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Independence Day

Instagram Face Filter

I am a proud Jamaican American. Both my parents hail from Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to America in the late 70s and early 80s. My culture and heritage are important for me to not only enjoy but share with others. Jamaica Independence Day was coming up so I decided to create an Instagram face filter for everyone to join in celebrating the joyous occasion. Instagram guidelines prohibit text in certain contexts so “Jamaica Independence Day” could not be included, but I was able to pivot to the final version available here.

Since launching, 13k impressions, 4.2k opens, 750 captures, and 118 shares. October 2020


Lauren Owen


Spark AR


August 4th, 2020 – August 6th, 2020


Using the human-centered design process, I was able to be inspired by current face filters on both Instagram and Snapchat, test out multiple ideas and receive feedback in both usage and feasibility, and implement my final version which was approved and placed on Instagram. A simple idea of celebrating my heritage became a learning experience with Facebook’s Spark AR platforms.


Instagram being my platform of choice, I looked through the available face filter offerings relating to Jamaica or Independence Day celebrations in general. I noticed a lot of flag usage but nothing outside of that. Jamaica is the only country in the world that does not use red, white or blue in its flag, so it is easily associated with the nation and an easy choice for a filter. however, I wanted to specifically highlight Independence Day. I decided to incorporate words, which would reveal to be an almost fatal flaw.


I took to my whiteboard. I knew that Spark AR would be required to export to Instagram so I downloaded the software and familiarized myself with the controls. Videos and and how-to guides allowed me really dive in and create. With augmented reality, there are so many platforms and softwares available, so flexibility is truly key to navigating them all.

I did a test with the Jamaican flag in the background, that proved to be uneventful. I yearned for more interactivity and better tracking. I decided from my research and my new skillset that a filter that found your face to first load the “Happy Independce Day” text and Jamiaca country outline with the colors and then, by opening your mouth, shot confetti would be a great idea. Once open, the confetti would shoot from the bottom left and right corners of the screen creating a truly unique expereince.


Development proved easy as I was able to navigate the Spark AR platform as the tutorials had shown me. It was during the review process as I submitted my filter that I actually ran into issues. One of the guidelines is that no non-editable text is allowed. I expected an exception due to the text being commemorative of the holiday. Additional review would require more time and was not guaranteed so I created more options and submitted them as well. Text proved a true issue, so I pivoted. Once again, flexibility is key and I am extremely pleased with the final result.

Final Version

Test 1

Draft 1

Draft 2