Shop Etsy

Identify Yourself

Aug 3, 2011

by kilas handmade and vintage goods


For the past 11 months, we’ve asked different designers to take over our Twitter background and made the design available as a free desktop and mobile download. We call it Etsy’s Twitter Artist Series and this month, we’re honored to feature Ben Hansen, a graphic designer who works alongside a small team of talented creatives in Austin, TX. They go by the name Ptarmak and I had the pleasure of chatting with them about following your passion, getting your hands dirty, design as a full-time career, and claiming your Etsy identity. After the interview, be sure to pick up your  free download and don’t forget to check out Ptarmak’s brand new Etsy shop, it’s filled with a whole lotta awesome.

Your bio says you make things with all your heads, hands and hearts. That sounds fun. What types of things do you make?
Aside from our graphic and motion work we make furniture, fixtures, fine art and friends. We choose projects we’re passionate about – with an affinity for stuff that requires strategic thinking and more than the computer to execute. Open minds. Dirty hands. Full hearts.


Photo credit: Jay B Sauceda

What’s the meaning behind Ptarmak’s name?
No one knows, but it’s hard to forget something that’s impossible to remember.

A lot of designers on Etsy currently work freelance but hope to one day make a living off their work. What advice would you give to them?
There is greatness in all of us and good ideas come from anywhere and anyone. Your great ideas don’t make you special. Realizing them does. Point being that people who stop at nothing to make it happen just so happen to make it. Etsy is a catalyst for that very thing.

What’s a typical day like for you?
We view design as a lifestyle (vs. a job). So, we keep our schedules flexible. That means, while doing right by our clients is top priority, each person manages their day around their creativity and workload. Some of us come in early, others work late, and sometimes we’re inspired to work through the weekend. It’s all a part of loving what you do and building something you believe in.

Can you tell us a bit about the design you made for Etsy’s Twitter Artist Series?
It’s a celebration of the online flea market that is Etsy, the bazaar of style and ideas informing all the businesses Etsy has launched. We couldn’t fit 400,000 on the page but the flags are analogous to saying, “My Etsy shop is my identity.” Oh, and the black flag is pre-Rollins.

I’ve never been to Austin and not had a good time. However, being locals, what are your top three favorites?






















Free Desktop + Mobile Wallpaper!

Download for iPhone / iPod Touch
Download for iPhone 4
Download for iPad
Download for 1280×800 Desktop
Download for 1440×900 Desktop
Download for 1680×1050 Desktop
Download for 1920×1200 Desktop

1.  Pick your device above and save the image to your computer.
2.  Sync your device and click the photo tab to include your pretty new wallpaper.
3.  After syncing, view the photo and click the lower left button to use as wallpaper.
4.  That’s it! Now show off and tell all your tweeps to follow @Etsy@EtsyFR@EtsyUK@EtsyDE@EtsyNL and @EtsyJP.

Get Caught Up With Etsy’s Twitter Artist Series


  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 7 years ago

    Love the designs and your motto! 'Open minds. Dirty hands. Full hearts.' Wonderful. I think mine would read more like, 'full hands, open heart, dirty mind.' Congratulations!

  • Rewoodtoys

    Rewoodtoys said 7 years ago

    Great designs. Love the new background image. Agreed about the great motto! Congrats.

  • IceCreamCandy

    IceCreamCandy said 7 years ago

    fun designs and so colorful:)

  • keeleybehling

    keeleybehling said 7 years ago

    Love the part about design being a lifestyle vs a job! What a great reminder.

  • kilas

    kilas said 7 years ago

    So in love with this month's design and especially their great outlook on work, life and friendship.

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 7 years ago

    Love the colors! Great job!!!

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust said 7 years ago

    Very neat, love the designs and love your name, will never not remember it =)

  • NecessiTees

    NecessiTees said 7 years ago

    Great work, Ptarmak (see....I remembered it too:)!

  • lapetiteposy

    lapetiteposy said 7 years ago

    Love this! The design is wonderful :)

  • satellitedaisy

    satellitedaisy said 7 years ago

    Agreed! Change it to Dirty Mind & Open Hands & I'm in! ;)

  • BingoBox

    BingoBox said 7 years ago

    Love the positive mission statement - congrats & cheers !

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 7 years ago

    Great designs. and post.

  • poeticpieces

    poeticpieces said 7 years ago

    I used to live in Texas and Austin is my favorite. I moved out and now my entirefamily moved there. I love your shop and think the article is great. I like your shop's motive-it reminds me of "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose." Movie about high school football in texas- it is what small towns dream of. i hope Austin is giving you guys all that you dream of-

  • kilas

    kilas said 7 years ago

    Texas Forever!

  • Paperpoesy

    Paperpoesy said 7 years ago

    I totally dig it!

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 7 years ago

    Great work + Feature! I like your advice!

  • HouseOfMoss

    HouseOfMoss said 7 years ago

    What a great community motto!

  • SquidInkKollective

    SquidInkKollective said 7 years ago

    Way to go guys, represent for Austin!!

  • lenamiller

    lenamiller said 7 years ago

    Can not agree more: for a lot of Etsy sellers design is a LIFESTYLE not a job! Love your designs!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Great design, it's tough making repeating patterns across different platforms! I like the visualisation of te concept.

  • studiotuesday

    studiotuesday said 7 years ago

    Great interview!

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 7 years ago

    Lovely article and a great shop! I liked your "advice" notes! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you and your team all the best!

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 7 years ago

    Love, love, LOVE the motto... "Open minds. Dirty hands. Full hearts."

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • winkink

    winkink said 7 years ago

    Gotta love my fellow Austinites! c: Y'all are the creative, unwavering fuel that makes Austin's economy the 3rd fastest growing in the nation!

  • ScrapunzelPixie

    ScrapunzelPixie said 7 years ago

    Love your designs! *sparkles*

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 7 years ago

    "We view design as a lifestyle (vs. a job)" = I love this :0)

  • ChipperCuteGirl

    ChipperCuteGirl said 7 years ago

    Fun! Lovin' Austin for 20+ years!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 7 years ago

    "Your great ideas don’t make you special. Realizing them does. Point being that people who stop at nothing to make it happen just so happen to make it." Great quote. I needed to here! Keep up the incredible work!!!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 7 years ago

    Cool background, conrast the floating islands in the shop :)

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 7 years ago

    You make a lot of great points - I'm inspired to go out and make it happen! :) Thank you!!!

  • LetThemEatPie

    LetThemEatPie said 7 years ago

    love the new shop, and the fresh design of the original website, so nice to see something like that.

  • Alfonzi

    Alfonzi said 7 years ago

    loving this background!

  • kararane

    kararane said 7 years ago

    Ptarmak - yes!agree all elements of a project should not be computered. & Etsy great idea for artists to contribute.

  • reneahanna

    reneahanna said 7 years ago

    Love their attitude! :) Go Ptarmak! Go Etsy!

  • blondie3022

    blondie3022 said 7 years ago

    very nice

  • nathandanials

    nathandanials said 7 years ago

    love it

  • myglasses88

    myglasses88 said 7 years ago

    very nice

  • sassandperil

    sassandperil said 7 years ago

    One of my fave design studios! Awesome.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago


  • fancyisland

    fancyisland said 7 years ago

    heres the link to the guy that inspired their whole direction:

  • BodamerStudio

    BodamerStudio said 7 years ago

    Great wallpaper concept. Love the typography on the t-shirts!

  • Warmth

    Warmth said 7 years ago

    All I can say is WOW.

  • bogababe

    bogababe said 7 years ago

    "Your great ideas don’t make you special. Realizing them does. Point being that people who stop at nothing to make it happen just so happen to make it." Awesome quote. I'm trying and doing...trying and doing.

  • redhooded

    redhooded said 7 years ago

    So great! Your Austin favorites are my faves too! Miss that place—well the early Spring before it gets crazy hot, anyway. Thanks for the inspiring post guys!

  • StrandRedesign

    StrandRedesign said 7 years ago

    Love your motto! Great interview. -Made me think. (For a change.)

  • thisthatotherthings

    thisthatotherthings said 7 years ago

    Love this so much. Wonderful

  • likeANDlove

    likeANDlove said 7 years ago

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • biurouw

    biurouw said 7 years ago

    Open minds. Dirty hands. Full hearts. - I love it !!!

  • RummageVintage

    RummageVintage said 7 years ago

    love it!

  • dreamingdevotchka

    dreamingdevotchka said 7 years ago

    So inspiring!

  • nellsvintagehouse

    nellsvintagehouse said 7 years ago

    amazing background. It makes my eyes so happy!

  • thebeadgirl

    thebeadgirl said 7 years ago

    love this! can't wait to download it to my desktop. love your philosophy too!

  • BirdsNestCompany

    BirdsNestCompany said 7 years ago

    Love the designs and colors! Everything just POPS!

  • robertcoffin

    robertcoffin said 6 years ago

    Remember Henry?

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