Fleksy adds an art marketplace to spice up its keyboard app – TechCrunch

by Emma

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Fleksy, an autocorrecting AI keyboard which competes with big-guns like Google’s Gboard and Microsoft’s Swiftkey, has a new way to catch users’ eyes: Art keyboards.

It’s just launched FleksyArt: A marketplace for artists to sell digital works to its users so they can customize the look of their keyboards.

Fleksy has had keyboard themes before. But the art marketplace aims to go further — opening its platform up to all sorts of artists to digitally distribute work to its “millions” of users for display on a piece of essential smartphone real-estate (it points out the keyboard is the second most used app on phones, after all).

As this is keyboard art, the illustrations and artworks appear with the letters of Fleksy’s keyboard overlaid. So the startup warns legibility is important. Clearly some designs are going to work better than others. But beyond that the creative sky is the limit.

A collage of some of the different artworks available on the FleksyArt marketplace (Image credit: Fleksy)

FleksyArt is starting with several digital artists onboard, including María Picasso i Piquer, Lucila Dominguez, URKO and Maru Ceballos.

It’s inviting other artists to sign up by submitting a portfolio of work for review here.

Victoria Gerchinhoren, Fleksy’s chief design officer, explains how it works: “When we receive the portfolios, my design team approves for having the artwork in our marketplace,” she tells us, noting Fleksy has already handpicked a few artists to get the ball rolling. “I send them guidelines on how to prepare the assets and I write the last specs before publishing inside the product.”

“There defined guidelines in terms of the number of pieces (always packs of 2-4 themes) and artists can create as many packs as they want. We suggest the pieces inside each pack have a connection, they can be connected by an idea or style,” she goes on.

“We publish the packs in a dedicated section in the host app (which we redesigned with this in mind not long ago) then communicate in social media. We’ve also just launched the website section with interviews and the artist profiles and bios so they have a nice place to be showcased.”

Fleksy is setting a flat price of €2.99 for all art packs — in order that artists selling on the marketplace “have the same price and competition is fair”, as Gerchinhoren puts it.

It’s doing a 50:50 revenue split on sales — after Google’s 30% commission has been factored in. So this means that Google gets €0.89 per sale, and the artist and Fleksy then split the rest.

Fleksy has also confirmed that artists retain copyright of their works.

“We’re setting this collaboration on a revenue-share model,” it notes on its website. “You’ll receive 50% of the revenue after Google’s 30% commission. We think this is fair since you’ll provide the Artwork and Fleksy implements & distribute your Artwork. Payments are made bi-annually, upon our receipt of a legal invoice from you.”

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