Craighton Berman

Craighton Berman
(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune / Mar. 20, 2014)

Craighton Berman is a designer, illustrator and the founder and creative director of Manual, a company focused on designing objects for food and drink.

After successful campaigns with coffeemakers and tea-makers, Berman stepped into a new category in summer 2017 with the Manual Cocktail Line, a set of cocktail-related products including decanters and glasses.

“The act of decanting spirits is sort of seen as sort of retro; like a ‘Mad Men’ ’60s kind of thing,” Berman said. “But our version is a modern interpretation of decanting and a cool way to display spirits in your home.”

He announced in January 2016 that he was opening a studio in North Park that also will host pop-up and product-launching events.

Berman’s previous products include a bar blade, a coffeemaker and the pinch salt and pepper shaker. Berman has used Kickstarter to raise money for his products; his pour-over coffeemaker raised more than $100,000 on Kickstarter in 30 days.

He also teaches “Entrepreneurial Product Development” in the industrial design department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he teaches students that independent making is ever more possible today because of improvements in manufacturing technology, online marketing and crowdfunding options.

“You can have a full-time job and still be creating things and launching things on the side,” Berman said to Blue Sky. “I call it Indie Design 101.”

Berman also has design work in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. He graduated with a bachelor’s in industrial design from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He lives in Chicago.

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