Keeping Design Human: Source

Keeping Design Human: Source Is Breathing New Life Into The Material Selection Process Blog  Source

Keeping Design Human: Source Is Breathing New Life Into The Material Selection Process

The Portland-based company is bringing transparency, efficiency, and some fun to the industry.

(Portland, OR) February 14, 2020 – Source has launched: The community-driven, technology-enabled company acts as a consultant in commercial product selection, bridging the gap between designer and supplier through transparent discovery, expert support, and human connections.

Product choices are pivotal to the design of our built environment–these are the materials, colors, and textures the world interacts with everyday. And yet, with choices constantly expanding and limited time available for architects and designers to research, the specification process is flawed.

“The industry is overdue for a shift in the way all the humans who participate in commercial design find, access, and share product information. Source is focused on making the lives of designers easier, by making material selection less time-consuming, and more streamlined and tailored.”

-Nicole Schmidt, founder and CEO of Source

Source delivers through three parts:

First, as a human-centered, objective, centralized material consultant connecting designers to both familiar and new products. Designers can place research requests to which the Source team –real, creative humans!– can quickly respond with ideas and palettes. Samples can come from both familiar manufacturers or undiscovered local artisans–at Source, everyone gets a seat at the table, leveling the playing field for manufacturers and empowering designers to find novel design solutions.

Second, Source offers designers a digital tool. Allowing for an unlimited number of projects, designers can save products to each one to keep ideas in the right place. The best part? Robust product information for each project can easily be exported to a spreadsheet to aid in data transfer between tools and building finish schedules. When designers are ready to order samples, they can do so from multiple manufacturers, directly from their local reps, all in one place, all in one order. But if they need a little more information first, Source makes it easy to connect with a local rep directly. Source believes in using technology to aid human creativity–which means the platform is easy to use, unpretentious, and above all: transparent.

Finally, Source understands the importance of physical resources to the design community. They offer centralized physical libraries for those days when designers need a sample just in time for a client meeting, or want to browse to spark a creative breakthrough. Their flagship library is presently doubling its square footage in Portland, OR, with Seattle and an East Coast location slated to launch in 2020. Nothing matches being able to hold a material in your hand–the libraries are where the Source community comes together to physically connect with products, socialize with other members of the design community, and meet with Source consultants directly.

Keeping Design Human: Source Is Breathing New Life Into The Material Selection Process

Source is a team of seasoned industry veterans –architects, designers, and reps– who understand the way the design process works. It’s the product of a bold idea to make the process work better for everyone involved. With fewer administrative redundancies, more industry-wide transparency, equal access for small and large manufacturers, the ability to filter products by the concerns the project asks for, and with an emphasis on human creative connection, Source is breathing new life into the material selection process.

On February 14th, 2020, Source closed their Seed II funding round, led by Founders’ Co-op with support from Rogue Venture Partners, Rogue Women’s Fund, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, MetaProp and various Family Offices & Angels. Source is currently open for US-based manufacturers to participate, and for designers to join. Visit to get started.

About Source (formerly krowdsourced)

We know how important design is to a building’s success. We know that architects and designers care about the decisions they make. We know that the choice of materials has a lasting impact on how buildings are received and how they affect the environment.

Source offers human intelligence, digital ease, and physical libraries to give architects, designers, reps, and manufacturers in commercial design a better way to discover products and collaborate. We have a current library located in Portland, OR, with locations in Seattle and the East Coast opening later this year.

Source is a proud sponsor of Nashville Design Pup.

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