Craighton Berman: Turning Routines into Rituals

The Manual team: Emily and Craighton Berman

The Manual team: Emily and Craighton Berman


Chicago-based designer Craighton Berman creates objects that invite you to slow down and appreciate the moment. In a market where so many new products tout seamlessness and digital automation, the Chicago-based designer's creations are proudly analog, calling attention to the pleasures of carefully preparing a cup of tea or sharpening a pencil.

In 2010, Berman became one of the first designers to recognize Kickstarter’s potential for bringing new products to life, launching a campaign for an elegantly simple salt and pepper set called Pinch.

"I had designed products that I could make in small batches affordably, but I was unsure of how to fund my salt and pepper set, which required a run of slip-cast ceramics," he explains. "I had only seen artist friends use Kickstarter up to that point, but it seemed like it could be used to launch any idea."

Pinch

Pinch

And Berman is a man with a lot of ideas. Since the success of Pinch, he’s returned to Kickstarter to fund projects ranging from a pencil sharpener designed to measure creative activity to a blown-glass pour-over coffeemaker. With the latter, he took another big leap as a designer, taking on mass manufacturing for the first time and launching Manual, a new homewares brand devoted to "designs that value craft over convenience, elevate routines into rituals, and choose simplicity over novelty."

For Kickstarter Gold, Berman created a third iteration of his Manual Coffeemaker that accommodates pour-over, French-press, and cold-brew techniques, giving “slow coffee” lovers a lot of options for crafting the perfect cup.

Manual Coffeemaker Nº3

Manual Coffeemaker Nº3

That flexibility is something Berman seeks out not only in the products he creates, but in his entire approach to design: “I want to create a sustainable practice that allows me to explore projects of all shapes, sizes, mediums, and formats — essentially, total creative independence.”

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