bronson iconI’m happy to announce our first-ever Mac app: Bronson Watermarker.

You can find it in the Mac App Store today.

Bronson does exactly one thing: watermark PDFs. There are other apps that let you do that (including Adobe Acrobat), but none of them are particularly good. They make simple jobs complicated, and they cost a lot more.

Bronson Watermarker also has two features that set it apart:

  1. Give it a list of names, and Bronson will create individualized PDFs, ready to print or send.
  2. Choose “Deep Burn” and Bronson will embed the watermark so thoroughly it’s never going away.

Watermarks are common in Hollywood, where studios and producers want to make sure screenplays don’t get passed along beyond their intended readers. Bronson Watermarker will save assistants a lot of time and hassle.

But Bronson is good for all sorts of uses beyond screenplays, so we’re aiming for a much wider user base — basically, anyone who needs to send out PDFs to people they don’t entirely trust.

Here’s the video we made about it:

You can read more about the uses for Bronson at the official site.

The backstory

Like FDX Reader and Less IMDb, Bronson Watermarker exists because I couldn’t believe someone else hadn’t already made it.

This past year, I needed to individually watermark 40 scripts with actors’ names for a reading in New York. No problem, I thought.

Because I’m a nerd, my first instinct was Automator, the Mac’s built-in batch scripting utility. It has a command for “Watermark PDF documents” with a surfeit of options — angle, offset, scale, opacity — but no ability to actually generate the watermark text. Automator wanted an image to stick on the PDF. I only had a list of names. I was out of luck.

If Automator couldn’t do it, surely a third-party utility could.

After a lot of Googling, I found several Mac apps that looked promising, each letting you type the text for the watermark. Unfortunately, none of them could generate more than one PDF at a time.

So, with deadlines looming, here was my workflow: copy the name from a text file, paste the name, export, rename the file. Repeat forty times. It was inefficient and error-prone.

I vowed never again.

I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew how this missing app should work. That evening, I emailed Nima the details, along with sketches for button and field placement. He sent back the rough version of the app two days later.

And now it’s real and ready to buy in the Mac App Store.

Props to Nima Yousefi for his speedy coding, and Ryan Nelson for the artwork and icon — and all the animation in the promo video.