The Rise of Online DIY Design Tools

Designers seem to be taking off creatively from all corners of the World Wide Web. One of the main reasons behind this outburst of creative energy is the rise of online Do-It-Yourself (DIY) design tools. Thanks to the technology of open-source content, many consumers have wanted the power of design put back into their own hands. Whether it is the design of a home or even the simplest of t-shirt designs, there are many websites now dedicated to encouraging consumers to do it themselves.

Do it Yourself - Orange Button

The Beginning

In the 1970’s through the ideas of the punk movement and anti-consumerism, DIY began to be seen in the world of fashion, literature, food, etc. Rather than fit in with the norm, people wanted to stand out in a crowd. The main problem was being able to get a hold of any of the materials that you were interested in, but with the invention of the internet, DIY has not only become involved in some of the largest consumer based sites, it has given the power back to the people.

Initially, websites such as Threadless gave the consumer the power to vote on what t-shirt design they could purchase. Users would submit their own designs and then the most popular design would be implemented onto the t-shirt and sold exclusively through their website. Then other websites, such as Society6, began opening their doors to all types of designers and allowing them to put their design on not just t-shirts, but iPod cases, pillows, large format prints for framing, etc. Etsy has become a giant marketplace for handmade goods, selling everything from clothing to art to jewelry. Rather than search for a brand, you search for the designer.

The Era of DIY

Another reason these sites and the rise of DIY goods have become more in demand is overall costs. When the recession began taking its toll, people found that they could create better products than the expensive ones found in the store. Now your average consumers could produce their own “brands” in a much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.

Websites of larger brands have picked up some slack and are now trying to incorporate more DIY elements to their websites. One example of a larger company, Converse, has implemented tools to create your own sneakers. You can now choose colors, graphics, and styles to build your very own personal shoe. You can even choose to stitch in a personalized name or phrase.

Other clothing companies are now adding in options for you to submit a picture and design your own shirt on their brand. These companies have learned that consumers find a greater satisfaction in the product when they are able to add in elements of their own. It’s no longer being able to customize the product; it’s now all about taking part in the creation of it.

Lowe’s has partnered up with DIYonline to create an entire website dedicated to the tools of home design, including expert advice, software to implement your design, and ideas to help with creativity.

What Does the Future Hold for DIY?

As with any process in distribution, companies, designers, and creators are looking for a way to mass produce the item that they’ve created. In essence, they want to start small but finish large. Another trend is to create short and long term products in an effort to drive sales and the market.

Does this mean the end is near for large brands? Not necessarily. Larger brands and companies should look into incorporating the DIY ethic in order to create more growth for their products. By taking advantage of their strong brand and integrating more of giving consumers what they actually need, instead of just what the corporations think they want, they will be able to build their base and increase their in-flow.

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