Leading mobile learning platform Duolingo has acquired Gunner, an illustration and animation studio based in Detroit, to enhance the animation element that makes its learning app feel fun.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Duolingo uses animation in its learning apps to drive engagement, keep learners motivated, and build its globally recognized brand.
Gunner has been an integral animation and design partner for Duolingo since 2020 and produces art and animations that show up in Duolingo’s flagship language app and early childhood literacy app, Duolingo ABC. The studio also produces elements of Duolingo’s brand marketing campaigns.
Talking about the importance of art and animation in its learning app, Luis von Ahn, Co-founder & CEO of Duolingo, said in a statement,
“We know that the hardest thing about learning a language, or any new subject, is staying motivated and that’s why we make Duolingo fun. Art and animation are foundational to the Duolingo brand, and we use them to help make Duolingo a beloved daily habit in millions of learners’ lives.”
According to the company, all of Gunner’s 15-person team will join Duolingo’s existing design teams as part of the acquisition.
Bob Meese, Chief Business Officer of Duolingo, said,
“Gunner is a world-class illustration and animation studio that we’ve worked with for years, and they know our brand well. Animation brings life to Duo, our iconic brand mascot, and to our cast of characters. It helps make our products great, and our characters memorable. We love Gunner and are thrilled to welcome their whole team to Duolingo.”
Ian Sigmon, Co-founder of Gunner, said the studio is fortunate to have worked with another company that is willing to invest in art.
“We have been fortunate to collaborate with so many great brands as a studio, but over the last couple of years Duolingo has stolen our hearts. Our artists pour so much care into every project, so it feels right to be at a company that invests in art, and has a mission that we believe in.”
Duolingo is the world’s most popular language-learning platform that enables anyone to learn any language for free. The platform offers anyone to learn to read, listen, and speak in most of the world’s prominent languages through games and bite-sized lessons. The platform also supports many niche vernaculars and fictional tongues such as Klingon.