Art fairs and craft festivals used to be the livelihood of artists, crafters, and makers. Before Etsy arrived on the scene, crafting was never a real industry. Crafting was a hobby, and it usually wasn’t one that produced profit. However, with people yearning for more quality and handmade goods, the crafter/maker suddenly became a highly prospective job. What was missing before Etsy came into the picture was a way for crafters to sell their goods better. Etsy provided a platform for small-scale crafting businesses to sell online and sell directly to their clients. It was an incredible opportunity for businesses to have a platform without having to own, set up, and market their own domain. The Etsy marketplace provided everything that a crafter needed to be able to focus on their art and skills and leave the details of a website to another party. The Etsy logo has become a symbol of creativity and individuality over the years. We’ll examine more about the story behind Etsy’s logo, but first let’s take a brief look into the company’s history.
History of Etsy
Started by three friends in 2005, Etsy has had the simplest and easiest beginning. Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, and Haim Schoppik had an idea: why not provide small businesses an online space where they can sell handmade and vintage goods? It was June 2005, and the three original owners were making plans in a Brooklyn apartment. By August of that year, the Etsy website was launched. Majority of the planning, the business building, and the programming was done during that time.
Within the first year, Etsy expanded exponentially. The company hit its one-millionth sale only within two years. By 2007, the company was generating $26 million in sales annually through an incredible community of registered sellers—about 450,000 in fact. This unprecedented growth was something that the original owners weren’t prepared for, especially Robert Kalin who also served as CEO for the company during that time. As could’ve been predicted, the company suffered through many executive problems during the first few years, and many have pointed the blame towards Kalin who lacked the makings of a true executive. Kalin was a maker himself and not so much the businessman that can call the right shots. By 2008, Maguire and Schoppik had left the company despite its success, and Kalin was left to fend for himself and the burgeoning brand.
Kalin did make a smart move by hiring Yahoo’s Senior Director of Product, Chad Dickerson. Dickerson provided Etsy with much needed business savvy that Kalin just didn’t have. Upon being hired as the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Dickerson quickly rose to the role of CEO, mainly due to Kalin’s decision to step down from operations altogether. This transition marked a palpable shift in Etsy’s company profile to become a more financially viable and stable business. The company continues to grow today, even with remarkable changes in its platform. The community stands strong with 54 million members and sales at over $1.3 billion annually.
The story of how Etsy’s brand came to be is a trivial one. When Kalin first came up with the idea for the business, he knew off the bat that he wanted something that was fresh. He wanted the company to feel as if it was being created out of scratch. This is probably the maker side of Kalin talking, but it worked. While watching an Italian classic film called 8 ½,Kalin came upon a phrase that got his attention. The phrase was eh si, which means “oh yes” in Italian. However, when Kalin wrote it down phonetically, he wrote down what he misheard. He thought the actors from the movie were saying, “Et si.” He loved the sound and idea of it, and Et si eventually became Etsy.
The logo is a basic logotype with the simplest logo font. The font is called Minister EF Book font and was designed by Carl Albert Fahrenwaldt and published by Elsner + Flake—hence the EF denotation. The Minister EF Book font has 5 styles in its family, and the Etsy logo uses the regular font. The logotype is also written in proper English grammar, with its first letter being capitalized. All the rest of letters are in lowercase. The main emblem is circular, and the letters are printed in white against an orange background.
As per Kalin’s obvious quirky nature and the peculiar naming of the company, the story behind the brand’s color scheme is also of interest. As it turns out, Kalin thought to color Etsy’s logo orange because he happened to have been sitting on an orange chair when he came up with the idea for the business. It might be a fortuitous choice given that orange in business stands for adventure and fun. Although it’s not what Etsy may be about, the color orange brings about feelings of friendliness and approachability. Orange in business has a negative connotation as well. It can stand for frivolity and loudness—something that Etsy doesn’t necessarily stand for either. The color of Etsy’s logo has simply become a point that stands out in its simplicity and vibrancy.
Etsy has been around for 15 years now, and its logo has not changed at all since the beginning. It’s likely not to see any changes anytime soon either. The logo works for the brand, whether it’s digitally or not. Etsy has become recognizable through this branding, and it probably won’t do it any good to undergo any unnecessary changes. The logo is one of the few things that have worked for the business since the beginning. If there’s nothing wrong with it, it should just be left untouched.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith