Customized Design Vs. Mass Production – New Era For Designers, Artisans And Craftsmen

Customized Design Vs. Mass Production – New Era For Designers, Artisans And Craftsmen Image

Mass production all boils down to a single blip in history – the Industrial Revolution. Mass production entails products created in large quantities in a small amount of time, while customized design entails slow and steady production of products customized to specific needs.

We live in a world that has become a global village of considerable proportions; an era of proliferation which allows for a unity in all endeavours; and yet, a select part of our design industry manufactures products via mass production. However, there is much demand for customized designs as well – especially in the higher echelons of society where money is ample and customization is a trend. Further, we’ll see just how the tug-of-war between customized design vs. mass production fared from the beginning, till now.

The Comeback Of Customized Design

It was during the throes of the Modern movement, when mass production had reached an all-time high, after which people started to come back to the roots. It was slow and steady, but gradually, the demand of customized design started to come back and eventually started an entire movement.

Designer Maker vs Industrial Design image
Designer Maker vs Industrial Design

The Arts And Crafts Movement And Beyond

In 1880, an international movement helmed by William Morris was begun to fight the effects of mass production on the local artisans and craftsmen. Known as the Arts and Crafts movement, it advocated the revival of local arts and an improvement in the design of everyday objects. In more ways than one, it was the Arts and Crafts movement that bought about the revival of business for the local artisans. It was this movement that balanced the scales between the design genre of mass production and customized design.

The Set-Backs Of Mass Production

Even though mass production meted out large quantities of products in a small amount of time with lesser room for error as well as labor costs, it also resulted in products whose design was harder to change. As these products slowly lost their appeal, so did the value of the industry.

Customized Design vs. Mass Production – New Era for Artisans and Craftsmen Image
Ford Assembly Line – 1915

A New Era Of Customized Design

While customized products were not built for mass appeal, they do boast a high quality assurance. The products are based on customers’ specifications and are mostly conducted through small businesses.

The Contemporary Generation

In the contemporary world, there are many forms of designs – arts, graphics, architecture, interior, product, fashion and many more. Each of these industries are intertwined and many are offered in a privatized market that caters to more bespoke genre of design.

How to think like a Designer Maker image
How to think like a Designer Maker

Even though the mass production takes less time for delivery and more product enhancement, the contemporary generation is more attracted to the customized design series. Although these bespoke designs are relatively expensive, their quality resilience and individuality is attracting fair customer base of their own. As a result, the indie market is thriving, with young artists promoting their work through social media ventures like INSIDER and more.


Contrary to the ubiquitous mass produced products in the market, customized design and series are definitely getting more exposure. These products are being requested more and more by clients despite their high prices.


  4. Cover Photo: Schiphol Clock by Maarten Baas for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport – 2016

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *