Ming the Mechanic:
Bespoke

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Bespoke2004-04-15 11:16
6 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

What an odd word. OK, I don't know everything, and I thought I spoke English, but I certainly missed that word as an adjective. I see a website that says it is designed with a "bespoke front end". And they don't seem to be talking about the past tense of "bespeak". So I suddenly think I've missed some kind of new technology I should know about. A search on "bespoke" brings up a bunch of web design companies that say they do it, but not what it is. OK, "bespoke web design", about 30 matches down in Google, somebody finally admits that it means a custom website. Meaning, eh, a website built to somebody's specifications. I suppose that is contrasted to selling somebody a website that isn't to their specifications. Anyway, it must be a British word. Webster's dictionary clears up for me that it is a word used about clothes that is made to individual order. Tailoring. One can be a "bespoke tailor", when one makes clothes to somebody's order, rather than just adjusting what people have bought in a store. OK, I'll try to get used to it. "Well met, my lord, pray thee, let me be thy bespoke web design bloke!"

Ah, here's an article that explains well what bespoke web design implies and how it fits in historically. The idea is that one size doesn't fit all. I.e. it isn't necessarily good enough for you to just use some ready made template, or to just rip off Yahoo's look. And the idea is also that you might not be able to make a good site by yourself, even if you have Dreamweaver or Frontpage. So, it is a setup for telling you that, if you really want a website you'll be very happy with, and that fits your unique circumstances, requirements and goals - you need to hire a professional to do a custom job for you.
"I call this the "Bespoke" period of Web design, named for the time-honored, English process of hand-tailoring suits based on the customer's individual characteristics and needs. Done right, the suit fits like a glove and lasts a lifetime – or until the waistline needs to be altered."
OK, so find a real professional, in other words, who'll listen to what you want, take your measures, work for a month, and come back with a product that fits you perfectly. Which will cost you a hefty penny, but you'll feel good wearing it for years.

The only problem I'm having with it is that most of the websites I could find, used as examples by bespoke web design companies, DO look like templates, even if they maybe aren't. But then again, tailor-made suits don't look noticably different from other suits, other than that they fit their owner.


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6 comments

15 Apr 2004 @ 17:50 by maxtobin : Sounds Like the Emperors Suit!!
I guess that now you are in Europe you will need to learn the "english" all over again as the 'Queens English' is definatly not the same as she is spoke (Not quiet rhyming with bespoke) in the good ol' US of A. I'd guess that most bespoke web sites are template or dream weaver or whateva based, just like the old story of the emperor and his new suit. If it costs lots then it has to be good and if you cant see the difference then dont let on or someone may think that you are "just another stupid white man". Good to see that you are extending you vocab Flemming.  


6 May 2004 @ 23:54 by ov : Bricolage
Bricolage is a related word that means kind of tailor made, kind of off the shelve, but mainly cobbled together from whatever is handy. I discovered the word a few years back in a discussion of pattern building and community over at Electronic minds.

So I check the google to see what is happening with the word lately and see that an opensource content management and publishing tool by that name was initiated a couple of years ago, and a couple of days ago they have announced a stable release. More info at www.bricolage.cc.

I know you like this type of stuff Ming, by stuff I mean like the looking for holes and indirect connections such as the theme of the second half of The Diamond Age, which I have just finished reading and I would rate it the best cyberpunk novel I've read so far. (The connection here is that Neal Stephenson uses the word 'bespoke' a couple of times at least in this novel, and at first I thought this was where Ming had picked up the word)  



7 May 2004 @ 01:11 by ming : Bricolage
In French that's various, eh, bric-a-brac, like you might get at a flea market. Didn't know it in that context.

Yeah, Diamond Age is really cool.  



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