Arts & Culture

Use Snapchat? Wichita has a geofilter for that

A compilation of Snapchat geofilters from the Wichita area.
A compilation of Snapchat geofilters from the Wichita area. The Wichita Eagle

If you’ve been in Old Town recently and documented the experience on Snapchat, you may have noticed there are new Wichita-themed geofilters available.

Over the weekend, a new “Wichita Old Town” Snapchat geofilter went live, prominently featuring the former Keen Kutter Building and pillars from intersections in Old Town.

Another new Wichita-themed Snapchat geofilter went online last month as well – a more generic one featuring wheat and a gold gradient at the bottom of the screen.

For those unfamiliar with Snapchat, geofilters are location-based graphics that users can overlay on their photos. They are supposed to provide a sort of community flair on pictures – after all, they prove Snapchat users really are where they say they are.

Many cities and universities have their own unique, constantly-rotating set of custom Snapchat filters, and it is possible for people to purchase one-night-only Snapchat filters tied to a location, a trend increasing in popularity at large events.

Geofilters are user-designed, though Snapchat must approve each before it goes online.

Moses Garcia, a local hobbyist graphic designer, created the “Wichita Old Town” filter in a matter of days.

He said he did it because he wanted people visiting Wichita to leave with the impression that it is a bustling city.

“To me, it’s the first thing I do (when I travel): Check and see what filters they have, to let people know where you’re at and whatnot,” said Garcia, 21. “People that come to the airport, what if they use Snapchat ... maybe there’s something else we can add to make it a little more interesting.”

Designers send potential geofilters to Snapchat for free. The artwork has to be completely original, be relevant to the area and draw attention, Garcia said.

“I went in submitting them thinking they weren’t going to get accepted,” he said. “Within the week, they sent an e-mail saying they accepted it and it was going to go live. ... I got accepted on the first try.”

An incoming junior at Wichita Collegiate School designed one of the first Wichita community geofilters last summer – it features a cutout of the “Keeper of the Plains” and a sunflower.

Gabby Dobbs, 16, said she wanted to design the filter after noticing Wichita didn’t have any community filters.

“I used to think that we were too small or too insignificant of a city, and it kind of upset me,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Why don’t we have these filters? Wichita is significant enough – it’s got enough of a population and a significant history,’ so I took the initiative.”

It’s unclear as to whether her filter will be phased out by the new filters, but it was still available as of Wednesday.

She said she’s glad to see people taking the initiative to design new filters; she’s now considering making one for Eastborough.

Popularity in Wichita

On-demand geofilters, which people pay to have online in a certain location for a specified amount of time, are an emerging trend at weddings and banquets.

That trend has yet to make its way to Wichita, though, according to Katie Garrett, social media specialist at Copp Media Services.

“We have looked into it for some clients, but the cost of doing so makes it to where it’s not really an option for a lot of our clients,” Garrett said. “It’s very expensive to do a custom filter.”

For example, she said, to create a custom filter for an event at Intrust Bank Arena available for 24 hours would cost $1,700.

“It just depends on who your target audience is,” she said. “Within any given day, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds. If you’re wanting to reach a younger demographic, Snapchat is definitely where you want to be.”

Newman University’s Athletics Department paid to have three custom Snapchat filters online for its “Jetspys” athletic awards banquet this spring.

Clark Schafer, director of university relations, said the filters were highly received by students in attendance.

“Especially with this younger group of people, 16 to 24 ... Snapchat was the No. 1 social media, so from a marketing standpoint, it just makes sense for us to be there,” Schafer said. “It helps brand the university.”

The university is working on three permanent Snapchat filters for its campus, set to come online this fall, Schafer said.

Wichita State University does not currently have a Snapchat presence, though university officials said they will look into the possibility of creating custom filters this fall.

Courtney Sendall, communications manager with the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, said the new Wichita filters are a sort of community marketing.

In the past few months, even the chamber has gotten hip with Snapchat.

Sendall said she tried to submit a Wichita flag Snapchat filter, but it was rejected because “the artwork has to be 100 percent original.”

The flag was designed in 1937 by Cecil McAlister.

“I would love to see a filter with the Wichita flag on it because there’s been a resurgence in its popularity in the community,” Sendall said.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

In Wichita

The Eagle has compiled a list of Snapchat geofilters available in Wichita. Are we missing one? Email mriedl@wichitaeagle.com.

▪ Golden Wichita gradient (designed by Jennifer Bui): Available anywhere in Wichita

▪ Golden Wichita without gradient (designed by Jennifer Bui): Available in south Wichita

▪ Keeper/Sunflower Wichita (designed by Gabby Dobbs): Available anywhere in Wichita

▪ Black-checkered yellow Wichita: Available anywhere in Wichita

▪ Line-drawn skyline: Available in select locations in Wichita, mostly on the west side

▪ Yellow wheat Wichita (designed by Moses Garcia): Available in select locations in Wichita, around the south and far west sides

▪ Block-letter Wichita: Available in far-west Wichita

▪ Wichita Old Town (designed by Moses Garcia): Available only in the Old Town area

▪ Wichita Old Town 2 (designed by Devin Brown): Available only in the Old Town area

▪ Wichita Old Town 3 (designed by Devin Brown): Available only in the Old Town area

▪ Derby (designed by Jennifer Bui): Technically not in Wichita, but available anywhere in Derby

▪ Eastborough (designed by Jennifer Bui): Available in very select areas in Eastborough

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