The API announcement of Instagram on November 17 last year urged me to do something I never did before. In order to spread my message I started writing a script and produced a video.

Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and that’s exactly what I did.

My startup Qrtd is severely affected by the latest API change of Instagram which de facto bans all so-called feed reading apps. This is history repeating. Twitter used to do a similar thing in the past by shielding their API. The reaction of the developer community on the latest Instagram move was very lame. So here is my shot to raise awareness on the matter.

The #instanovation campaign I am launching has 2 objectives:

  1. It’s all about showing what we have accomplished as a startup. It’s about the philosophy of curated publishing and the range of cool products it has produced.
  2.  It’s a message to the Instagram team: Next to its advertising business model, Instagram could consider a curated publishing business model in order to allow the exploration of its massive and valuable image library.
So is it game over for Qrtd? I’d like to see it as we’ve just entered a new exciting level!
— Kristof Van Brussel

Please share the video, like the IGs and use the #instanovation hashtag if you too plan to make Instagram even better social medium!

Qrtd: @qrtd_apps

the Fashion Week Observer: @fashionweekobserver

personal: @astatement

Qrtd: @qrtd_apps

the Fashion Week Observer: @thefwobserver


Hi I'm Kristof Van Brussel, a product and interaction designer.
2 years ago I wanted to explore the possibilities of curating Instagram feeds so I founded Qrtd.

The making of Qrtd

Qrtd is a publshing service that allows people and brands to publish standalone curated Instagram content. Some people on Instagram just are too good and deserve an appreciative audience. These Instagrammers' vision and collection is so valuable that their Instagram feed reads like a book. 

Instagram is mostly about the moment; I wanted to emphasize the collections of these artists and brands. First, I started out with a more ZEN-like user experience for iPad and called my publications Qrtd look books. 

Artists and brands required true customization: They would like to combine multiple accounts or even pull in automated content by using hashtags.  So I introduced the Qrtd dash board where publishers can customize the content and design of their Look Book apps.

Brands now really got interested! They only needed to implement curation to unlock the nicest catalogs they often didn’t realize they already had. The best part: look books are automatically kept up to date.

All the Qrtd look books are available for free in the Appstore. You don't have to be on Instagram to download a look book! So brands can now extend their public beyond Instagram. No accounts or passwords required! Our Look Book is an easy download … How cool is that!

Users like the fun way to collect and share the images they love; watermarks maintain the attribution of the  Instagrams that are shared and saved. 

The Hairby look book from international hair stylist Pascal Van Loenhout is a true hit. He combined his personal and professional Instagram accounts and also used his hashtag to pick up the selfies from happy clients that visited one of his salons. As you can see look books have massive potential for marketing campaigns!

Let's talk magazines now! 

The Fashion week observer

[Eva Chen, this one is for you…]

I read an article in the Huffington post: "60 IG accounts to follow during fashion week spring 2015”. This revealed a basic problem millions of IG users face! — Searching for accounts to follow! OK, the Instagram app now gives suggestions but that doesn’t fix the problem. At special events, visitors seek a specific focus. That's how The Fashion Week Observer was born.
The FWO is the very first event based IG magazine. By using the Qrtd dashboard and by posting carefully picked hashtags that matched the FW schedules, I was able to serve the hottest frontrow Instagram fashion content! 

Lots of stylists and fashionista’s absolutely loved the possibilties but their main request was: we need this app on our iPhone 6 and 6+!!! So we started developing a universal user XP that covered both iPhone and iPad.The fashion industry really started to embrace us. A modeling agency and a major fashion industry player were all about to enroll great look book apps…

And then... Catastrophe struck.

17 November 2015: Instagram announces a new API and kills all feed-reading apps

Lookbook publishing and Qrtd are doomed. The new API and approval process no longer will allow creative applications using the wonderful public IG content. Cool apps like Macenzo, the FWO and Hairby will stop working in June 2016.

Advertising has become the major business model for Instagram. One of the main reasons for banning the so called "feed reading apps" is that they all are able to filter out the new Instagram ads. It would be such a shame that a true "publishing" business model is left out of the loop. Billions of wonderful Instagram images deserve to be curated so they can be discovered, rediscovered and presented outside the common Instagram app.

Message to Kevin Systrom and the Instagram team…

Instagram already is a new commercial visual language. For Art: IG already can be considered the Taschen of the 21th century! For fashion and trends: IG In many ways is the fashion glossy of the digital age!

But the current API decisions point in the direction that data mining the images will be reduced to tracking and estimating commerce and that's a shame.
Instagram is a lot more than that. The images, the people and businesses that made the social medium so special deserve better.
Curated feeds should and could become part of the Instagram universe.
That's why I'd love to share my Qrtd vision and expertise and partner with–not disappear from–Instagram!