Tag Archives: custom

Bespoke Design

Bespoke: bih-spohk, adj.
“made to individual order”

The origin of the word comes from the verb bespeak, such as giving an order for something to be made.

This has been a common word in British English and is only getting some acceptance in the United States. Although historically used for articles of clothing, it has gained wider usage to include many one-of-a-kind designed items, such as computer software and furniture. The word not only suggests that a higher level of quality is expected, it also implies that the customer’s individual needs are taken into consideration. This is in contrast to mass-produced goods intended toward a standardized taste.

The word “artisan” has been adopted by small-run cheese makers, distillers, bakers and other industries and might possibly mean that  a human being actually touches (and inspects) the goods before they are ready to be sold (whether or not they truly excel in their field). Other terms, such as “custom made” (or custommade) lack the same glamor that “bespoke” has. For instance, one can get an equally shoddy product made in a different size or color and consider it to be custom-made. That is not always the case, of course, but for want of a word that conveys when a craftsman really listens to a client and delivers the very best of their work, bespoke remains the best word choice.