Kelly Smith, creator of the CafePress-acquired Imagekind, has finally unveiled his most recent graphic arts startup, Inkd. Like Imagekind, Inkd is a marketplace for buying and selling art. Only this time around, Kelly has shifted the focus to creative content for business, like brochures, letterhead, and business cards.
Like a stock photo agency, Inkd lets graphic designers upload and promote their work, while letting users (ideally small businesses) browse and purchase their designs. For simplicity’s sake, the submission process has been streamlined; all designers have to do is choose from Inkd’s preset document types (business card, letterhead, etc.), download the accompanying template, and then submit to Inkd’s staff for review. When a user buys a given design, roughly 20 percent of the cost is kicked back to the designer.
For the small business owner, Inkd could also prove to be a boon. In addition to streamlining things for designers, the search, purchase, and licensing processes have been simplified for buyers, too. Buyers can search within Inkd’s network of over 800 original agency-quality designs, or search through the original designs that have been submitted to the site. Once a user purchases a design, they’re free to adapt the work. And if they choose to work individually with the designer down the road, Inkd has waived the usual finder’s fee.
When VentureBeat last reported on Inkd in September, it was fresh out of its first $1.7 million round and known as “PressPlane.” Now that Smith has brought the company to market, it will be interesting to see if the same business model that made Imagekind acquisition-worthy will have a similar effect on Inkd. After all, user-generated designs and DIY marketplaces have done well for online t-shirt and poster sales, but the small business market is another creature entirely.