Kickstarter has become a huge influencer in the startup space, as well as in the entertainment and arts industries among independent creators. Everything from movie sequels for popular TV shows to potato salad have been funded on the site, along with making a lot of dreams come true for creators and entrepreneurs.
But after most Kickstarter campaigns are completed, companies and projects have to continue to exist on the Web. That means websites, in most cases. Studying how different projects and companies have handled their post-Kickstarter websites provides some fascinating insight into what happens after the fundraising stops, as well as how Kickstarter is perceived in various industries.
Film & Video
The film and video category is one of the largest on Kickstarter, with numerous campaigns earning over a million dollars (including one that raised over five million).
Wish I Was Here
The website for Wish I Was Here is a fantastic example of what a film website should be. It makes it easy to find the pertinent information about the film while keeping things simple and visually striking. They don’t mention the Kickstarter campaign anywhere on the home page.
The Kung Fury website is simple and to the point. The trailer is featured prominently, as is the Kickstarter fundraising information.
The Bridegroom website is simple, putting the emphasis on the awards the film has won, with easy-to-find links to more information. It doesn’t mention the Kickstarter campaign anywhere on the home page.
Enemy of Man
The Enemy of Man website resembles a big budget Hollywood studio film site more than any of the others here, which makes sense considering some of the stars of the film (including Sean Bean and Rupert Grint). The Kickstarter campaign gets a prominent link in the top navigation, right alongside links to the trailer, synopsis, and cast.
Web series The Outs has a simple but visually striking website design, featuring stills from the show itself in a background slideshow. Links to info about the show (including a watch link, about, soundtrack, and more) are easy to find along the bottom. There’s no mention of either Kickstarter campaign on the home page.
Mentions of Kickstarter are pretty evenly split among film and video projects, with some not mentioning their origins and others displaying it prominently. Only one site, though, opted to include more than a link to their Kickstarter campaign (as opposed to information about the amount raised, etc).
The design category covers a ton of different projects, but seems to heavily feature product designs. It’s also the only Kickstarter category that has had a project raise over $10 million.
Lomography Petzval Art Lens
The Lomography Petzval Art Lens microsite has a simple design with a slideshow in the header, with links to all the information you might want about the product. A link to the Kickstarter campaign is included in the main navigation.
The Kano website uses parallax scroll animations that help to explain what the product is and what it does. The only Kickstarter link on the home page is included among the other social links in the footer. Instead, the site focuses on media coverage they’ve received and making the product come alive.
The Lomo’Instant microsite is minimal with images of the products front and center. It’s a single-page site, with camera specs, media coverage, a photo gallery and more. It also includes a prominent Kickstarter badge right at the top of the home page.
The Brydge website focuses on a product video, with the different product options featured directly below it. There’s no link to or mention of the Kickstarter campaign on the home page, a departure from most other design campaigns.
The Vanhawks Valour bike website has a clean and simple design with large images of the bike on the home page. Simple top navigation makes it easy to find the information you might be looking for. A Kickstarter badge is located prominently right next to the pre-order button.
Most of the products in the design category prominently feature links to their Kickstarter roots. This makes sense, as uber-successful Kickstarter-funded projects tend to get a lot of press and a lot of attention from the design and tech communities.
The games category covers both digital games and physical games, so it has tons of diversity, with quite a few projects raising well over a million dollars.
Kingdom Come RPG
The Kingdom Come RPG website has an animated header that draws in visitors. It also prominently features a link for visitors to contribute, though it’s directly on the website rather than via Kickstarter. In fact, there’s no Kickstarter link at all on the home page.
The Shadowrun Returns website is primarily a blog, deviating from the norm of other sites in this category, with links for where to purchase the game in the sidebar. There’s no prominent mention of the Kickstarter campaign.
The Oculus Rift website packs a lot of information into the home page, with top navigation, product info, news, and more. While this was a very prominent and successful Kickstarter campaign, the only Kickstarter mention is in the site’s footer.
The Camelot Unchained website is another site that continues to crowdfund after their Kickstarter campaign has ended. Pledges are taken directly on the website, with no intermediary. The only prominent Kickstarter mention is in their fundraising tally chart, where they display the Kickstarter total alongside the PayPal total.
The Star Citizen game website offers up tons of information about the game, plus links to pledge and reserve your ship in the game. There’s a lot of information packed into the home page, which can make it difficult to find the info you want. There’s no mention of Kickstarter on the home page.
One common thread among a number of successfully-funded games is the fact that they continue fundraising after their Kickstarter campaigns have ended, often raising a significant amount of additional funds. Most of the game sites don’t mention Kickstarter prominently, regardless of whether they continue to raise funds or not.
The technology category has been host to some very successful projects over the years, with some of the biggest successes focusing around 3D printing and music-related tech. And of course there was the campaign to resurrect Reading Rainbow.
The Airdog website is fun and creative, matching the design of the product itself. Product pre-orders are listed right at the top of the home page, along with media coverage the product has received. There’s a fairly prominent Kickstarter badge, along with information on how much money they raised on the site and how many backers they had. It’s integrated in a very smooth and visually pleasing way.
The Lifx lightbulb website is simple, yet stunning. It focuses on the product, with enough information to answer likely visitor questions without overwhelming the visitor with too much content. The bottom of the home page includes links to the Kickstarter video and to prominent media coverage, along with a bit of product backstory.
The Hexo+, which is a similar product to the Airdog, takes a totally different approach to their website, with a modern, minimalist design. The site is simple, with plenty of well-constructed information about the product. The footer holds a prominent Kickstarter badge, but otherwise the campaign isn’t really mentioned.
The Sense website offers up clear information about the product, with strong visuals and just the right amount of content. Media coverage is featured prominently, complete with quotes from the various articles. There’s a prominent Kickstarter link in the header, as well as a full-width banner just above the footer. It’s one of the more prominent Kickstarter inclusions in this industry.
The Earin website includes a prominent content slider (complete with video) that takes up most of the visible portion of the home page when it loads. Immediately under the slider and a bit of intro text is a big Kickstarter link and logo. Below that is more information about the product.
Tech campaigns on Kickstarter tend to include Kickstarter links and badges, but they vary greatly in prominence. Some companies seem to want to brag about their Kickstarter success, while others treat it as just another facet of their business.
The fashion category is varied, in that it includes both products from individual companies and entire startups. While the fashion category doesn’t tend to raise as much dollar-wise (there’s only one campaign that’s raised over a million dollars so far), a lot of very cool products have resulted from Kickstarter campaigns.
The page for The Versalette makes little mention of the Kickstarter campaign, except for a text mention at the very bottom referring to it, and instead focuses primarily on the product. Since it’s part of a larger website selling other products, the general design follows suit. But the custom page that isn’t simply a sales page and instead delves into the background of the product and what makes it unique is a nice touch.
The Parke New York website is simple and minimalist, with the focus on the products. They include general information about the jeans, links to the men’s and women’s collections, and media coverage. There’s no mention of the Kickstarter campaign, though, nor any social media links.
Boston Boot Co.
It appears that Boston Boot Co. was started via Kickstarter funding, but you’d never know that from their website. Instead, the focus is placed squarely on the brand and their products. The content slider on the home page grabs the visitor’s attention immediately, while links to the collection and more about what the company does are prominent.
Barbell Apparel’s website is another one that makes no prominent mention of Kickstarter on the home page, though they do carry over the term “Backer” to anyone who places a pre-order on the site. The main focus of the home page is a product video, along with links to the collections. There’s also a lot of prominence placed on the fact that products are manufactured in American factories.
Sword & Plough
The Sword & Plough site is simple, with a definite hipster aesthetic. The site showcases the products and the story behind the manufacturing (they work with veterans to repurpose military surplus fabric into bags), but the make no mention of their Kickstarter origins.
While many other successfully funded products in other industries mention or even heavily feature their Kickstarter origins, the fashion industry seems to be the outlier in this. Very few sites draw attention to their Kickstarter campaigns after the fact, though the reasons for this are unclear and likely vary from company to company.
The above categories are likely to be of particular interest to designers, but there are plenty of other categories funded via Kickstarter. Here are some successful campaigns from those, and how their websites shape up in comparison.
Masters of Anatomy
The Masters of Anatomy site draws attention primarily to two things, beyond the product itself: the artists who are involved, and their Kickstarter campaign, which raised over half a million dollars.
Hello Ruby’s website is whimsical and perfectly suited to a children’s book, particularly one aimed at kids whose parents are highly tech-savvy. The Kickstarter video is included right on the home page, which may have a lot to do with the tech-related origins of the product (since Kickstarter tends to have more sway in that sector).
The Bear is an art book that includes artwork that paints the bond between a first-time parent and child. The site itself is fitting of the product. The only tie-in to the Kickstarter campaign is the list of backers who helped fund the book.
The Windowfarms website is simple and minimalist, with simple ordering options and links to media coverage. There’s no mention of the Kickstarter campaign anywhere on the home page.
The PicoBrew site’s main content slider beautifully showcases the product. There are social media links for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and links to media coverage of the product. But again, no Kickstarter link.
The Civil Eats website is a daily news website discussing the American food system. It has a clean design, with no mention of Kickstarter at all.
The Nomiku website is fun and colorful, with a content slider that includes product information and media coverage all rolled into one. Kickstarter isn’t mentioned, there or anywhere else on the page.
KitRex, the origami T-rex, prominently features their Kickstarter campaign, both in the home page body and in the header.
The Ava’s Demon website has a bold, unique design. While the home page has a lot of information covered, it doesn’t featured Kickstarter prominently at all, though it is mentioned in the text.
The home page of the Urban Air art project features a full-size image of the installations themselves. The project transforms billboards into living suspended bamboo gardens, and their LA project was funded via Kickstarter. You’d never know it from the website though.
Kickstarter has been a part of the successful fundraising of thousands of projects across more than a dozen industries. But how the businesses who have been made possible because of Kickstarter actually handle their association with the platform after the fact varies greatly, both between industries and within some industries themselves. Studying how others have handled these kinds of site designs is a valuable lesson in not only how to handle your own Kickstarter website designs, but also offers insight into how Kickstarter may be perceived in various industries.