OTTO is a creative agency committed to delivering unique branded communications and strategic, design-focused solutions.

Oct 23 2010

Artisan Design

Over the last couple of years Artisan is a word that has slowly crept into my life. I have consumed artisan water, artisan beer, artisan bologna, artisan bread, artisan cheese, artisan chicken and artisan bourbon. We’ve purchased artisan blankets, artisan baskets, linens and laundry detergent.

The term artisan has come to represent “simplicity and craft”. It captures the idea of creating products in a manner that respects traditional methods and raises the process of making them, to an art form. My wife and I first encountered the word at farmers’ markets – baked goods, organic wool, soda pop, etc. Over time it has become a catch phrase for anything that is “natural”, “premium” and aimed at The mid- to high-end market.

So when a new Artisan Restaurant opened two blocks from our apartment, my wife and I greeted it with dubious interest. As it came together, we saw signs for artisan chicken, bread and desserts, all things that we love to eat—whether we like it or not, we fit the demographic. Unfortunately, when we entered the restaurant, we found nothing but a fancy deli. Yes the employees’ matching knit shirts and khaki pants are nice and I’m sure that the proprietors go to great lengths to create their products but it got me to wondering, what other industries could benefit from the title Artisan.

Artisan Cabs
For years pedi-cabs have been trying to make it in New York. Unfortunately their pedestrian pace, steep fares and lets not forget, weather, have limited their appeal. If they were called Artisan Cabs, the focus would turn to a traditional, uncluttered means of propulsion. “Back to a better time, when people strolled and the days were long.”

Artisan Medallions
In this age of digital technology, the concept of a physical object as a means of payment, seems quite novel. This is the platform from which we can re-launch the use of subway tokens. Aimed at tourists, these little pieces of old New York will allow tourists to: “relive the days of yesteryear; a time when things were simpler and kids could loose only one fair at a time.”

Artisan Musical Plectrum
“Why take it with you when you can sit at home, sip ice tea and listen to music the way your grandfather did. No phones, no digital devices, just a plastic disc, turntable, receiver, speakers and constant source of electric current. If you like this one, you may also be interested in a Artisan Stereo Furniture Console – let’s put the communal back into music.”

Artisan Electric
This one might be going out on a limb but if we called wind power and solar energy Artisan Power, we may be able to get people to pay a premium for it. “Live the pre-industrial revolution way while maintaining all of the comforts of modern living. No burning, no steam, just nature and you.”

Artisan Phones
No list would be complete without the most popular means of modern connectivity – the mobile device. Go back to the days when a phone was a phone and mail meant paper, stamps, trucks, men and dogs going postal. AND for those who wish to return to the pre-push button days, you can purchase the special add-on feature, The Artisan Rotary Communicator.”

This is just a short list. If you wish to share your thoughts, please visit our facebook page ( and contribute your suggestions.

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲