8/14/12 UPDATE: The Kickstarter campaign wrapped up with $170,477 from a total of 5,661 backers, making it the most funded Kickstarter journalism project to date, and the second-top publishing project.
Consumers love magazines and website about design and architecture. They love books about design and architecture. How about a radio show about design and architecture? What if all the images and colors and buildings had to be imagined?
“Yes, please,” say 5,240 (and counting) consumers of public radio who have contributed to the Kickstarter campaign through which Roman Mars, a San Francisco-based public radio producer, is seeking to give real legs to 99% Invisible, his radio series on design and architecture.
“The ultimate goal of 99% Invisible is to make radio that inspires mindfulness and wonder in all the things in the built world,” reads the Kickstarter copy.
So how does Mars do this? With good storytelling, with great audio, with smart, radio-savvy guests and compelling editing. The radio show, which has been thus far produced on a modest budget through a collaboration between the San Francisco radio station KALW and PRX, a public radio distributor, reminds me of a design-based love child of This American Life and Radiolab.
The show topics range from essays on “overlooked features of our everyday public spaces” to studies on a quirky Chicago-area hotel to the bad graphic design of U.S. currency notes.
The campaign ends at 6:58pm ET Friday night, and as I write this it has raised $160,130. The original goal was $42,000.
Based on the funds the campaign has raised so far, Mars has been able to hire an assistant. If he reaches $175,000, which seems quite reasonable at the rate things are going, the plan is to develop a 99% Invisible smart phone app.
Image: A thank-you notebook for Kickstarter backers.