone hipster, and is truly ready to shine!