Monday, December 29, 2014

Design Style Keywords

Design encompasses everything - the idea is that a good designer could design anything from a spoon to a city. The term design encompasses thousands of processes and styles. What does this have to do with resale? What we really want as resellers, is to be able to identify a specific style, so that we can include it in our title and description. This way when potential customers are searching eBay they can easily find the items we have for sale which match their criteria. Put simply, what we need is the KEYWORDS to help the buyer find our item.

I've been wanting to write a post about design styles for awhile. But it's really hard to summarize design into a few select categories. Oftentimes I will label my items with more than one style because I think it would work well in a number of decors or styles. I'm always on the lookout for what is trending now, and what the keywords are. 

Style keywords don't have to be "correct" - I mean that it doesn't have to fit perfectly into that style. Materials always need to be correct - don't say something is wool unless it's wool.

Here are some examples of design related keywords I might use in a listing:

Western, Rockabilly

Grunge, True Vintage

Primitive, Tribal, Folk

(These shoes were obviously designed for comfort NOT for style.)

Americana, Country, Crafty

In the description I might say something like:
"perfect for the RPG, or Dungeons and Dragons fan in your life"

Danish modern, Mid Century Modern

True vintage, western, cropped

Country, Rustic, Primitive

Granny, Boho


Art Nouveau, patina

Here are some articles, lists, blog posts, and links that will help expand your design vocab:

Architectural Design

Interior Design
Interior Design Styles by Dwell Candy - this is an excellent resource for those hard to name pieces like an unmarked glass vase.

Fashion Design
Dress Code: Know Your Era (This is an article for vintage fashion lovers but is a great resource for us resellers too - includes a list of "eBay keywords" with each style!!!)

Fashion eras (not many pictures but lots of good ideas for keywords)

List of Chics (I find this pretty funny)

What are your favorite keywords? What design style do you gravitate towards? Can you define your home or wardrobe in keywords? 


  1. This is a great topic. And one that I let trip me up when I do finally get around to listing something. I tend to overthink my listings and because I can type extremely fast, I tend to be very wordy in my listings (and my comments-thanks for bearing with me!) - getting in all the key words that I think are relevant. I try to think like a buyer. My thought is if I give a great description, this will answer most buyer questions and they will feel confident to buy.

    But then I think most people won't read the whole listing because it's so wordy and see only what they want to see. I know first hand this can cause issues.

    I tend to use the same key words - vintage, collectible, mid century, Mad Men, etc. I try to get inspiration by looking at similar listings but I'm finding so many listings that give one liner descriptions.

    In an effort to be more creative in my listings, I might set a timer and brainstorm for two minutes to get more key words. Maybe this will help me come up with more as I list more. And yes, I have gone to the online thesaurus!

    Design style: I love so many. But I especially love the 50s. The movie To Catch a Thief has been on this week and I've watched it just to see Grace Kelly's amazing classic wardrobe. I would love to redo my kitchen with a 50s vibe.

    Home: Currently border hoarder - I have piles and paths. Future: Totally eclectic (I'm the one that will have a dining table surrounded by 8 different chairs) - light industrial steampunk fused with Tuscan and French Provincial.

    Wardrobe key words for me: comfort, elastic LOL! I love fashion but I just don't put a lot of time into it for myself. I have go-to brands I wear all the time so I don't have to think a lot about dressing for work.

    Thanks for the links - will take a peek.

    1. Haha "border hoarder" - get to listing that stuff!~:) I like eclectic looks, as long as the items blend well.
      I agree about fashion, I am not a fashionista, I just like to be comfortable. Jeans and a sweater.

  2. Love this post, and I'm going to bookmark it. One thing I learned from a facebook group is not to use the style term shabby chic. It's an eBay vero violation.

    1. Kimberly: I was intrigued by your comment on shabby chic! I googled a few words and stumbled on this site:

      Certain companies have asked ebay to shut down auctions because of trademark infringement among other things. Ummmm - just about every commercial thing we buy has a trademark - what the !#%%$^@$%!?

      It's VERY INTERESTING reading - I encourage us all to read. Some of the info is a few years old (2010-11) so I'm not sure what the climate is now but it sure was eye opening.

    2. I knew that about Shabby chic.. But you can always put shabby country, or country chic, I love the keyword "Distressed" too..

    3. Yes - it just seems so wrong for one company to monopolize a design style. If you google shabby chic - it's everywhere, used by other companies. Will the owners of the shabby chic trademark sue everyone using the words shabby chic? If so, they will be very busy.

      I don't think it would hold up in court. Replace shabby chic with steampunk, minimalist, retro, French Country etc. and they don't have a leg to stand on. Not that I would ever want to go to court, but I'm not one to be bullied. I hate it when the little guy gets pushed around because the big guy can throw money at the situation.

      But this post is about design style : ) Long live creativity - in whatever style pleases us!

  3. Yes, the vero list is long. Another example is Gerber. They have trademarked the word onesie, and they have gotten several seller's listing removed when they use the that word with another brand like Carters. Most will now use the term body suit instead. I agree that eBay can't stop all of it, but I try not to take chances. I like using the word distressed for shabby chic, too.

    1. Holy cow - I learn something new every day! I think most sellers sincerely do not want to abuse any trademark - they are just trying to describe the item they are selling. And looking into vero, I think most companies are reasonable. I wish more companies would post on vero.

      Some observations:
      I just went to Harley-Davidson's vero page (I have one item for sale). They are reasonable - they allow sellers to resell authentic items. But they don't allow authentic items to be altered and resold.

      Dansko does not want their new shoes sold on ebay because it would imply that you are an authorized dealer. There are 11K new Dansko shoe listings - Dansko will be very busy checking those.

      Pampered Chef's guarantee/return/replacement/refund policy does not apply to any item bought on ebay.

      Vera Bradley does not encourage ebay sales but does not stop genuine product sales as long as one follows certain rules such as using your own pictures vs using their pictures etc.

      Thanks for mentioning vero. Companies should be able to protect their intellectual rights without infringing on our rights to resell the genuine article. I think vero is a good tool to educate ourselves.

  4. Lots of good info in the post as well as the comments!