All photos by Forest Giant
The art for Louisville Love is embargoed for now, but Forest Giant shared these pictures of the design team at work on the project.

Calling Forest Giant and Over “pillars” of the Louisville startup scene seems a little stuffy and buttoned-up. And calling them “giants” seems redundant. But they are two of Louisville’s best-known and most visible startups; get them on the same team and awesomeness happens.

When Todd Balsley and Chris Hawkins of Forest Giant told me about the new product they will be launching next week with help from Aaron Marshall at Over, I think I actually cheered.

It’s an app called Louisville Love, and essentially it’s going to be an Over or OBaby for Louisville.

And it’s beautiful.

Designers from Forest Giant created the hand-drawn art — a little over 60 different pieces of art from names of neighborhoods and landmarks to fleur de lis and hearts — and Over handled the development. The app will enable users to embellish their photographs with artwork and phrases.

The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Louisville Downtown Development Corp. sponsored the app. Because both are very focused on downtown Louisville, most of the neighborhoods and landmarks represented are downtown or nearby.

louisvilleriverThe app was created in part to support and help launch a new nonprofit called City Collaborative, spearheaded by Patrick Piuma of the Urban Design Studio and urban planner Patrick Smith.

City Collaborative will host small, pop-up events that disrupt the way we think about our city. Hawkins used Cyclouvia and the Tactical Urban Intervention event on Market Street last fall as examples of these small events that have a big impact on our relationships with our environment.

Both the Louisville Love app and City Collaborative “encourage people to be excited about their city,” says Balsley, adding that, “Aaron loves this city and was happy to be part of the project.”

Cape Town Love art by Megan Gilger of Wild Measures
Cape Town Love art by Megan Gilger of Wild Measures

This is actually Aaron Marshall’s second “Love” app. Last September, Over partnered with Michigan design group Wild Measure to create Cape Town Love as an “App in a Day Challenge.” In 24 hours, the two groups designed and coded the app from the ground up and submitted it to the app store. You can read the Wild Measure blog post about the experience on their site.

Hawkins says both the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Downtown Development Corp. are enthusiastic about the app and prepared to do a lot of promotion. Look for wrappers around downtown utility boxes encouraging people — tourists and natives alike — to download the app. There will also likely be ads on the CVB’s GoToLouisville.com website.

Forest Giant design team
Forest Giant design team

The designers responsible for the artwork banged it all out in a day in the Forest Giant conference room. The design team is: Emily Keller, Rich Merwarth, Jon Shaw and Bryan Todd.

“The app lets any average person be creative and make something unique and special to them,” says Hawkins.

Louisville Love will have a “soft launch” at the New2Lou social on Feb. 12 at the KFC Yum! Center (If you RSVP to this event, you can also have two free tickets to that night’s U of L Women’s basketball game, courtesy of U of L Athletics).

There will be a launch party the following day. We’ll have details soon.

The App Store works on its own mysterious schedule, but we’ll let you know when the app launches.

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