09 Dec Crafting value in technology
Here in the RONIN office we’ve been hard at work on our latest marketing campaign. Without giving too much away; the client is launching a brand new platform for buying and selling handmade goods, set to take the world of crafts by storm.
Developing a campaign has really got our creative juices flowing, from thinking of imaginative taglines and copy, through to designing a series of quirky ads; the challenge is to entrance and inspire buyers and sellers in the highly creative craft world and beyond.
In my research of the craft world I have seen not just how big the new craft movement is, but it has also proved a great example of how powerful our tools of communication are in creating authentic values (see previous blog: Finding Stillness in the Flux).
According to Carla Sinclair, Editor of Crafts magazine, this new craft movement is a DIY renaissance which “embraces crafts while pushing them beyond traditional boundaries, either through technology, irony, irreverence and creative recycling, or by using innovative materials and processes”. The craft movement is made up of independent designers, artists and crafters who have a chance to offer their wares, the original, subversive and the beautiful, to consumers who want handmade over mass-produced goods. The website our client is launching imminently will be a platform for this movement.
Whether you’ve indulged in the craft movement yourself, or are sitting on its outer-peripheral; there is no denying its steady infiltration into the mainstream. Craft can be found everywhere, from Kirsty’s popular TV show ‘Handmade Home’, the Christmas craft fairs popping up across the country, to the handmade birthday card you receive from a friend. There is an appreciation for all things handmade, which is slowly creeping into our everyday lives.
A number of factors have been attributed to the rise of crafting; the recession being one of them. In the grips of the recession; we became a nation of frugality, people were less willing to part with their cash and a ‘make-do-and-mend’ attitude prevailed, after all, why spend money on birthday cards when you could make them?
Another contributing factor in the movement’s popularity has been deemed a back-lash against technology. What better way to switch off from the torrent of technology exposed to you during the day than by attending a craft-making workshop, and what acts as a better statement of your anti-consumerism than buying your Christmas gifts from a craft fair?
With the new craft movement seen as a reaction to the digital presence consuming our lives, it has been compared to the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th Century. The Arts and Crafts movement, headed by artist and writer William Morris arose in protest to the mass-production of decorative arts that lacked the same skills and beauty of traditional craftsmanship.
Yet craft’s relationship with technology is far more complex than a simple rise against the machine. With the advent of the Internet crafters can share their ideas through blogs, connect with fellow makers across the world, and non-crafters can easily buy in to the ‘handmade revolution’ through a simple click of a mouse. The very tools of communication in the new craft movement are powered by technology; the omnipresent, mass produced, network of IT.
Where before, the Industrial revolution spurned the Arts and Crafts movement, the new craft movement has a far more complex tapestry of influence. Interwoven into the craft communities is an authentic desire to produce valuable, handmade goods, influenced by traditional means of making. People are learning how to crochet, knit and appliqué; feeding off ideas from around the globe, techniques passed down through generations. And it is the power of the machine that is allowing this to spread in such a radical way.
Craft’s relationship with IT demonstrates just how powerful our tools of communication can be. Utilising information in today’s society isn’t about producing shallow, mass-produced information; it is about using the tools available to connect in a more authentic way with a wider audience.
It is not simply about racking up as many followers as you can on Twitter, uploading hundreds of photos to Flicker, or rejoicing at the number of users to join your Facebook group (although, as an aside, this is no bad thing). More essentially, it is about using these mediums to create real values.
We have the tools available to create connections with people worldwide; there is a wealth of knowledge to be discovered, as well as our individual knowledge to offer too. Giving away knowledge is not about giving up your secrets, it’s about offering ideas, and sharing in other peoples. Ultimately this can help create lasting and authentic values in an increasingly digital environment.
Just like the new craft movement, marketing is about evolving with technology, not reacting against it. The tools of communication are there to be used; to share your knowledge, connect with others and let the world know who you are.