How a Legendary Octogenarian Artist Leveraged Her Passion With an App

New global Android campaign celebrates developers

88-year-old artist Faith Ringgold helped develop an Android app. YouTube: Android Developers

To the world that uses them, mobile apps seem to magically appear without much thought about the developers. In a new campaign entitled #IMakeApps for Android, created by London production company Gramafilm, some of those who follow their passion have a starring role and show the human side of technology.

The first spot in the four-part series features Faith Ringgold, an 88-year-old American artist born in Harlem, NY. For the better part of six decades, her work has been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Guggenheim. But it was her invention of Quiltuduko, an art-making game inspired by the Japanese number game, Sudoku, that stands out.

“I came up with the idea in my 80s,” she said. “With the Quiltuduko game, my aim is to bring art to young and old while helping them train their brains in a fun way.”

“We are humbled by the accomplishments of our app makers and how they inspire and innovate on our platforms,” said Patricia Correa, Google’s director of developer marketing, platforms and ecosystems. “With this campaign, we would like to celebrate them not just for their work but mainly for who they are.”

Other developers featured in the campaign include Denmark’s Hans Jørgen Wiberg, co-founder and inventor of Be My Eyes, an app that helps connect the blind to sighted volunteers to help with short, simple tasks. Wiberg, who started losing his sight at age 25 said that: “The main ingredient in Be My Eyes is trust; the trust that the visually impaired users put into the sighted volunteers that help them through the app.”

Another developer, Manel Alcaide, an aerial acrobat from Spain, started Visualfy, a company that includes an app that translates sounds into visual and sensory alerts for the deaf and people with hearing loss—and feels strongly that his work is an essential signal for better accessibility.

“Visualfy is an app for deaf people, but I don’t think I’m helping anyone,” he said. “I think it’s a basic right. I can’t conceive a world that is not for everyone.”

In the fourth film, Dutch adventurer Niek Bokkers and co-founder of travel app Polarsteps embraces his wanderlust, sharing his moments on the road.

“The idea we presented to Google was to deliver a campaign that reaches out to everyone who is part of the Android community, both app makers and app users,” said Algor Lieman, director and co-founder of Gramafilm. “#IMakeApps leaves aside the tech and centers on telling the real human stories that bind us all together.”


Project: #IMakeApps
Client: Android
Creative & Production Agency: Gramafilm
Creative & Project Lead: Algor Lieman
Executive Producer: James Morton-Haworth
Lead Producer: Kyle Blanshard
Producer: Deryck van Steenderen
Production Manager: Becky Williams
Lead Editor: Ross Casswell
Editor: Richard Whisby
Directors: Tiago Kingwell & Sam White
Social: Ben Corr
Researcher: Masha Kuzmenko

@zanger Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.