Unfold, an App for Designing Instagram Stories, Gains Steam

Instagram’s Stories — featuring short, disappearing photos and videos — are now read by 400 million people per day. An app called Unfold, created specifically for Instagram Stories, is growing in popularity. Alfonso Cobo, an architect, created Unfold in March 2017 and the app already has 11 million users. Cobo is also opening a design agency to help brands and companies that need to create compelling content for Stories. Cobo originally created Unfold as an app for designers to use the iPad to create portfolios.

Fast Company reports that Cobo “saw there was a huge potential in Stories,” which is why he made the switch. In October 2017, he also partnered with Andy McCune, whose Instagram account @Earth has 1 million followers. His app “features seamless UX that lets you build a story out by electing individual page templates from five different series, each with a different aesthetic, and then add photos and text.”

The finished content can then be downloaded to the phone “where each page will save as a separate image, easily uploadable to Instagram (or you share directly on the app itself).”

The initial strategy was to get Unfold to influencers; it is used by celebs such as Selena Gomez, Shay Mitchell, and Spanish soccer player Sergio Ramos. Now, Unfold is “growing at a rate of 100,000 app downloads per day … [and] the company’s 12-person team is on track to bring in $2.6 million in revenue for 2018, with no investment and no marketing dollars spent.”

Unfold is now also in use at companies including Topshop, Four Seasons, Interscope Records, and the Arsenal football team, and has “hit No. 1 in the Apple App Store in nearly a dozen countries including Italy, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cobo’s native Spain.”

Unfold for Brands, the design agency, is the company’s next step — this after companies have already used Unfold to create 50 million Stories. Cobo’s new design agency created its first customer-branded Story for “the luxury fitness company Equinox, with 13 templates that Equinox’s social media team and its trainers can access using a special code in the Unfold app.”

Cobo, who is inspired from paper products such as magazines and analog technology such as film photography, said it’s “been interesting for me to go back to my roots of architecture and bridge architecture and UI design.” But he is not enthused over the idea of supplying companies “with custom-designed templates for their own use … and plans to keep his focus on the consumer app for now, with about one branded template launch per month.”

Other companies that offer Instagram templates include “general web design mobile apps like Canva and Adobe Spark.” Easil, another desktop design tool, “launched templates for Stories in 2017, and today about 35 percent of its 1 million users have used the tool to create an Instagram Story.”