Shop Etsy

MICA Students Try Their Hand at Redesigning Etsy

Apr 21, 2010

by Vanessa Bertozzi handmade and vintage goods

What do you remember about school? Maybe the part that made an impression on you wasn’t necessarily the book-learnin’ — maybe it was the art teacher who took you on a field trip to a museum where you got to meet the curator behind-the-scenes, or the play-doh brain you made for a science fair. I’m a firm believer that real-life, hands-on experience should be integrated into education.

Today, I’m excited to announce that we’ve been working with art schools to bring Etsy into the classroom. We think of Etsy as a community of curious minds: This is where many sellers learn how to run an online business and shoppers learn about the value of handmade and vintage goods. Last year, we released our API to the developer community, so that they can create innovative tools using the Etsy platform. Our work with art schools is another way to engage with learners and makers — in this case, students of art, web design, and marketing. We want to offer students the chance to engage with a professional platform, and see what kind of fresh perspectives they can lend.

Professor Jason Corace at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore) leads one such group of students for his Advanced Web Design class. The class is entirely based on the students creating mock-ups and prototypes for Etsy site features. I’ve been working with the class, giving them research questions, critiques in the Virtual Labs, and hosting them for a meeting at the Etsy office. Now, these students want to share their prototypes with you, the Etsy community. They want to hear your suggestions and constructive criticism.

Here’s Jason, who is pictured above in the lower left hand corner:

“Students from the graphic and interaction design departments have worked with Etsy to come up with speculative designs addressing some of the community’s most requested features. Over the next few weeks, the students will be revising their designs and would love to hear the community’s feedback on their initial proposals.”

Review the students’ work on this website they’ve put together. You can comment directly on each project there.

And in anticipation of this question — “Will Etsy be using these designs and releasing these site features?” — the purpose of this class is to give students real life experience, and your feedback is part of that! Etsy’s Product and Engineering Teams, as well as members of our Marketing, Support and Community Teams, will also be critiquing the work. While the student projects won’t be implemented at, we believe the sharing of ideas benefits everyone in the Etsy community.

Interested in Etsy’s work with schools and museums? Read about Etsy’s collaboration with PNCA, the Portland Etsy Team, and the Museum of Contemporary Craft — I Heart Art: Portland.

Shop Local Baltimore | Check out the Baltimore BEST Team | Etsy’s Roadmap

Browse some of the students’ shops in the Related Items below.

babushka (print)
babushka (print)
Tree Branch with Bird Cage Necklace, Pastel Blue Birdcage Charm, Tree branch necklace, Yellow Bird Charm, Caged Bird Pendant, Gift for Her
Tree Branch with Bird Cage Necklace, Pastel Blue Birdcage Charm, Tree branch necklace, Yellow Bird Charm, Caged Bird Pendant, Gift for Her
$45.00 USD


  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 7 years ago

    What a great project, can't wait to see what they've done! xo

  • jewelrybyjackie

    jewelrybyjackie said 7 years ago

    This is such a cool project! The students involved have such tallent. Very neat to see what they come up with.

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 7 years ago

    Great project!!

  • Ayca

    Ayca said 7 years ago

    Great project! Can't wait :)

  • Vanessa Admin

    Vanessa said 7 years ago

    If you want to be involved, make sure to give em your feedback here:

  • pishposhes

    pishposhes said 7 years ago

    oh wonderful! i studied there for two years - mica's got some great talent!

  • worksandfinds

    worksandfinds said 7 years ago

    Great idea! I can't wait.

  • warmnfuzzies

    warmnfuzzies said 7 years ago

    This is interesting!

  • DPKministat

    DPKministat said 7 years ago

    Looking forward to it.

  • doxallodesigns

    doxallodesigns said 7 years ago

    MICA rocks!! This is a great idea to fuel creativity! Janice

  • GwenDelicious

    GwenDelicious said 7 years ago

    love this idea, what a great project!

  • BlueTerracotta

    BlueTerracotta said 7 years ago

    What a great project, off to see what they've done!

  • slinkymalinkicat

    slinkymalinkicat said 7 years ago

    What a great idea! I can't wait to see! Thanks Vanessa!

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 7 years ago


  • sweetcarolinadesign

    sweetcarolinadesign said 7 years ago

    I like the one student's ideas about the profile and shop pages... It was really interesting! It's always pretty awesome to see what a brand new pair of eyes comes up with.

  • SatinandBirch

    SatinandBirch said 7 years ago

    How lucky is Etsy to have these talented and driven people sharing there idea's BOY would I love to be a fly on the wall!!

  • BuddhaLeDread

    BuddhaLeDread said 7 years ago

    wow I really hope this goes through, I love everything they've done!

  • envejewelry

    envejewelry said 7 years ago

    fantastic idea! I really like all the proposals and think they would really enhance the site a great deal!

  • moosomething

    moosomething said 7 years ago

    YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!! Great stuff and thanks for everything!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Nice work, I remember doing stuff like this when I was in college.

  • SerendipiT

    SerendipiT said 7 years ago

    As a fellow Baltimoron I was excited to see this article; thanks!

  • vixensnaturaljewelry

    vixensnaturaljewelry said 7 years ago

    Wow Vanessa! So I looked at their site and read it all. I like the ideas. I would love for people to be able to shop local more. The idea about changing the front page would give more sellers the opportunity to get noticed. Love the idea of being able to link your facebook/ etc. These guys are really on to a lot of very cool ideas. I can not wait to see what they come up with! Thanks for sharing!

  • sleepymoondesign

    sleepymoondesign said 7 years ago

    I totally agree with the hands on experiences in school! I was never one to learn from books I need to actually do things to learn so if I could have done more of that in school then listen to a teacher talk or read a book I might have actually liked school!

  • kissadesign

    kissadesign said 7 years ago

    What an exciting project for them! Will definitely take a look.

  • BizzieLizzie

    BizzieLizzie said 7 years ago

    WOW - what a great project! Love hearing the opinions!

  • skeptis

    skeptis said 7 years ago

    Why not implement some of the ideas? That search local especially would be so much better than just seeing the most recently updated shops we have now!

  • WoodPigeon

    WoodPigeon said 7 years ago

    Great stuff!

  • bylynnkrestel

    bylynnkrestel said 7 years ago

    etsy is a perfect fit for aspiring artists to selling their work - i love this concept!! thanks for keeping us in the loop too!

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts said 7 years ago

    I'm sure the talented students will provide a fresh approach! Great idea!

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio said 7 years ago

    Neat project!

  • ElegantHobbies

    ElegantHobbies said 7 years ago

    Very awesome and cool...

  • julieboyles

    julieboyles said 7 years ago

    This is a great project! I really like the ideas for expanded profile pages. One of my wishes is that Etsy could incorporate something like this. The ability to add photos to our profiles and show previews of our own blog posts would be an incredibly useful tool. Way to go Etsy for utilizing such great talent!

  • OhFaro

    OhFaro said 7 years ago

    So exciting for the students. I wish them great success and can't wait to see what they do.

  • mjboutique

    mjboutique said 7 years ago

    So instead of hiring a team of qualified people, they just bribed a group of college kids to improve things. That seems odd. Hopefully they think of something useful and Etsy actually uses it.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 7 years ago

    They have some great ideas!

  • VintageTribe

    VintageTribe said 7 years ago

    Good article! Can't wait to see the outcome!

  • Floralina

    Floralina said 7 years ago

    Brilliant idea,I wish I had this opportunity while I was in school. "Learn by doing!"

  • ClementinesJewelry

    ClementinesJewelry said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • BululuStudio

    BululuStudio said 7 years ago

    That sounds fun.

  • Whimsywares

    Whimsywares said 7 years ago

    Excited to see the results!

  • ZenAndCoffee

    ZenAndCoffee said 7 years ago

    This is incredible! They are coming up with such fantastic ideas! Great article! Thank you so much for sharing it!!!

  • pinkytoeclothing

    pinkytoeclothing said 7 years ago

    Very Cool!

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 7 years ago

    Great learning opportunity for the students and great challenges the working world will prove tedious and challenging so they can Enjoy working with the Etsy Staff

  • esworkroom

    esworkroom said 7 years ago

    Bravo to both Etsy and MICA. As the mom of a MICA grad I was very excited to see not only the website work but the shops of MICA students. I will certainly check out MICA shops first when looking for art and gifts.

  • foxpots

    foxpots said 7 years ago

    Great project - good for Etsy members, good for the students! I reviewed some of the students' work on their website. Some interesting ideas there.

  • lovahandmade

    lovahandmade said 7 years ago

    What a neat project! There are so many great ideas! I love how most of the students were thinking about enhancing the overall community of the site as well as the features! Great work!

  • moonstr

    moonstr said 7 years ago

    ooooh! can't wait to see what's to come!

  • MajafariDesigns

    MajafariDesigns said 7 years ago

    Awesome! My son, James Connors, attends MICA, and is due to graduate on May 17th. His art work can be found at JamesConnorsart.blogspot. A sample of his art can be seen also on MICA most recent brochure. James was the first to tell me about Etsy, and he was right. I have never seen such a marvelous venue for buying and selling hand made art.

  • vintagelife

    vintagelife said 7 years ago

    Wow! It was fun reading and visualizing what changes the students would make. Great article and ideas!

  • KatDesignsNYC

    KatDesignsNYC said 7 years ago

    Great project can't wait to see it.

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop said 7 years ago

    Jaw dropping. They have some brilliant ideas.

  • swanmountainsoaps

    swanmountainsoaps said 7 years ago

    Well done! Bravo!

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 7 years ago

    Sounds fantastic!

  • mythunderstood

    mythunderstood said 7 years ago

    I'm sure there are good ideas but I love the design of etsy - it's very easy on the eyes.

  • IndyGrrrlProductions

    IndyGrrrlProductions said 7 years ago

    Yay, Baltimore!

  • TwistedRiverClay

    TwistedRiverClay said 7 years ago

    I like it.

  • katiefenwick

    katiefenwick said 7 years ago

    There are some awesome ideas here that I would love to see implemented!

  • OneClayBead

    OneClayBead said 7 years ago

    Fascinating proposals from the students. I love the ideas, and that Etsy is so open to new innovations.

  • LibertysBelle

    LibertysBelle said 7 years ago

    Woot! I'm a Baltimore girl, and I am just so excited that you all have partnered with MICA on this. Couldn't pick a better design school, in my humble "Bawlmer Hon" opinion ;)

  • Zyada

    Zyada said 7 years ago

    Many, many good ideas to improve some of the less elegant aspects of the interface. I'm glad to see that no one tried to change the general look and feel of the site. Please add this: Please, please, pretty please? I find the color tool useless (even if fun) as it stands.

  • sihaya09

    sihaya09 said 7 years ago

    YAY MICA! Love to see local peeps on Etsy. I hope to take a soldering class at MICA really soon!

  • ToBoldlyFold

    ToBoldlyFold said 7 years ago

    YAYYYY! Go MICA! (my alma mater) Great job everyone!

  • crochetgal

    crochetgal said 7 years ago

    What wonderful collaboration between Business and education. Kudos to Etsy!

  • knotworkshop

    knotworkshop said 7 years ago

    Oh my gosh! Hire them when they graduate! Awesome ideas!

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 7 years ago

    That's great!

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere said 7 years ago

    Wonderful ideas!

  • FavreBijoux

    FavreBijoux said 7 years ago

    Good collaborative project. I will read it all!

  • JessicaTorrant

    JessicaTorrant said 7 years ago

    What a brilliant idea including these young, creative minds in the process of evolving Etsy! Well done!

  • sweetirie

    sweetirie said 7 years ago

    Well that sucks....let's implement some of the ideas! hehe ;) I am a web design student and man, I wish we had something this fun in class!!! Wanna call the Art Institute to set it up Etsy? Please? lol :)

  • StephUp

    StephUp said 7 years ago

    Wow! The student's work is amazing. I'd love to see some of these ideas made real. I LOVE them. Especially the shop local and My Lists ideas. What talent. :]

  • MetroGypsy

    MetroGypsy said 7 years ago

    Saw this on the Community Council's page as well-looks absolutely fascinating! Plus, it's great to give the site's design a new set of fresh eyes, kudos to the students for putting so much wonderful effort in! Cheers!

  • HomeStudio

    HomeStudio said 7 years ago

    This is such a great idea. Kudos to Etsy. hmmm how about also offering this challenge to the sellers?

  • megsmonsters

    megsmonsters said 7 years ago

    I went to MICA and it was a great experience! It is so nice to see MICA working hand in hand with ETSY. Go MICA!

  • FrucciDesign

    FrucciDesign said 7 years ago

    fantastic idea!!

  • BlissStreetJewelry

    BlissStreetJewelry said 7 years ago

    I love the MICA ideas. I have left comments there but I would like etsy to implement at least two of them the profile page showing our other shops and feeds. Social networking is part of business and makes an artist more exciting. Etsy should get on board and that way people will subscribe to our shop for more than just products and the color tool. just out of pure selfishness. All my backgrounds are blue so the color tool as it is designed now is totally useless. Excited to see some of the student's shops (one or two do have them)

  • LizardsJewelry

    LizardsJewelry said 7 years ago

    Wonderful and was very excited to see this with MICA - my and my husband's Alma mater!

  • JDStar

    JDStar said 7 years ago

    I skimmed over their projects and the one that stood out to me was the Seller Networks. I think that's got some big potential with street teams and group advertising! ~JD

  • monakayathome

    monakayathome said 7 years ago

    I love these ideas, and have left comments, including answers to Stephanie's questions, and I will definitely visit frequently. But are there really no plans to implement any of the ideas?? Say it isn't so!! The local idea would mean all the difference to my shop, as most of my items are too big to ship. My problem, I know, but what a great feature that would be!!

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 7 years ago

    Great ideas.

  • pasin

    pasin said 7 years ago

    wonderful ideas

  • JeweledAmbrosia

    JeweledAmbrosia said 7 years ago

    wow, great ideas!

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 7 years ago

    Lucky students!

  • BotanicalBead

    BotanicalBead said 7 years ago

    Fabulous ideas, I love this.

  • TwinDreamCreations

    TwinDreamCreations said 7 years ago

    What a fun project!

  • mirthmarket

    mirthmarket said 7 years ago

    There are such great ideas here! I like the Shop Local, the lists, the color tool - so many things! Are you sure you're not going to implement them???

  • SundraSandrusi

    SundraSandrusi said 7 years ago

    What a great idea!

  • SundraSandrusi

    SundraSandrusi said 7 years ago

    What a great idea!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 7 years ago

    Nice idea.

  • 3squares

    3squares said 7 years ago

    i am SO impressed with their work. smart ideas!!

  • girlsewcute

    girlsewcute said 7 years ago

    Sounds like a dream opportunity to me! Thanks for sharing!

  • krize

    krize said 7 years ago

    I love the idea!!

  • SavageArtworks

    SavageArtworks said 7 years ago

    There are some really great ideas there. Well done!!

  • zoijioz

    zoijioz said 7 years ago

    I thought it was fun to see all these cool site improvements that Etsy will never implement in a million years, when, incidentally, they'll still refer to themselves as a startup company...

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations said 7 years ago

    Dear Etsy, Thank you for continually restoring my faith in this world. Your deep sense of community and your willingness to share, give, and teach makes me very happy. This is such a great opportunity for these students and I really enjoyed reading about and looking at their work. Keep up to good work!

  • HornCatCreations

    HornCatCreations said 7 years ago

    Great idea!

  • sweetirie

    sweetirie said 7 years ago

    This is wonderful!!! Man, how I do wish we could have most of these tools brought to life!

  • craftwin123

    craftwin123 said 7 years ago

    Future genius minds! I love all the proposals. So intuitive!

  • SpiceofLifeDesigns

    SpiceofLifeDesigns said 7 years ago

    Beautifully done! I especially liked Allie's 'Shopping Local at Etsy' and Yvonne's 'Improving Favorites Lists'. I certainly hope the Etsy tech folks can implement so of these wonderful ideas!

  • MaiAutumn

    MaiAutumn said 7 years ago

    It would be amazing to see most of that for real! Such great ideas!! :)

  • jared Admin

    jared said 7 years ago

    This is so great! A very large number of great ideas have been suggested. I'm falling in love with MICA students.

  • JenniferFeld

    JenniferFeld said 7 years ago

    Very exciting stuff.. I wish I would've had an opportunity to do something like this when I was in school..

  • cherspassion

    cherspassion said 7 years ago

    Some VERY cool ideas! I look forward to their fruition! :0)

  • SEOWebDesign

    SEOWebDesign said 7 years ago

    I read through the ideas that these young people have posted on their Web sites and every idea sounds wonderful. If Etsy follows up on these ideas and incorporates them into . . . that would be awesome for everyone here. Very creative and promising students!

  • JetWhitePonytail

    JetWhitePonytail said 7 years ago

    MICA rocks, please consider adopting some of these ideas!

  • Mumbot

    Mumbot said 7 years ago

    I LOVE their shop local addition to the site idea!!!

  • CraftyStitches

    CraftyStitches said 7 years ago

    I love Stephanie's Idea!!! The profiles and shops would be a great combo. This way I am not trying to keep up a blog, and other sites - twitter... all in one through Etsy. Many times, I'm stretched with trying to maintain etsy and blogs, and twitter and all that... this way I just do it all on ETSY. I WOULD LOVE THAT!

  • NagihanDesigns

    NagihanDesigns said 6 years ago

    I love MICA they are rocks.......(

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