Web Design & Development

12 Best Artisan Websites (December 2019)

The word “artisan” has reached all realms of industry, from traditional trades honed by craftsmen (think black smithery and word working) to food trucks selling kombucha and small-batch donuts. In today’s world, “artisan” can describe anything crafted by hand through a process that’s often slower and more methodical. Even in the world of technology, you’ll find plenty of “artisans” creating apps and, yes, websites.

For this “best of” websites list, we’ve decided to focus more on the traditional definition of “artisan”, rounding up websites that sell (either directly online or via a physical exchange at a later point in time) products that have literally been crafted by hand and as few “extra” tools as possible. Dedicated to honoring long-held processes and practices, but without any sense of fear or restraint, the artisan websites listed here reflect this slow-grown, down-to-earth demeanor. They also, however, function incredibly well in the modern, fast-paced world almost everyone today lives in, providing an experience that beautifully bridges the space between handmade and online.

If you’re still doing last minute holiday gift hunting, the inspiration you’ve been looking for might just be on this list. You also might find the inspiration for the new website you’ve been dreaming of. And, if that’s the case, then remember that our team at FreshySites is here to take your visions of sugar plums and make them your online reality.

’Tis without further ado, we present you with the 12 Best Artisan Websites

  1. Hanselmann Pottery

    A simple website with a lot of style, Hanselmann Pottery understands the beauty of minimal design, something that is reflected both in the brand’s website and their pottery. Known for classic white home goods (like handmade plates and bowls), Hanselmann Pottery’s website appears classic, too, providing its visitors with all of the information they need (photos of products, location, contact numbers). Underneath the classic, minimal facade, however, is a website that tells a great story, one where visitors can learn how the pottery is actually made with a wonderful gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and even video footage. The storytelling continues on the “Who We Are” page on the website, where black and white portraits of the company’s team are accompanied by bios that are both interesting and informative.

  2. Emily Jeffords

    Emily Jeffords’ website is visually stunning, which, with her being an artist known for her gorgeous landscapes and subtle palettes, isn’t surprising. What we really love about her website, however, is how well it works, which is not something all beautiful websites can boast about. From capturing leads via a newsletter sign up to a free lead magnet that teaches visitors about the art of framing art, the design of the site is as savvy as it is aesthetically pleasing. Jeffords’ website, which sells her art as well as her courses for other fellow artists, also demonstrates the importance of creating a unique experience for repeat visitors. By offering exclusive offers, such as holiday ornaments only available for customers on her VIP newsletter list, the website works wonders at creating a loyal club of followers, ones that continue to visit her virtual space over and over.

  3. Aurora Shoe Co.

    Based in Aurora, New York, the Aurora Shoe Co. has been making leather shoes by hand since the 1990s. While the shoe company’s website is simple, it’s effective for several reasons. Not only is the layout intuitive and easy to use, but it’s vastly different from the major shoe retailers so many of us are used to because of its simplicity. From a humble brand story to a blog that pulls you in with photographs of real people making real shoes, the website is convincing, giving you plenty of reasons to want to support a small company instead of buying into the mass production that so many of us fall for. Our favorite feature of the site is the #aurorashoes section (located right in the main menu so it’s easy to find), which pulls in all of the lifestyle images of the brand’s shoes “out in the wild”.

  4. WorkOf

    An online collective for talented independent designers and makers, WorkOf gives visitors a truly awesome experience thanks to its smart layout and clean design. Using beautiful photographs of goods available and well-written stories about each designer, it’s impossible not to feel like you’ve just stumbled upon an online treasure trove of artisan products. The website’s menu allows for even more custom exploration by offering visitors the chance to search by product type or artisan. The website also features a handy chat tool so that if you’re really looking for something specific you don’t have to hunt for long to find it. What we really love right now, however, is the Gift Guide section, which points visitors to all of the best products to fulfill everyone’s wish list this season.

  5. Bowery & Grand

    Clean, simple, and focused, there’s a lot to love about Bowery & Grand’s website design. A custom furniture brand based in New York, Bowery & Grand’s online home is appealing for a lot of reasons. First, by leveraging the use of white space in the margins, the website feels calm, like a place you can enjoy exploring without any sense of overwhelm or distraction. Second, the unique product photos (most are taken from a lower-than-eye-level height) make exploring the shop fun and interesting, plus they really show off the killer mid-century lines. Third, because the website is so straightforward (there is nothing superfluous at all about the design), you immediately feel like you’re doing business with an honest, passionate artisan — and that feel is more difficult to create virtually than you might imagine!

  6. Alexander Designs

    A lot of great artisan websites are powered by Shopify — and for good reason. Not only does Shopify offer great standard designs and layouts, but they’re also made for customization, which means that you can create a custom website without spending a fortune. We love the layout of the Alexander Designs website because it balances visual content with written content nicely. The website also uses other convenient features, like a chat tool and a search option, to help customers more easily navigate the digital shop. And, thanks to the custom logo, the website feels even more professional.

  7. Lindsay Letters

    A wonderful online experience from top to bottom, the Lindsay Letters website is both charming and engaging, offering visitors plenty to do and explore from the moment they land on the homepage. Because the art is sorted neatly into categories, it’s easy to explore collections so that you can better find what you’re looking for. And, thanks to the professional photos of each product, you’re confident that you know exactly what you’re going to be getting. One of the best parts about the website, however, is the wonderful mission written by the founder, Lindsay, who leads with the headline: “I believe that you are SO WORTHY of meaningful art.”

  8. Erin Rigney

    There’s something we love about websites that make “entering” feel like a big deal. The website for artist and designer Erin Rigney does just that by creating a welcoming landing page that features her art, along with the quote, “Everything around us is art, if we have the eyes to see it that way”. This type of website design is great for artisans because it builds up the anticipation, making you eager to see what’s next, even if the wait is just a second or two. As soon as a visitor clicks “Explore” on the initial landing page, they are invited into a simple yet beautiful website experience, complete with curated art galleries and a personal about story that makes you want to be friends with the artist herself. And thanks to an active social media presence, the website is always evolving, featuring the artist’s latest work as well as behind-the-scenes looks at the artistic process itself.

  9. General Store

    With physical stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the General Store is known as the place to go for handmade, artisanal goods for your home and life. And while the in-person experience is nothing you can recreate online (those high ceilings are something you have to see for yourself), the General Store’s website is a great Plan B if getting yourself to the store isn’t feasible. Defined by its beautiful images displayed in a grid (similar to what you would find on Pinterest), the store’s online presence is a visual paradise. And since the shopping experience itself is so simple and streamlined, it’s easy to get (wonderfully) lost in the images, adding one product after another to your cart for hours at a time.

  10. Melitta

    Looking for a website that elicits a visceral response in a good way? The Melitta website is just that. By creating a digital experience that uses stunning photography, theatric videos, and expert storytelling, Melitta doesn’t just sell a cool product for coffee lovers (although it does do that very well), it creates a reason why, which means that selling the product becomes that much easier. From images that appear as you scroll to a brand story that gives you a fun history lesson about our culture’s love of coffee, everything about the website feels new and hip.

  11. Whiskey & Clay

    Admired for its beautiful handmade ceramics, Whiskey & Clay’s online home is simple yet magical. Featuring only black and white images on its homepage, the main attraction is the story, which takes you from the brand’s inspiration, to the process, to exactly where you can find the products. A small store (currently there are just four products featured online), the website’s appeal is that it is so curated, which means your attention as a shopper is focused. And, if you want more as a fan, the Press section of the website gives you just that, offering articles and features for you to dive in and explore.

  12. Meredith Steele

    There is something artistic about Meredith Steele’s website that makes you eager to explore. From the centered and condensed menu on the homepage to the instant dive into the artist’s works of art, the website offers instant gratification for anyone wanting to quickly become a fan. Sorted into categories like “Framed Prints” and collections of work, the website offers a lot to explore, but with the focus primarily on the art itself. With as few words as possible on the homepage, visitors instantly know that they are on an artist’s website, which is exactly where they want to be.

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