The Design Brand That Wants to Be America’s Answer to Hay
PHOTOS BY CHARLIE SCHUCK
When the New York–based housewares brand Good Thing relaunched its website this morning with new branding, a new design, and colorful new imagery by Seattle art director Charlie Schuck, it wasn’t so much an attempt to simply update its visuals as it was to recast its entire mission statement. When founder Jamie Wolfond first launched the project in 2014, he envisioned it as a source for beautiful, affordable housewares, but also to showcase an approach he called “backwards design” — designing top-down from a commercial material or process, like tool dip or battery operated clock hands. Two years in, he suddenly realized that the conceit was less novel than it was constricting, and that just being a manufacturer of great, accessible design objects — America’s answer to all those popular Scandi brands like Menu, Ferm, and Hay — was enough. “I decided to go back to the real reason that I started this company, rather than the mismatched marketing story that we were trying to apply to it,” says Wolfond.
About 9 months ago, he began working with Schuck and his website and branding designer, Jon Lucas, to mark that conceptual refresh with a visual one. Schuck’s heavily-styled photography — which utilizes graphic lines, simple materials, and bright colors to match the tenor of Good Thing’s wares — is now the focus, with the site design aimed at showcasing it. (Similarly, the company’s product spartan, black and white packaging lets items like Sam Anderson’s Field Candleholder or Kenyon Yeh’s new Slim Bookend (pictured above) do all the talking.) Wolfond hopes that having stepped up his game, he can now compete, moving forward, with the likes of Menu or Hay. Or even outdo them. “The bigger companies are amazing but still have some crappy products,” he says. “I want to have no crappy products. The idea is to make accessible design; we’re not the first ones to think of that. But we want to be the best.”