Paper by FiftyThree

I’ve been a long time user of Paper by FiftyThree. I’m a huge fan of the company and the application. (Full disclosure: when I freelanced I worked with them a lot too, and they were a great client.) But just before I went on an extended road trip vacation a few weeks ago, they released an entirely new version of Paper, a universal app for the first time, bringing Paper to iPhone.

In the process of making Paper work for the iPhone, FiftyThree was actually quite daring, they rethought the entire app and so with the new version there were quite a few changes on the iPad version as well. Because I was going on vacation, it was the perfect time to try it out, to see what I thought of the changes and how it would work for me. I’ll be honest, my initial reactions weren’t good ones, but after using the app, I’ve come away with only a few things I wish would change, and to be honest, they are small things.

FiftyThree got rid of the journal concept, so the books with covers are gone and in their place are spaces, stacks of your ideas below a circular cover image. I’ve seen a lot of bad reactions to this change, but I came to like it with only one downside. If you do a custom image for the circular “cover” it can get lost in the stack it sits on top of. For example, my space for my 100 Day Project has my favorite sketch from that project on top, but it blends into the entire stack a bit too much. This isn’t a huge thing and I could change my covers to be symbols, which they’ve added to the mix helpfully, but it was a bit disappointing.

In addition to the covers being a bit lost in the shuffle of the spaces, you can’t move spaces around and if you create a new space, you are all the way to one edge of the app, but to see your stream of who you follow on what was Mix and is now just Paper, you have to go all the way to the right. So I spend a lot of time zooming between the two sides of the app spaces to see various things. Again, it’s minor, but being able to organize and arrange the spaces how I want would be great.

Finally, I have to say I love the new features they added. Being able to import photos and then draw on them or just write a caption or just share them is great. The addition of a word processor like feature is also really great. The swipe to style text works great and it’s nice to be able to have some headings or some lists if you want, it makes the app that much more versatile. Over the course of my trip I did a few moments from each day and I shared them, I loved being able to type up a small caption for each of them as well. I also had fun with being able to do some hand writing on photos and I’ve been seeing a lot of really creative things in my stream on Paper from other people, so I’m excited to try out more things. Someone took a photo of a plain white t-shirt and the remixes of it are fantastic to see.

If you want to see the types of things I’ve been playing with on Paper, I shared quite a bit as I traveled.