Small ad studio makes big leap into app development.
Champaign, Illinois, February 15, 2012 — On April 3, 2010, Matt and Candace Hutton, Chris Phillips and John Turner stood outside of the gleaming Apple store on Michigan Avenue like hundreds of others, impatiently waiting for the tablet revolution to begin. But little did they know as they exited the store on a hazy day in Chicago that they were holding more than iPads. They were holding their future in their hands.
“When you’re a small team, you have to be adapt to new technology,” says Hutton, partner and creative director for Spinlight Studio, who — together with his wife and two business partners — represent the entire staff of the small advertising agency based in Champaign, Illinois. “Since we first touched the screen, we wanted to try our hand at app development for the iPad,” says Phillips, partner and senior designer. “The recession just provided the motivation.” So, with traditional print advertising in decline, the company began applying the same design skills they’d honed over a decade in print and web design to apps, focusing on the education market.
Within a year, the company had six titles for the iPad – Swapsies, TallyTots, AlphaTots, TableTots, Yodel-Oh! and Operation Math. And just about every one of them received major attention from Apple. From What’s Hot to Staff Favorites, Apple plugged the company’s apps throughout the iTunes AppStore. Two apps made it into two separate Apple Education Spotlight emails, while three were enshrined in special collections within the iTunes store, leading to a major spike in sales.
“There’s nothing like the rush that comes from watching an app you had a hand in pass titles from big names like Disney and Oprah,” says Turner, partner and senior copywriter. And for Spinlight, that’s already happened twice. On March 19, 2011, TallyTots shot onto the daily Top 100 list of all apps selling on the iPad, reaching 80 overall. And two months later, AlphaTots did even better, reaching no. 45.
From AppTudes to Babble.com, Spinlight apps have made the short list of recommended kids apps on a wide range of review sites, as well as 13 different Top 100 iTunes lists in 58 countries around the world. And now the company is aiming higher, releasing apps that appeal to a slightly older demographic.
“Operation Math could very well become our biggest title yet,” says Hutton. The spy-based math game for kids 5-12 has only been out since December, but Apple has already thrust it squarely into the spotlight, giving it a three-week banner promotion in education. “With so many new developers jumping on the bandwagon, the scene is getting pretty crowed. But there’s always room for intuitive, well-designed apps that reward kids for learning. And over the next few years, we’re hoping you’ll see a lot of those titles from us.”
About Spinlight Studio
Spinlight Studio is an award-winning educational app developer and publisher that passionately believes learning should be fun. Since 2011, the company has released 15 best-selling titles for the iOS, Android and Mac OS platforms, creating apps that children love and parents appreciate for their strong educational value. Spinlight has earned numerous Parents’ Choice Awards, ON for Learning honors and a Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award for a long list of titles covering math, reading, geography and more. Critically acclaimed for their unique blend of education and entertainment, Spinlight apps have been featured in USA Today, Us Weekly and on national news shows, including Fox News and the NBC Today Show.