5 Minutes with… Etsy’s VP of Design

Don’t miss early bird Web Summit tickets

Randy is VP of Design at Etsy, the largest certified socially-responsible company, or B Corp to go public in the US. The company is now worth a stunning $3.3 billion – it seems Wall Street love crafts. We caught up with Randy before he heads to Dublin in Novemeber to speak at Web Summit.

Randy started off with Etsy back in 2010 as one of two interaction designers. He now leads a whole team of designers, researchers, writers and strategists building web products and creating brand experiences online and off.

Randy, what’s more important: aesthetic beauty or functionality? Why?

Neither. In the most successful designs, aesthetic beauty can perform a function. Aesthetic beauty can create surprise, delight, attraction, trust, lust. Those are powerful tools for performing some communication or creating an experience. Similarly, extremely well-functioning designs take on a feeling of beauty.

You’ve said that meeting Noam Chomsky is on your to-do list. What would you say to him?

The first thing that comes to mind would be “thank you.” I love the notion that intelligence is the ability to hold multiple conflicting viewpoints in your mind at the same time. Chomsky seems a master at that, when he chooses too, but he’s also an incredible activist. His ability to draw the lines between politics, social behavior, communication, and human rights is incredible.

If you were a character in film, what song would play on your entrance? 

Action: 99 Problems, Jay Z
Romantic Comedy: Aganjú, Bebel Gilberto
Drama: Walking Far From Home, Iron & Wine

What is the most perfectly designed product of the 20th and 21st centuries?

I don’t think I could say these are the absolute best, but for me these are two of the most transformative… The 20th century – the internet.

21st century – it’s too early to tell. Tesla Model S? Drones? I have a suspicion that there are things in medicine and neuroscience that are out of my area of knowledge that are likely more profound than any product I could name.


Looking forward to hearing from Randy at Design Summit at Web Summit. Grab an early bird ticket if you haven’t already.

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