Send a virtual postcard with Postale

IMG_2498Postale is an iOS app from 7twenty7 LLC. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.

Postale’s remit is simple: it allows users to create virtual postcards, then send them to people via Facebook, Twitter or email. Postcards may have one of four different layouts — a portraitwise image with text to the right; a landscape image with text to the right; a vertical layout with a photo at the top and text at the bottom; and a “panoramic” layout featuring a letterboxed image with text above and below.

The first time the user fires up Postale, they are walked through the rather simple process of creating a postcard a step at a time. The tutorial is relatively unobtrusive, but it’s questionable if it’s even necessary, since the app is extremely easy and intuitive to use.

Creating a postcard consists of several steps: choosing a layout, choosing a visual theme from those available — additional packs are available via in-app purchase for $0.99 each — and then customizing the layout with a photo, title and message. Photos can either be taken with the camera or imported from the camera roll, and the app makes use of Aviary’s SDK to allow for fine-tuning and adjustment of the photograph in various ways. Titles and messages can be entered independently, and each may have their own style set by changing the color, size and font of the text. There are a fairly wide selection of commonly-used fonts available in the app, though the widely-despised Comic Sans is nowhere to be seen.

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After customizing the postcard to their satisfaction, the user selects a virtual postage stamp to affix to the corner of their postcard — again, more are available via in-app purchase, but a wide selection is provided within the basic app — and then sends it via email, Facebook and/or Twitter as an image file. A small visual bug causes the preview of the postcard to be displayed distorted on the “share” screen after it has been shared once, but this does not affect the file that is sent via email or to the social networks.

After sharing, the finished postcard may also be saved into the app’s gallery for later retrieval, resharing or exporting to the device’s photo library, and the app records the user’s location when the postcard is finalized, allowing for a “travel map” to be built up with postcards from all the different places the user has been. The app is actually marketed as a “travel” app rather than a photography app, which is a potentially interesting twist on the usual mobile-social photo-sharing fomula — but in practice it doesn’t really make all that much difference to the overall experience.

Postale is a decent app that does what it says it will do. It’s a good means of snapping a photo and attaching a message to it in a visually-appealing manner, though some might question the necessity of going through the whole process when it’s simple enough to just share an image to Facebook and attach a caption. For those who like the idea of sending virtual postcards rather than just posting pictures, however, it’s a fun little app that works well. It might have been nice to see the idea taken a little further with the ability to order physical printed postcards — such as those offered by ByPost.com — but for a free app, at least, there’s plenty to like here for those looking for a new way to be a little creative with their images.

You can follow Postale’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.