Our 10 Favorite Brand Spotlights of 2021
Aesthetics aside, the best part about shopping modern is discovering new independent brands and designers along the way. Suffice it to say the Design Milk team unearthed hundreds of modern finds in 2021 – but what about the brands behind the goods? Let’s recap our favorite brand features of 2021. P.S. You can find all of these in the Design Milk Shop!
AZIO (pronounced ay-zee-oh) is an LA-based keyboard brand that designs unique, modern keyboards that transcend the look and feel of conventional workspace tech. Of AZIO’s extensive catalog of ingeniously engineered keyboards, the Retro Compact Keyboard has proven itself a Design Milk favorite and tech editor pick this year. Beyond their statement-making aesthetic, the retro keyboards capture the same tactile satisfaction of old-school typewriters, in a modern high-tech package.
Brothers Kuni and Tomo Hijikata started Vermicular in their family’s decades-old cast iron foundry on a mission is to inspire chefs of all levels and skill sets to cook with joy, ease, and intention using high-quality cookware, starting with their star product, the Musui-Kamado. An easy-to-use solution for searing, braising, steam roasting, and water-less cooking – the Vermicular Musui-Kamado is sure to unlock a whole new world of culinary possibilities for home cooks.
Founded by husband-wife duo Paul and Natalie Sun, Gingko Design is beloved for their design-led tech gadgets and home objects that are functional and sustainable to boot. The Smart Moon Lamp is a shining example of the brand’s stylized and innovative approach to modern, functional objects – befit with a gravity-defying 3D-printed full moon that slowly rotates over its sustainable wooden base, giving off a warm, ethereal glow to your space. It’s no wonder the brand was a Design Milk favorite in 2021.
Angie Myung started Poketo with her husband Ted Vadakan in 2003 to create design-driven goods that infuse art and design into every day and cultivate a more creative lifestyle. The brand’s paper goods, homewares, and lifestyle objects are all super practical, and feature eye-catching prints and colors that instantly brighten your space and mood. Partnering with Poketo to create our 15th anniversary stationery collection was a major highlight this year, and the range includes everything you need to tackle your workday in style. Bonus: the entire collection is buy 2 get 1 free for a limited time!
5. Wild One
Wild One makes modern, Instagram-able pet essentials and accessories for dogs and the humans who adore them. From leashes, collars, and harnesses to toys, treats, and shampoos – they’ve got everything your canine companion needs to live their best life every day. Wild One’s catalogue is full of thoughtfully designed, uber practical accessories but their harness, leash, and everyday carrier in their warm, cocoa colorway were major winners in 2021.
Designed by Janos Stone, HAUS is a children’s playhouse that supports kids’ creativity and imagination – pulling from Bauhaus principles that posit kids develop their foundational social, academic, and emotional skills from tools and environments that encourage exploratory play. To the relief of parents everywhere, HAUS is fully collapsible and easy to assemble – lifestyle editor Vy Yang tested it with her little one to prove it – and kids will positively love taking paint, markers, and stickers to its blank (fully wipeable) corrugated plastic canvas. After this wild year, HAUS is a brand that all pandemic parents should have on their radar.
Nicole Hodson started Ciseal (pronounced sis-eel) in 2013 – making modern, sculptural home objects by hand-layering bent wood sustainably sourced, and responsibly harvested from birch tree forests in northern Michigan. From their best-selling tablet stand and pencil holder, to their beautifully curved magazine rack and firewood holder, Ciseal’s mid-century modern inspired goods bring an elegant, minimal aesthetic to your space. Check out editorial director Caroline Williamson’s post on the brand here!
8. Puik Design
Freek Claessen and Daan Gescher are the designers behind Puik Design – the Dutch design brand creating modern furnishings and home decor goods that bring color and style to your space. We fell in love with the effortlessly cool, Scandinavian aesthetic of Puik pieces this year and so did Design Milk readers apparently – as senior editor Kelly Beal’s post on the brand was a crowd favorite in 2021. Puik Design’s unique LLOYD pendant light, light-catching radiant glassware, and their modern cork clock were all key favorites among staff and Design Milk shoppers too.
Launched by designer Jillian Carmine in 2012, Jillian Rene Décor’s modern pillows and home textiles have been adding graphic pops of color to spaces ever since. Pulling inspiration from nature, fashion, and mid-century modern design – the Jillian Rene Décor catalog of goods includes color blocked, graphic mixed prints, and tactile fringe designs that make for a stylish accent to your space. Design Milk favorites include the Meadow Layered Fringe Pillow and their Yellow Monochromatic Color Blocked Pillow.
10. Beast Health
Makers of the cult favorite B10 Blender that single-handedly reignited our love of smoothies, Beast Health is an undisputed favorite of 2021. With a modern, space-saving aesthetic and the high-performance technology to back it up, the brand’s hero blender is very much worth the hype and will be an instant-staple in your kitchen. The famed B10 Blender is tech editor approved, and I was even able to take the B10 for a spin myself, and on our TikTok for good measure!
>>> For more modern design brands, visit the Design Milk Shop here! <<<
Whether you want to show some love to your partner, friends, pets, or just get a treat for yourself — you’ll find plenty of thoughtful, design-driven Valentine’s Day gift ideas in the Design Milk Shop.