If you’re the kind of person who would love to sketch out great charts, graphs, or timelines for professional presentation, but lack the necessary artistic skills to do so, then meet Think Kit.
Created by a company called FiftyThree, Think Kit is an iPad app that attempts to try to figure out what you meant to do with that crooked circle, geometrically incorrect triangle, or sloppy arrow, and translate it into something that’s suitable to share with an audience of executives.
In a nutshell: Think Kit is autocorrect for your artwork.
How does it do that? It employs something called an “Intention Engine,” which is not only a really cool name, but also a sophisticated algorithm that reads your bad geometry and fixes it. The end result is the type of drawing you would expect to see on a sophisticated shape-producing application like Visio or PowerPoint.
Not only that, but once Think Kit has prettified your attempt at a business presentation, you can customize the output as you see fit, just as you could with other enterprise apps. You can change the fill colors of shapes, the shade of lines, and even specify intersection colors, such as when circles overlap in a Venn diagram.
Think Kit is effectively an extension of another app, appropriately called Paper.
Paper is as the name implies: a digital canvas that you can use for doodling, sketching, drawing, and/or creating. It’s an idea waiting to happen. It only needs someone to put virtual pen to virtual paper to turn the idea into a reality.
Appropriately enough, Paper was itself born of necessity.
“It was that humbling realization that when people ‘need to get creative,’ they’ll reach for a legal pad, whiteboard, or sticky note,” said FiftyThree co-founder Georg Petschnigg. “That’s pretty humbling for a team that made laptops, mobile devices, and Microsoft Office for a living! We realized that we use pen and paper like everyone else, because it is simple, beautiful, and lets you express your ideas freely. So we set out to bring some of that simplicity and beauty to software. We wanted a tool that works more like we think.”
Petschnigg said that the unique selling proposition of Paper is that it merges artistry with practicality.
“There are many note taking applications which are useful, but boring,” he said. “Then there are paint programs that require a lot of skill to make something beautiful. Paper is where productivity and beauty come together.”
“I think that drawing shapes how you look at the world,” says the narrator in the Think Kit promo video. “And how you’re looking at the world affects how you think about the world.”
“It’s like a process of exploration,” says one of the other narrators. “You start just getting pen to paper and it becomes real.”
The video features testimonials from people who talk about the importance of visualization and how Paper helps them see business problems and solutions.
However, the limitation of Paper as a standalone app was that it didn’t attempt to fix the problems created by the technical set who didn’t doodle with accurate shapes or pretty charts. Now that Think Kit has been introduced to market, even those who struggle to create something that looks great on paper can do so.
Think Kit is a crutch. It helps those who otherwise would struggle to help themselves. It’s a way to turn a shabby, thrown-together patchwork of shapes and lines into something that can look like it was crafted as a professional design.