Defining Custom Design

Detail of a diamond and ruby ring in Platinum.  A true custom design project!

Detail of a diamond and ruby ring in Platinum. A true custom design project!

What do you think of when you hear the term “Custom Design”? The Oxford Dictionary defines custom (the adjective) as follows: “Made to order for a particular customer…” This seems to reflect the usage in contemporary culture but provides for a broad and therefore vague meaning in my mind.

As an example of what I think about when I use the term custom. I’ll relate it to the service I provide to my custom clients…

I see my custom design work as a full-option service, starting with good communication to find out just what my client wants (or needs) in their jewelry. Proceeding with a start-from-scratch design process which includes client feedback on the process, and then finally hand finishing throughout.   Interestingly, the Merriam-Webster supports or at least leans more toward this type of experience than the Oxford version. It defines the word custom in use as an adjective in the following manner: “Made to fit the needs or requirements of a particular person”. I think one thing that is key here is the implication that the needs and requirements being fit here are the ones of the client, not the vendor, a hugely important distinction.

 Enter “Mass Customization”

Delving  further into the full definition of custom in Merriam-Webster, antonyms of custom include “mass-produced” and “ready-made”. Doesn’t that imply that the current buzzword “Mass Customization” is oxymoronic? It is hard for me to accept as custom a process that includes a choice of color, as long as it is somewhere between taupe and tan. Right?

As an example of mass customization, in most cases, a customized vehicle means you get to choose the color (red, green, blue, brown, gold, or white” and maybe get to choose between leather and fabric seats. One can hardly find the option of a stick shift anymore.  The vehicle you drive off the lot is essentially the same vehicle that all other buyers drive off the lot minus some relatively minor cosmetic details.

Unfortunately, the jewelry industry, in a rush to capture the custom design market segment, has bought into this devolution of the custom process. In many places, a custom ring means that the client gets to choose from a selection of pre-made shanks, hoping that their choice will fit onto the pre-made top that they like and further hoping that their choice of gem will fit into that top.

Why Conform!  This project represents a solid "voice" that stands out against the oxymoron of  "Mass Customization".

Why Conform! Raw Diamond and Platinum, this project represents a solid “voice” that stands out against the oxymoron of “Mass Customization”.

Why be ordinary? Eschew the ordinary, go “real” custom, go bespoke! Enjoy true custom design for your lifestyle, your presence in the world, and gain satisfaction that your deserve, feel as special as you truly are.  Keeping between taupe and tan just will not do that for you.

Gary Dawson Jewelry Design does custom like no other!  Call today! +1-541-729-2531

2 thoughts on “Defining Custom Design”

  1. Gary,
    You’ve raised a good point. A customized color for your phone is no more custom design than getting a different prize in your cracker jacks box than your husband is.
    I feel with all this “customization” around which is little more than the clicking of boxes to separate tiger stripes from polka dots, it’s important to say “I do ‘custom design’ jewelry” rather than “custom” jewelry to denote, from the ground creativity and one of a kind creations.
    Because many people do not know the definition of bespoke (made to order) I do not use it.
    I’m with you. Why be ordinary? Custom design when it is important. And what’s more important than love?

    1. Hey Calla Gold,
      We are so on the same page. There is nothing more important than love and nothing expresses love like something unique to that love. Thanks so much for your comment!
      My best to you!

Leave a Reply

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