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Custom-made avatars

Work & Lifestyle

Two recent spottings highlight a fun new business idea that will definitely appeal to consumers’ gravanity: personalized avatars in their own image. Based in Brooklyn, graphic artist Lina Chen creates digitally illustrated portraits. Working from photographs, her black and white images are stylized likenesses of their subjects. The finished product is a digital file, delivered as a vector image, which lets customers enlarge their portrait without losing image quality. In a small size, digi-portraits make excellent avatars or buddy icons. Prices depend on a portrait’s complexity. Meanwhile, in Britain, Cute Little Blokes is targeting gay consumers who’d like a caricature of themselves or a friend. Again, customers email a digital photograph, and receive their portraits as digital files. A week after payment has been received, Cute Little Blokes sends the customer the finished product in a number of files, including personalized mobile phone wallpaper and a desktop computer background. Customers also have the option of buying various versions of their portrait, dressed in different outfits or holding props. Cute Little Blokes are sold for GBP 30 (USD 55 / EUR 44). Besides being used as online icons or in print, the images can be produced on gifts like mugs and t-shirts, which are also sold on the company’s website. Great new business for creative minipreneurs who know their way around Illustrator. Start-up costs are minimal – a cool website and some smart online promotion will do the trick!


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