At Macworld/iWorld 2013, I ran into Tavis Schriefer, the president of a Texas design company called Ideative. Schriefer only had a few minutes to chat, but he demoed a customizable iPhone case that was stunningly simple in design and execution. The frām case (US $34.95) makes personalizing your iPhone case with just about any photo or artwork a quick 90-second process.
The frām case, which is currently only available for iPhone 4/4S, uses a clear polycarbonate back to protect an image or photo that is cut to the shape of that back. In fact, the back is easily popped out of the case and becomes a template to mark a photo for trimming and placing into the case.
You can literally use any photo; it doesn't matter if it's something you printed out, an old family photo or something in a magazine. Just place the template / back onto the image, move it around until you like what you see, and then use a pencil or pen to mark your cut lines. Use a pair of scissors or a knife to cut out the image, pop it into the clear frame and push your iPhone back into the case. Voilà! You have a personalized case. You don't even need to cut along the lines very cleanly -- the case design uses a slight bezel to cover any imperfections.
Should you decide that you want to print your own iPhone photos on photo paper to create your masterpiece, well, there's an app for that. With the free myFrām app you can snap a picture or grab one from your camera roll, resize it, frame your subject just right and then print out a perfectly-sized image to trim and put into the back of your case.
Maybe your picture needs a little something to make it look nicer prior to showing up in your case? No problem -- with a tap of a star icon your image goes into a full-fledged photo editor powered by Aviary. Photos can be enhanced, effects added or you can even add text to an image.
I ran into one little issue with printing my own images: when printing onto 4 x 6 photo paper, the images always came out larger than they should have been. I do not have an AirPrint-compatible printer, so I use eCamm's Printopia app to turn my Mac into an "AirPrint Server." That apparently causes a slight size issue when printing to a non-AirPrint printer, and Schriefer notes that they're working on an update to help resolve this issue for Printopia users. I also tried emailing the image to my Mac using the myFrām app and then printing the image, but that workaround didn't work for me.
Regardless of the soon-to-be-fixed printing issue, the frām case is still a lot of fun to use. If you're one of those people who wants a new iPhone case every time you turn around, perhaps you can save some money by purchasing a frām and changing out your case image several times a day.