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Etsy at the Design Triennial: Why Design Now?

Jun 18, 2010

by Vanessa Bertozzi handmade and vintage goods

UPDATE: The Cooper-Hewitt National Design exhibit is now open. If you live in New York or you are visiting, you should definitely check it out. And if you’re not in the area, the Cooper-Hewitt has a great website. (Here’s the Etsy page, by the way!)

The opening night was very exciting: It was great to see Etsy included with so many inspiring and forward-thinking designers and companies. I also got to meet the Etsy artists included in our corner of the exhibit, Toolgrrl (accompanied by her sister tyarkoni and husband) and Troy and Stephano from necklush. Wonderful people!

See more of Toolgrrls photos of the exhibit and her visit to Etsy on Flickr.

Troy and Stephano of necklush, photo by Toolgrrl.

Here are some more photos from the opening night.

[The following was originally published on February 16, 2010.]

Good news, friends! Etsy has been invited to be part of the National Design Triennial at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The theme for this exhibition is “Why Design Now?” and, in part, explores the impact of community and sustainability on the designed world.

A few examples of Etsy items will be there on display: congratulations to necklush and Toolgrrl! We will also have a computer kiosk in the interactive section of the exhibit so that visitors can explore

I sometimes think of Etsy itself as a massive gallery — a collection of handmade and vintage artifacts. But what also excites me about being part of the Triennial is that Etsy will also be stepping forward as a group of creative people across the world. We’re collaborating with folks at the museum to plan crafting events and talks to go along with the Triennial. We’re also taking part in an ongoing discussion about our role in the world as creative people and how we can use that creativity to make an impact.

Get Involved
Some of the designers and organizations involved in the exhibit have been invited to share a three minute recording that visitors will access via an iTouch. Our recording will explain what Etsy is and talk a bit about what design means to us. I really think Etsy is all about you — collectors, crafters and artists, and people who care deeply about design — so I want to hear from you, the Etsy community. I hope to quote some of your responses when I do the recording. (Shout-outs!)

So, tell the world: “Why design now? Why is design important today?” Post in the comments below.

Craftivism Posts | More Posts Tagged “Museum”


  • urbanknitfits

    urbanknitfits said 7 years ago

    wow, fantastic! GO etsy, and congrats to Necklush and Toolgrrl

  • VintagePaperParade

    VintagePaperParade said 7 years ago

    Congratulations! That's very exciting.

  • SingerRaven

    SingerRaven said 7 years ago

    Design is a cross between functionality and expression of creativity. I think that in today's world, we need to be more precise about what we design and think about its extended impact on people and the earth. It is through conscious and thoughtful design that creative people can save the world!

  • abacusbeadcreations

    abacusbeadcreations said 7 years ago

    Wow, what an honor for Etsy to be chosen as a part of the National Design Triennial! Congratulations, Etsy!

  • SusanFaye

    SusanFaye said 7 years ago

    Why design now you ask? Because creative thought and creative self-expression can lead to creative solutions to the many challenges our world faces right now. What a great event to be a part of! Keep up the good work, Etsy!

  • aphrodite888

    aphrodite888 said 7 years ago

    congratulation to necklush and Toolgrrl!! Very unique and original design. And congratulation ETSY, too.

  • laurelinsailor

    laurelinsailor said 7 years ago

    That's great news, congratulation!

  • petragalvan

    petragalvan said 7 years ago

    Etsy has helped so many people.Mothers have been able to stay home and raise a family.Some have lost their jobs and have been able to maintain them self by the crafts they make.It is a community for all.

  • NottyPooch

    NottyPooch said 7 years ago

    - "Why design now? Why is design important today?" We think that's how tomorrow will become better. :)

  • TeesignsDesigns

    TeesignsDesigns said 7 years ago

    Congrats to etsy and the chosen designers!

  • DalkullanJewelry

    DalkullanJewelry said 7 years ago

    Etsy at the National Design Museum, that's marvelous! Congrats to Toolgrrl and necklush!!!

  • manvsgeorge

    manvsgeorge said 7 years ago

    I like NottyPooch's answer to the question, Why design now? "We think that's how tomorrow will become better." Very well stated. This is a great opportunity for Etsy's community to gain more exposure. Congratulations to Toolgrrl and necklush! Way to represent!

  • LoveOwlEyes

    LoveOwlEyes said 7 years ago

    Love the tea cozy :)

  • Beesnetta

    Beesnetta said 7 years ago

    I love this! Design has always connoted human evolution from simple stone tools to contemporary's always indicative of the state of things. And for a while there, I felt the world was heading in a hyper-homogenized direction, but Etsy, and the many unique voices that reside here, are pushing the pendulum back in a way never seen before. Which is to say, to be a successful designer now you don't have to be famous, or well studied, or even heavily funded. You just need to be your unique self, have a passion about your designs, and own a computer…

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 7 years ago

    congratulations necklush and Toolgrrl! This is Great!

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 7 years ago

    congratulations necklush and Toolgrrl! This is Great!

  • missindie

    missindie said 7 years ago

    ohmygosh awesome!!! Congrats everyone! :]

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 7 years ago

    What I enjoy most about design is the creative problem solving. Imagine what we could accomplish as a society if we approached our problems in a more creative way.

  • camamiel

    camamiel said 7 years ago

    Design now? Design forever! There have always been talented unknown people but now we are so lucky that we have the chance to be accessible with just one click. People are tired of seeing the same designs repeated over and over again, the same old industrialized things with no soul. People want to be a part of the world and change it with creativity, quality and heart. Congratulations!

  • miachic

    miachic said 7 years ago

    Awesome stuff, Etsy rocks! have been able to stay a float selling through Etsy, its a blessing in this unstable times!

  • BlueShoeStudio

    BlueShoeStudio said 7 years ago

    Congratulations! Exciting news.

  • SudsNSuch

    SudsNSuch said 7 years ago

    Awesome! Congrats to the sellers who will be featured!

  • sharonclancydesigns

    sharonclancydesigns said 7 years ago

    Wow, that's so exciting! Congrats!!

  • Ebruk

    Ebruk said 7 years ago

    Congrats to Etsy !

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 7 years ago

    In all the corporation stuff that is manually reproduce over and is so nice to see a place were creative hearts gather. Go Esty. I love seeing and knowing that a piece was hand made, much better energy in the work. Try picking up a hand thrown cup and compare it to one that is machine made. Notice the hand/energy that made it. Change the world one creative piece at a time.

  • ebrukSupplies

    ebrukSupplies said 7 years ago

    That's great news, congratulation!

  • eroa

    eroa said 7 years ago

    Congrats! Let's keep the 'handmade-vintage culture' alive especially these days when we are living in a fast paced, high-tech society filled with mass merchandisers.

  • CarryTheWord

    CarryTheWord said 7 years ago

    That's fantastic! Congrats!!

  • CarefullyCurated

    CarefullyCurated said 7 years ago

    Hmm - design is important, especially at the individual level as on Etsy, because it allows ordinary people to develop solutions to everyday problems. I love big name designers and design firms too, and think they're important, but often they are inspired by other cultures, grandmother's who taught them to sew, etc. I think the world would be a better place is more people were thoughtful and creative in what they put out into the world! I also love Cooper-Hewitt's Design for the Other 90% for people living in the developing world:

  • KamiMono

    KamiMono said 7 years ago

    How exciting! I think design is important today because the world is overwhelmed with mass produced products, that we don't have to think about designing or re-designing something. It would be great to have items made that are more personal and of better quality, and I think people these days appreciate that more.

  • beautifulbridget

    beautifulbridget said 7 years ago

    Wow! Congrats everyone!!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 7 years ago

    I'll ask mr pete's opinion on this one when he comes home from work tonight, should evoke a good converation for us. Congrats to Etsy for being asked to be involved in The National Triennial at the Smithsonian-Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. Shout out congrats to necklush & toolgrrl~!

  • TwosRuse

    TwosRuse said 7 years ago

    Design is the tactile music. Design keeps me sane in a sucking in vortex of the mundane routine on life. At last, design is simply fun!

  • sleepymoondesign

    sleepymoondesign said 7 years ago

    How cool! I believe that design is important today because the western world is spoiled we consume to much and have forgotten how to make. By taking part in handmade and supporting handmade we are evening out that unbalance we have with consuming and producing.

  • tastesorangey

    tastesorangey said 7 years ago

    Yes! Congrats Etsy. Why design now? I think in today's culture of mass production objects are replaced so frequently because of their poor quality that there is no time to appreciate their usefulness or beauty, if they have any in the first place. With its abundance of designers, crafters, artists and artisans who are creating useful, meticulously crafted, and beautiful designs that are made to last, Etsy helps us slow down the pace, and take the time to enjoy life.

  • ShanaAstrachan

    ShanaAstrachan said 7 years ago

    So very happy to see this happening! Bringing design and the choices we make as designers to the public eye is a beautiful thing! The connections we feel to a material, color, or overall esthetic enrich our lives, allowing individual expression both creatively and in our personal environments.

  • ojami

    ojami said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Because we can! It's important to put our ideas down in some tangible fashion. There's an excellent sense of accomplishment and pride when we see the design come to fruition. Why is design important today? Today especially design is important because the rules have been changed. It's not just a few important people making designs anymore. (Granted there will always be a well deserved place for the "supper stars".) But our world is global. I can create a piece and let it be seen by the world. The global community has really affected design and made it flourish more vibrantly. To not design when we have the opportunity would truly be a waste!

  • callmemimi

    callmemimi said 7 years ago

    Great news ! Congratulation to all ! Super WOW for Etsy !

  • JMCdesigns

    JMCdesigns said 7 years ago

    We need art and design as a culture, and the core of culture is aesthetics; without it, everything would be pale and grim, and thus without art and design that shapes aesthetics, we would be forced to feel: what is the point?

  • brianarose

    brianarose said 7 years ago

    wow this is so awesome. what a great opportunity for the Etsy community. bravo!

  • greatgrandmaagnes

    greatgrandmaagnes said 7 years ago

    As a vintage seller on etsy I pay very close attention to design and detail. Design from long ago is reflective of design today, but what makes design so amazing is that its unique and can never be truly repeated. Desinging for now creates the vintage for tomorrow. I adore modern design and love to incorprate it with vintage items. The mixing of the two really creates a beautiful balance between what is old and what is new.

  • KayKaysBowTique

    KayKaysBowTique said 7 years ago

    Way to go Etsy! Congrats Necklushie and Toolgrrl!

  • fernfiddlehead

    fernfiddlehead said 7 years ago

    Design is not just important today. It's always important. It shapes our lives, past and present. Sometimes design is born out of necessity (think matches). Sometimes design is born out of whimsy (think skateboards). But always design is with and around us. It's omni-important!

  • KOALACaddie

    KOALACaddie said 7 years ago

    The drive to design results from our interaction with life. It's not so much a choice, as a compulsion.

  • meljensdesigns

    meljensdesigns said 7 years ago

    First of all I think it's awesome that Etsy is being included in something like this. :-) Second, as I mentioned on Twitter a moment ago, I think design is important in this day and age. Almost everything and everyone is evolving into a heavily electronic-based lifestyle, and I think it is VERY important for people to design, create, and demonstrate their individuality, imagination, and soul to the world--if nothing else than to inspire and remind everyone that those things still exist. It's easy to lose yourself when everything is tied to machines and gizmos in the fast lane. It's important to tear away from it and remind yourself who you really are. :-)

  • tlgentile

    tlgentile said 7 years ago

    why design now? without trying to self-promote ;) - i think scoutie girl's mission sums out how i feel about the subject: scoutie girl believes in the power of independence, the power of creation, the power of handmade to change the world. we believe that mass-production and rampant consumerism have created a culture that is hungry for “more” & “cheap” – we believe that handmade can change that, reconnect us with our fellow (wo)man and put life back into a bit of perspective… why design now? to be rescued.

  • mtcoffinz

    mtcoffinz said 7 years ago

    Wow, congrats!

  • WhatKnotShop

    WhatKnotShop said 7 years ago

    Design is fundamentally the act of solving a problem by application of the creative process to balance competing forces in a culturally appropriate framework. There are a lot of problems to be solved and designers are in a unique and powerful position to contribute to success by doing what they do best.

  • lovejune

    lovejune said 7 years ago

    Design is more important today than ever. For centuries we've been attempting to perfect this thing called design, and we've taken it in so many directions. We've been so many places! Some people think there is no such thing as a new design these days. This statement shouldn't be thought of as discouraging, but inspirational! We have so many new challenges facing us as designers, and the simple fact that there are so many others out there doing the same thing is hardly a deterrent. The economic climate and limit of resources should hardly be a deterrent as well. These should be looked at as challenges for designer, an opportunity to create more and create better (not necessarily in that order!), an opportunity to create something more meaningful and more fulfilling. An opportunity to get your brain into the picture again, and to really think in a new way. Design today because we demand it, we reward it, and your brain loves it.

  • searchandrescue

    searchandrescue said 7 years ago

    As humans, we are inherently creative beings and with creativity comes design. Etsy allows each of us to enjoy our humanity. Thanks for providing us with an outlet, a community in which to source and savor our own natural craving.

  • Radness

    Radness said 7 years ago

    why design now? Designing and creating my own wears is problem solving at it's best. "How was that done and how can i push it and make it better?" Sure, there are some financial risks involved in making things in hopes others would think are cool. But it is so rewarding when I see someone out wearing one of my pieces or getting a repeat customer.

  • lauraprentice

    lauraprentice said 7 years ago

    Design is important because it puts the human back into the world. In an era where assembly lines, robots, machines, and cheap labor are taking over our jobs it is vital that we continue to be creative, to make mistakes, to be inventive. We are building a rich culture while keeping the handmade culture of our ancestors alive.

  • karenlandis

    karenlandis said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Because we can. Because even though we live in a mass-produced world, we treasure creativity. Because we respond to detail. Because design changes the way we think, look, interact and live. Because we can be frivolous and we can be brilliant at the same time. Because creating something from something else feels REALLY good.

  • edyodeco

    edyodeco said 7 years ago

    so unique ! Congrats !

  • TheJewelryChateau

    TheJewelryChateau said 7 years ago

    Why design now? In a World so complicated and consumed with fast paced innovation and technology why not embrace what makes us so unique and share with the world the beauty that surrounds us. We design now and forever because we must express ourselves.

  • candacejean

    candacejean said 7 years ago

    Holy smokes! What a fun project. Congratulations! I work for an architectural firm so I am CONSTANTLY surrounded by design. I help design our proposals so they stand out from all the other submissions. Our buildings need to be designed well for function and obviously for aesthetics. They need to suit the design standards of today, as well as remain classic enough to stand well among buildings of the future. Even though this is a 9-5 office job and it seems so day-to-day, this whole place is brimming with necessary creativity!

  • MerCurios

    MerCurios said 7 years ago

    Wow! what a wonderful opportunity. So happy to see one of my friends featured above, yay 19moons!!

  • beadweaver

    beadweaver said 7 years ago

    Why Design Now? In a world of megalopolies and mass production, Etsy offers a simple solution: Made by Hand with Love.

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 7 years ago

    We humans are the only creatures on the planet who can engineer our own extinction, or our own transformation. The power and ability to design, whether used to make a pottery bowl or a solar panel, is the human faculty that will decide our future, and the future of our life on our planet as well.

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 7 years ago

    oh, heck, my last sentence had an extra word! My post should read- We humans are the only creatures on the planet who can engineer our own extinction, or our own transformation. The power and ability to design, whether used to make a pottery bowl or a solar panel, is the human faculty that will decide our future, and the future of life on our planet as well.

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 7 years ago

    Congrats Etsy! Why design now? Because we can.

  • MicheleP222

    MicheleP222 said 7 years ago

    Way to GO ETSY!!! Great design sets the stage for stimulating the brain with pattern and color. More stimuli, more activity...more activity, more thinking. Thinking is good! Thought turns to action...I love this pattern!

  • QuiltFinger

    QuiltFinger said 7 years ago

    Design has become more personal ithan ever. The internet (and especially Etsy) gives designers of every kind a worldwide audience. It's not design teams creating trends, it's the crafter working in their studio, maybe from their home. That's a real revolution.

  • ArtWhims

    ArtWhims said 7 years ago

    This is so awesome! Congrats to everyone!

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 7 years ago

    why design now? etsy gives a voice to the vision of indie designer. Through the interchange of our creative energies, we can spread peace and understanding all over the world. go etsy ♥♥♥♥

  • undertheroot

    undertheroot said 7 years ago


  • AudreyGardenLady

    AudreyGardenLady said 7 years ago

    There really are some amazingly talented and creative people out there!! Just goes to show, inspiration can come from almost anywhere! AudreyGardenLady

  • Stagedoordaisy

    Stagedoordaisy said 7 years ago

    I am a fashion designer. I think Etsy is so important to fashion in the 21st century because so much of the industry is so over mass produced that alot of the art and craft of true fashion has been lost. I have worked in New York and LA and was so dissatisfied with what they wanted me to do. Etsy gives me the freedom to trully express my Fashion Vision. I am so inspired by those who sell their crafts and it just makes me a better artist.

  • anotherghostquilts

    anotherghostquilts said 7 years ago

    This is great. congrats to all!

  • StudioCherie

    StudioCherie said 7 years ago

    I think design now is about taking back our individuality and freedom of expression - not leaving it to corporations to dictate how we dress or what we hang on the wall.

  • worksandfinds

    worksandfinds said 7 years ago

    Congratulation Etsy and designers. This is great!!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 7 years ago

    Only by intelligent design and use of remaining resources can we hope to have a future at all, let alone the kind of future we hope for. The internet in general and Etsy in particular enables small and one-person businesses to reach the entire globe with thier products and ideas, so hopefully fewer genuinely "good" ideas will be lost. This is a fabulous opportunity for Etsy and the featured sellers, congratulations to you (and/or us) all!

  • CDLjewelry

    CDLjewelry said 7 years ago

    As someone who works and plays in a lot of different mediums, I have surrounded myself in a Handmade life...but what I love about Etsy is I can find things Handmade by others that fall in step with my aesthetics, humor and nature, and by buying those things I will surround myself with more richness and stories than I myself could provide alone. A true Handmade community. Thanks to everyone who puts Themselves out there!

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 7 years ago

    Design is the answer to the world's problems. Da Vinci knew this as early as 1488, when he first designed the prototype for a flying machine. Think about what has been designed; everything that you see every single day! Signs for subways and streets, the better gadget that's both great looking, colorful and easy to manage. The algae that scientists are designing to eat greenhouse gas emissions, or the wind turbines and solar panels that can provide green power, forever. I'm a painter, but I use design in my compositions and in the way that I see the world. I was a judge for one of the Cooper Hewitt design exhibitions a few years ago, it's a prestigious and wonderful show. Congrats, Etsy!

  • bysweetmom

    bysweetmom said 7 years ago

    congrats everyone!

  • minipotterybyanita

    minipotterybyanita said 7 years ago

    Congratulations, everyone involved in being chosen for this! I like this quote and think it sums up why we need all kinds of art--design, imagination, inspiration, etc. "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." - Pablo Picasso

  • byEmilie11

    byEmilie11 said 7 years ago

    Designing for me ... is to be able to express myself no matter what medium I'm working in. Whether it is decorating a batch of cut-out cookies, creating my latest ornament or something more intricate. To allow others to do the same without criticizing is a process so delicate that to hold ones thoughts and opinions has become a fine art within itself. Here on etsy we all have shown both sides and I think and hope we all learn from this Etsy venue. It's become a fabulous opportunity for all who have become a part of this community.

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 7 years ago

    I'm so proud to be a part of Etsy! Design is important today and has been throughout most the history of mankind who seek to express themselves in ways that are not possible with words alone. By designing we are trying to convey our uniqueness in the way we see and feel life, and what attracts us, be it in the form of color, form, or sound (music). It is within human nature to design, and every single person in the world is a designer of some kind, whether they want to let it show or not.

  • CrazieGracie

    CrazieGracie said 7 years ago

    Now we're cookin' ! Onward and Upward !

  • reinaldovalentin

    reinaldovalentin said 7 years ago

    WOW this sounds like a great event! In my opinion good design can never save the world. But, it can save our time, money, energy, and aesthetics. Design and art are only starting points for change, a ripple in an ocean of life, an instrument to carry light, but never light its self. So, good design is about making better flashlights.

  • capitalcitycrafts

    capitalcitycrafts said 7 years ago

    I can't imagine a world without design! It's part of our nature to express ourselves.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 7 years ago

    From the subatomic level to macro systems in all of nature/life/creation, design is the underpinning. Design is an ever-present, irrepressible force so perhaps the more salient question, for me at least, is 'why not' rather than 'why now'. Above, searchandrescue expressed it far more eloquently than I can: As humans, we are inherently creative beings and with creativity comes design.

  • artbrain

    artbrain said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Because creativity fuels the soul. In today's world of mass-marketed products and strip-mall stores, society needs to be reminded that ingenuity is fundamental to the growth and happiness of all human beings. Etsy is an incredibly big part of that growth, because of its commitment to support artists and their ideas.

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    How exciting! Congrats to all involved! Creativity makes the world more exciting and interesting

  • quenchmetalworks

    quenchmetalworks said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Why is design important today? Without design, the functioning world would cease to exist. Look around you, every object within your reach has been designed. Your chair, the pen in your hand, the print on your t-shirt, your shoes, the graphics on your cereal box, your desk lamp, the phone in your pocket. Not all is good design and much is design specifically for the sake of marketing. However, design makes the world go around, aids commerce, and increases visual interest. The community at Etsy goes beyond design as just a profitable tool. Years of cheap imports and commercialism has created a wary consumer. We, the sellers on Etsy, recognize this disenchantment and challenge ourselves to design and create objects, items, and services from the goodness of our individual hearts rather from the pockets of corporate greed. Personally, my design goes beyond just the products that I sell. I design a positive experience for my customers. From the overall design of my Etsy shop to the specific wording in my listings, I am designing a rewarding shopping transaction for buyers who are here on Etsy supporting the small and individual artists and crafters.

  • quenchmetalworks

    quenchmetalworks said 7 years ago

    wow, that was lengthy!

  • tracyhibsman

    tracyhibsman said 7 years ago

    This is very exciting! Why design now? Because the time is at hand! We talk about sustainability all the sources, food sources, etc. But rarely to we discuss sustainability of the soul. There is an inherent quality to handmade items that enables people to connect soul to soul; an ability to sustain each other.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    The designs of today are the histories of tomorrow. To keep art in any form ,artists have to create and to ensure future generations that their designs are a continuity and evolution going to infinity!

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 7 years ago

    Yay! Very cool!

  • Collettestreasures

    Collettestreasures said 7 years ago

    Why design now... Design is a conceptual vehicle a means to an answer. It brings forth innovative solutions. Without design there simply would be no tomorrow. Why is design important today...Design is what has brought us to today. It is what will ensure there is a future.

  • MichelleWey

    MichelleWey said 7 years ago

    "Why design now? Why is design important today?" Creative expression via the handmade object is one of the ways we can connect with our humanity in an increasingly automated world. The design element in the creative process allows us to impose our intention in a benevolent pursuit of form and function. Etsy is a wonderfully pluralistic forum and marketplace for designers to present their work.

  • gemagenta

    gemagenta said 7 years ago

    Wow!! that's very exciting! :D As an industrial designer! design is my life, is a passion, a discipline, a commitment! "Why design now? Why is design important today?" In hard times like the present we're living, design is the KEY, good design solves real needs, can make more with less, make long lasting eco-conscious items, distinguishes ourselves from others by printing our principles and personality in the objects we make. A well designed object brings a smile to our face and becomes part of our life and our memories.

  • EDCCollective

    EDCCollective said 7 years ago

    Congrats to Etsy and our members! The tag line that I came up with for my website and blog speaks to your question. I wrote, "Good design adds beauty and function to our lives."

  • FavreBijoux

    FavreBijoux said 7 years ago

    This is exciting. Why design now? Design has always been important. Good design incorporates functionality and aesthetics seamlessly-- it’s not supposed to be obvious. I make jewelry. Most people never consider how jewelry is actually made. When I make a piece of jewelry I have to be an architect, and engineer, a craft person and artist. If all work together, I’ve made a good design. Why design now? Etsy is a direct path to anyone anywhere who appreciates handmade items. It is the perfect platform for the maker in that Etsy allows creators of handmade objects to bypass traditional art world filters (tastemakers) and connect with buyers (collectors) directly.

  • birchbeerboutique

    birchbeerboutique said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Because right now we need design and creativity desperately to level several playing fields - to help balance our drive to consume with our need to care for our environment for example. To bring "women's work" to the forefront of the design world - to exchange passions, traditions and ideas in a fair and transactional way. Perhaps best of all to make a more beautiful and kinder world for our children and each other.

  • Mod3rnArt

    Mod3rnArt said 7 years ago

    WOW - Congrats to Etsy on being invited to such a lovely event. Everyone's work looks fantastic and thank you Venessa for adding us to this stunning list of artists. Hope life smiles on you Etsians!

  • gullistCraft

    gullistCraft said 7 years ago

    Hi, Design is always very important because design is creativity and freedom. Thanks Vanessa for share.

  • artofjane

    artofjane said 7 years ago

    Form and function equals design. And great design can lift the human spirit.

  • lifeofcolors

    lifeofcolors said 7 years ago

    Congrats to Etsy, necklush and Toolgrrl! As for why design now? My question would be, "Why NOT now?" :-)

  • AngeliqueBuman

    AngeliqueBuman said 7 years ago

    Many of us lose our creativity at an early age, trained to work towards a standard goal to fit in society. However, Design is a sign of hope. It works as an inspirational tool to reach out to viewers, customers--ALL OF US! It reminds us that we are still allowed to be creative, that there is still creativity within us; That there is still magic in the air! It is not too late to live a creative lifestyle!

  • RSSDesignsInFiber

    RSSDesignsInFiber said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Why is design important today? Design is a creation of something in a certain form -- I think it happens naturally with those who design or who have the urge to create something. In other words - it just happens. I do Designs In Fiber now for various reasons in my life -- some are physical works of other's patterns, some of which I modify to my satisfaction (which is a form of design) and some are totally my designs. I knew a musician once who wrote songs and music (and other things) and I once heard him talking about having songs and albums "in his head". (By the way - his albums sold!!!) Well, I have designs "in my head" -- only so many of them get actually done in the physical world. I have lists and ideas of things to do that I have never gotten to and I don't know if I ever will. I also don't know if people would want to buy them, though I would like to make them -- LOL!! Why design now -- because I and others want to!! Always!!! I hope - and pray - that there will always be people who want to express themselves through some kind of design and keep creating - and keep creating - and keep creating .... if you get what I mean!!! Creative expression is an important part of Life - for the expressers and the people observing the finished designs!! Congratulations to Etsy for making it in the National Design Triennial at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum - I am really glad to see it!!!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 7 years ago

    Designing and creating is now I feel more important than ever eventhough it always have been important that the world knows that no matter how bad it seems we can always design and create.

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 7 years ago

    I love the lamp of wooden hangers. I've often wondered what to do with my extra ones. I think design is just as individual as the artist. We all share a wonderful passion for making beautiful things, but we all still have our own unique twist to an idea and it's wonderful to see a forum share inspiration and spark ideas within our creative self. Congrats to Etsy and all of the wonderful shops that make it so unique!

  • bluebicicletta

    bluebicicletta said 7 years ago

    Wonderful responses here! And a great question. I think design is important today because it gets people's attention. I think to "design" is to put intention into what you are creating. When something has been thoughtfully created, it has the power to make people think in new ways. In our present circumstances in this world, making meaningful and global change relies on getting people at large to think in new ways. Design has the potential to do that---whether it's the graphic design conveying a message in a creative way, or design of green building methods, it has power to create a new way of thinking.

  • DebiDesigns

    DebiDesigns said 7 years ago

    congrats to necklush and Toolgrrl! Cool, I didnt know my branch necklace was in here until one of my friends contacted me to tell me. Thats so cool! I never know what I will design. So just let your artistic energy flow, let free your muse to express in making your art! Be it beads, fabric, fibers, clay, whatever, I'm all for it.

  • fiberpuppy

    fiberpuppy said 7 years ago

    Wickipedia defines design as, “As a verb, "to design" refers to the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component with intention. As a noun, "a design" is used for either the final (solution) plan(e.g. proposal, drawing, model, description) or the result of implementing that plan in the form of the final product of a design process. I believe that in our current world of multi-national conglomerates, The solution has been thrust upon us by the Targets and Walmarts of the world. They seem to want to tell us that there is only The solution. The joy of etsy is that it takes the verb design out of the hands of corporations and puts it back into the hands of individuals. The result is that there is no one “solution”. Each and every person who shops or sells on Etsy can find the solution that fits their needs and personalities. I think this kind of design is so important now because in our homogenized global culture, people crave one of a kind or unique objects. What might be useful in Alaska might not work so well in Tahiti. Many of us are waking up and realizing how much we took for granted the home made things that used to be so common and are now so scarce. It was those same home made things that took into account the time, place, person and culture in the design of the object.

  • SatinandBirch

    SatinandBirch said 7 years ago

    Why design today..... Simple............... some of History's greatest solutions to the problems people faced where actually found in Art and Design .....that's why.

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 7 years ago

    Form and Function...yeah baby. Toolgirl and Necklush-a deep bow to you both.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago


  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 7 years ago

    Congratulations to Etsy, to all of us and to the world. In this time of mass production and global culture, and where everything seems to have been done before, design keeps us human and alive.

  • HandmadeHandsome

    HandmadeHandsome said 7 years ago

    Congratulations to Etsy, to all of us and to the world. In this time of mass production and global culture, where everything seems to have been done before, design keeps us human and alive.

  • Sewingkat2

    Sewingkat2 said 7 years ago

    Bravo Etsy, Toolgirl and Necklush! Design for me is about changing the world into a better place; I want something new? I make something new.Being focused at working on what you love can only have a positive impact.

  • FabricFascination

    FabricFascination said 7 years ago

    What wonderful design choices, I especially like the beaded necklace. Design because you have to. It is the creative nature of humankind expressed.

  • CatzillaCrafts

    CatzillaCrafts said 7 years ago

    ARGH! My porch is screaming for those patio chairs!

  • DomesticIcing

    DomesticIcing said 7 years ago

    I'd have to answer the question in a similar way to HandmadeHandsome. Creative design is the most human of our capabilities and desires. The need to enjoy through aesthetic value rather than simply to appreciate the functionality of a thing is so unique to humans and something that is quickly being lost in our household objects. A lack of beautiful design is why so many people hide their electronics away in delicately carved cabinets and intricately embroidered cases. They appreciate the functionality of these things, but the need for beauty is unmet.

  • pixiepaper

    pixiepaper said 7 years ago

    Thanks awesome, congrats!

  • pixiepaper

    pixiepaper said 7 years ago

    oops.....not enough coffee yet. That's awesome, congrats!

  • pejnolan

    pejnolan said 7 years ago

    Design is, in its purest form, organization. Patterns, colors, shapes, and textures are placed in such a way as to please or surprise the viewer. Design is needed in today's world because everyday life fills us with chaos. When we have objects or art in our world that is designed, that chaos is minimized. We find an inner peace. Similar to the way the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century was a reaction against the Industrial Revolution, I believe design today is a reaction against the digital revolution. People are seeking something more personal, more human. And that's my 2¢

  • kadlubik

    kadlubik said 7 years ago

    congratulations to etsy! and those who contribute to this extensive collection of goods!

  • JoyScebold

    JoyScebold said 7 years ago

    Congratulations Etsy! It is so good to see an on-line site devoted to handmade creativity and design in the midst of this world of mass-produced stuff! Designing now is important today more than ever because in the process we use our heads, our hearts and our hands. Learning, researching, problem solving, imagination, thoughtful creativity, aesthetic quality, beauty, putting our hearts into what our hands create -- it is all part of what makes us distinctively human, and in the process our creations can touch the heart of another human being.

  • gasometri

    gasometri said 7 years ago

    Congrats Necklush and Toolgrrl! We believe in design as expressive language of the present time and adviser, through its strong visual virtue, of the transformations of lifestyles and the places where we live. Transformations and changes that now increasingly require a material manifestation and inevitably through the objects that surround us. The design which always has been interwoven with the creative world of art and craft, now more than ever, holds strong relationships with new areas and new interests of the contemporary world, covering new channels (like shops on-line, social networks, etc) and becoming more accessible to everyone in a multidisciplinary idea always higher.

  • KatyScudieri

    KatyScudieri said 7 years ago

    Congratulations to Necklush and Toolgrrl! (Two of my favorites!) To answer the querry, one bad design can have just as much impact as one good design, or one thousand good designs. Look at the number of recalls that come out every year. More than one would have been prevented by better planning and design.

  • TheJoyofColor

    TheJoyofColor said 7 years ago

    Design now? design always was important either functional or decorative. As huoman we need the thing around us to be functional but for way back decoration and athtetic was a big part of any culture. So design - is forever. If you are a crafter or stylist or consumer, even wihtout knowing it your deccission to by are also based on the designe and not only the function. A good design is for me one that is relvent, useful, touch the sole and our cultural background. Now days - the world is small and there is a great influence of different culture i believe new athetic forms and design will arise. Enjyo there, i wish i could visit but i'm to far away.

  • jennyhoople

    jennyhoople said 7 years ago

    Design because it fills your life with meaning, because beauty is worth creating and because you can't help yourself! ---------------------------------- Very exciting :) Also a friend shared w/ me the article about Etsy that was in Reader's Digest, you all are doing a Great Job of getting us heard about, thanks!

  • TheSteelFork

    TheSteelFork said 7 years ago

    yes. design is meaning. it is value. I think we're all ready for mindful design- good for us- our kids, good for our neighbors and good for nature.

  • sirenedelmare

    sirenedelmare said 7 years ago


  • BlossomJewels

    BlossomJewels said 7 years ago

    Very cool and way to go! "Why design now? Why is design important today?" Design represents refreshing and creating new. Each era that humanity endures, requires refreshing and creating new ideas to meet today's world. Every second in time is different than the last. No two moments in time are the same because change is constant. Our world today represents extreme poverty, extreme wealth, and an unstable living ecosystem. Design today needs to reflect the current balance and seek to improve it for the good.Many designers are looking to reusing, recycling, and refreshing old ways. This amazing design recreates resources for the good. Design needs to bring new hope, refreshing ideas, and creative solutions to mold a better future.

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 7 years ago

    congratulations necklush and Toolgrrl and ETSY!!

  • wuglyees

    wuglyees said 7 years ago

    Congratulations to you etsy!!! You're showing your style and shaping up just fine, aren't you!!!

  • SilverandEarth

    SilverandEarth said 7 years ago

    Why design now? Because in this fast paced world that is saturated with the same mass-produced items from continent to is refreshing to see beautiful works of art, represented in all mediums, that are unique, handcrafted and made with "heart and soul".

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa said 7 years ago

    Thank you all for your awesome comments! Keep them coming!

  • pART

    pART said 7 years ago

    yes of course but.......... what about GREEN DESIGN or RE DESIGN ? ? ? everyone can design, and everyone is designing his life and his future but the matter is to find the real problem and not to "cure" it by the first and more obvious solution

  • Heartwoven

    Heartwoven said 7 years ago

    We must all continue to support each other in our creative endeavors. To show the world what is in our hearts, to design something unique comes from the soul. It is that connectedness that keeps the world a better, more inspired and hopeful place. Beauty is the soul shining through and beauty is what we are creating. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, therefore, there is much beauty to be created in so many varied ways! Congratulations Etsy, what an honor we all share in!

  • pawsintheair

    pawsintheair said 7 years ago

    Design today is so very important, more important than I can ever imagine it having been, as there is so much mass production knit into our society at every turn, and it's so much easier for us to rely on 'the system' than to forge our own way. I think there are even many that think they actually want that supposed comfort from the cookie cuts. There is so much fulfillment in the journey of design alone, let alone that tranquil spark that comes when our little piece of joy gives such joy to another. Where is the personal aspect within our lives and even within our own persons without such a journey? Thus, it would seem the process of design alone is key to our individual lives, and the fruit of said design key to the lives of others, keeping that which is personal alive.

  • moonbindery

    moonbindery said 7 years ago

    ...and now for something completely different (lol!): Why design today? Design is a leaf swirling in the wind, Design is a tiny drop pearl on an earring, Design is the connectedness of all things, Design is the pattern, Design today.

  • necklush

    necklush said 7 years ago

    We are totally humbled and extremely excited to have been considered, let alone chosen to exhibit in this event! Thank you to Etsy and thank you for the shout outs everybody! When we first discovered Etsy we were in awe- of not only the fact that artists of all sorts and types have a place to display and sell their work with class and ease, but that there was a giant worldwide community that is nurturing, supporting, and cheering everyone on. We are very happy that Etsy is going to be in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial... it's a testimony to self-empowerment and to unique artistic visions worldwide. Long live Etsy and it's amazing community!

  • PureaAccessory

    PureaAccessory said 7 years ago

    Good design makes all happy.

  • newivystyle

    newivystyle said 7 years ago

    Amazing chandelliers by Organelle!

  • AMSkrafts

    AMSkrafts said 7 years ago

    wow, this is amazing! congrats, and let's all keep etsy as awesome as ever!

  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy said 7 years ago

    Re-reading this article again and finding it super inspiring!

  • candiceashment

    candiceashment said 7 years ago

    Etsy is a great support for every type of artist. I love reading about your success!!! Good job and good luck!

  • SWANclothing

    SWANclothing said 7 years ago

    i'm s little slow. didn't know about this. amazing.

  • Isewscrubs

    Isewscrubs said 7 years ago

    Congratulations to Etsy and Necklush and Toolgrrl! Why design now? Oh my! We can't help it, can we? Etsy is so full of amazing designs and designers!

  • reyaveltman

    reyaveltman said 6 years ago

    Congratulations! How exciting! Love those necklushies!

  • akcArt

    akcArt said 6 years ago

    WOW! Beautiful items!

  • f2images

    f2images said 6 years ago

    "Why design now? Why is design important today?".... Because design builds bridges and spans the gaps between us. I look at almost as a form of communication. Expressing ideas creatively. Design is no respecter of age, race, sex,'s for everyone and anyone. So very cool...congrats to Etsy and to Toolgrrl and Necklush....really big deal!! :)

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    i love the mayori mini dress! what an interesting pattern!

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 6 years ago


  • GroundCherry

    GroundCherry said 6 years ago

    Nice - I have to admit that the CH is my favorite museum of all time because of their approach to viewing the integration of art and designing for usefulness. All about beautiful functional works!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    In today's cookie-cutter world we need to hang on to our individuality by surrounding ourselves in our own personal space with items that are NOT the same as everything else. Public spaces are becoming increasingly similar wherever you are in the world... McDonald's, Starbuck's, shopping malls, car parks, etc, all make it difficult to feel an area's individual spirit, so we need to make a statement in the spaces we control.

  • birchbeerboutique

    birchbeerboutique said 6 years ago

    isn't design really invention? and isn't that what humans, for better or worse, are intrinsically designed to do? our opposable thumbs and hyper-developed cerebral and visual cortices were meant for this! its who we are. our very bodies crave inspiration and invention - to breathe new life into existence.

  • birchbeerboutique

    birchbeerboutique said 6 years ago

    by the way, congratulations to all involved in the design triennial! i like the look of these fantastic etsy objets d'art on display in a gallery setting. very nice...

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 6 years ago

    I love design. Cool beans!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Design is important today so that we can craft our world. I think think its important that design isn't left to the multimillion dollar fat cats, its something we can all participate in. If there was no design our world would be purely functional and that would be a shame.

  • Silverdays

    Silverdays said 6 years ago

    One of my Favorite Museums, will definitely check it out, thanks !

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    I believe Etsians are fore runners in design. This forum is so wonderful to springboard fresh minds into the design stratasphere! You have seen it with the designers that have been chosen from the etsy ranks, on the design shows. I see Etsy establishing trends. It is a hotbed of fresh thought and ideas. Why Design Now? Whether it be fashion or home decor, I see it things here years before the ideas hit the chain stores! Design is sparked the imagination of the creator and touches us all! It starts trends that we will see in the future and will help us to remember the past! it is SO exciting seeing it happen right before our eyes!

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 6 years ago

    Why design now? To me, good design is about concept and elegant problem-solving. And we could sure use come creative problem-solving in the world today! Anyway, it's so cool that Etsy is involved in this project! Yay!

  • realfaery

    realfaery said 6 years ago

    It was interesting to read it, even more to read the comments! THanks for sharing!

  • carlossantiago

    carlossantiago said 6 years ago


  • camstudiostore

    camstudiostore said 6 years ago


  • marygracethomas

    marygracethomas said 6 years ago

    Why vintage-inspired design now? Because vintage decor and clothing/accessories are green. There is so much consumer waste in the world and especially in America. Let's slow down the manufacturing of less than quality items and start recycling fabulous vintage finds.

  • marygracethomas

    marygracethomas said 6 years ago

    one more thing - I didn't any mention of the vintage side of Etsy in the "Etsy page." Hope that will be addressed. Thanks, Mary Grace

  • marygracethomas

    marygracethomas said 6 years ago

    P. S. I didn't see any mention of the vintage side of Etsy in the "Etsy Page." Hope that will be included. Thanks, Mary Grace

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 6 years ago

    Cool! Congratulations!

  • KanAnek

    KanAnek said 6 years ago


  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns said 6 years ago

    I'm always so happy to hear when events focus on sustainability in design. It needs to become so ingrained in our nature that we don't even think about it. There's no reason that sustainable design should look or feel any different than plain old vanilla design! <3 Andrea

  • LucyBlaireCreations

    LucyBlaireCreations said 6 years ago

    Why design now? Because we can! Times have changed and there is a younger and younger crop of creatives with the time, access, and ability to create whenever and where ever they want. Also, thanks to the internet, now we can share our creations with the world instead of just keeping it in our private circles.

  • davisdesignsau

    davisdesignsau said 6 years ago

    What a great oportunity... wish we were a little closer to attend! Congratulations to the Etsians on show!!

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 6 years ago

    thanks for sharing this : )

  • LivWild

    LivWild said 6 years ago

    Design now to show the world who you are, way to go etsy! (it takes all kinds)

  • ReidcraftShop

    ReidcraftShop said 6 years ago


  • AMSkrafts

    AMSkrafts said 6 years ago

    wow, that's wonderful! Congrats, Etsians!

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 6 years ago

    Congratulations on being recognized by Cooper-Hewitt!

  • BitsysBaubles

    BitsysBaubles said 6 years ago

    Fantastic. Love summer colors and the season.

  • BitsysBaubles

    BitsysBaubles said 6 years ago

    Designing is the freedom of expression. Without it, we are not free.

  • BitsysBaubles

    BitsysBaubles said 6 years ago

    Design is freedom of expression. Without it, we are not free.

  • justforfun1

    justforfun1 said 6 years ago

    Yes I agree with you, design is freedom. With each lighthouse I make there is a little peace of me. I can just see the lighthouse keeper looking out, and what he see.

  • justforfun1

    justforfun1 said 6 years ago

    Yes I agree with you, design is freedom, with each lighthouse I make there is a peace of me in them. I imagine what the lighthouse keeper see when he looks out at the ocean.

  • CassiopiasCreations

    CassiopiasCreations said 6 years ago

    Kudos to all the designers & Etsy for being part of such a fabulous experience!!

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