Small but mighty, the power of a thumbtack

Today’s #LetsBlogOff challenge is asking us to write about “thumbtacks.”  Now I know that the act of writing uncovers your innermost thoughts and feelings because because I had no idea I was so passionate about thumbtacks until I started writing about them.

In my mind, the thumbtack is everything good design stands for – it’s simple, it’s functional, it’s versatile, it’s sustainable.  I’d even go so far as to say it’s magical.  Yes, the thumbtack may be small, but it’s mighty.  The only thing I might change about it is its name, although I admire its straightforwardness …  I think dream-catchers or place-holders better capture their role.

On bulletin boards throughout my life, thumbtacks have held everything that’s special to me and everything I’d like to be.  When I’m confused, trying to figure out a project, or my style or my passion, I start posting pages of magazines, pictures, notes and quotes that speak to me.

The thumbtack patiently holds all of it in place, giving a sense of order to my madness. Then one day, clarity magically comes.

As with all good designs, they’re often taken for granted.  But, that doesn’t seem to bother the thumbtack. It doesn’t care how perfect your boards look, it’s just happy to be part of your process.

You can go old school and use a plain old bulletin board like this one I used to have:


You can go sophisticated, like this one from Restoration Hardware:

Or, you can go ultra-creative-designer-type like this one from Sibella Court, creative concept developer and curator for Anthropologie, author, stylist, and owner of the Australian shop, The Society, Inc.

Perhaps the biggest test for good design is its ability to withstand time. If it can endure technology and the internet, you know you’ve got a good thing going.  The thumbtack has been deemed so vital in our culture that an entire web phenomenon has been created around it – Pinterest.

That’s when you know you have value, meaning. You’re needed in the world.  Bravo, thumbtack. Yes, you may be small, but you’re mighty!

Check out the rest of the LetsBlogOff crew’s take on the thumbtack here.  And, join us every other Tuesday for a great way to exercise your unique voice and get into the blogging groove.