Hundred thousand & more

The Petting Zoo app, with animations by Christoph Niemann, has had more than 100 000 downloads since its launch at Design Indaba 2013!

One app. Six months. One hundred thousand downloads!

We’re talking about the Petting Zoo interactive picture book for iOS and Android, designed by Christoph Niemann and produced by Design Indaba.

Petting Zoo was launched by Niemann in February 2013 at Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town and has since had more than 100 000 downloads.

Combining Niemann’s wry humour and charming illustrations with the latest technology, Petting Zoo features a menagerie of 21 hand drawn animated animals. A simple wipe or tap brings them to life and sees them react in strange and funny ways.

Fun for all ages, the app has been particularly well received by users and critics alike. USA Today called it “absolutely adorable” while Creative Review reckons it is “possibly the loveliest app you’ll download this week/month/year”.

One hundred thousand downloads and counting, Niemann is suitably pleased with the reaction: "For the last few months I have been very busy promoting the app, giving lectures, talking to journalists and so forth. It happened a few weeks ago, that I was standing in a security line, idly goofing around with my phone, when I realised I hadn't really played with the app for months. Actually: maybe I have never played it – nervously and critically testing may be the better term. So maybe for the first time ever, I was able to look at Petting Zoo with more or less objective eyes and after a few minutes I caught myself thinking: well, this really isn't bad."

While Design Indaba acted as executive producer on the project, the app also benefited from the creative genius of developer Jon Huang and composer Markus Wormstorm.

“Petting Zoo was a fabulous romp. Increasingly we are asking our speakers to create something bespoke for Design Indaba. We produced this with no physical meetings, just Google Hangout and Skype, linking New York City, Berlin and Cape Town. It’s a case study of collaboration in the digital age – linking South African creatives with global peers. It’s so important to experiment and put yourself in harm’s way by trying stuff in new areas. And Christoph is just such a rockstar, an absolute dream to work with," says Ravi Naidoo

The app was recently acquired by German company Fox and Sheep where Petting Zoo is now part of their Kids Apps portfolio.

The success of the Petting Zoo app can no doubt be attributed to the power of creative collaborations. As such, Design Indaba is working on an exciting new Limited Edition project with a variety of dynamic collaborators. 

Watch the Talk with Christoph Niemann