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A-Z FdA Design for Graphic Communication Project I

Natalie Mezhetskaya

Table of Contents 2................................................ Brief 3/6 ............................................Words research and further development 7/9............................................. Area of Practice Research 10/11......................................... Further Research 12.............................................. Designer As... 13.............................................. Audience Research 14/16......................................... Survey 17...............................................Analysis 18/23..........................................Experimentation and Development 24...............................................Evaluation 25...............................................List of References


Choose words, which appeal to you. Now analyse them and find what gives you a spark. Found it? Next step is determing your message, what’s your purpose? Don’t forget who is the audience you are going to engage with. Now remember everything you are eager to explore, which area beckons you to jump in or where is your talent laid? And, finally: you are free to be whoever you want. You create your own script.

“A box that is not paper that will not be torn that will not be thrown away that has no purpose no meaning and no value. The fate of the things inside will be decided by the box itself.” KATSU KIMURA



[zie·law·graf·fee] (French) - wood engraving -oldest known relief printmaking technique -“not typography”


Words Research My first steps in research of my word was taking an indepth look into history of printing. After watching documentaries and looking through history books, I made my way to the closest market, which sold stamps made of wood to get the feel of the engraving. In the market I have initiated a small talk with the seller, who gave me a short lecture about letterpress and engraving from the professional’s view.

“My profession is to set type.I used to do it with my son, but not anymore. -So most of them you cut yourself? -No,no! I would never be able to cut those. Takes a lot of time and skill. ...People buy all kind of stuff. Collectors, professionals or curious tourists, mostly...”


Further Research: Engraving

After the talk I realized that there are two factors that interest me: engraving and material. Engraving was used to make prints before, but now this precise job is mostly used to give products nostalgic feeling or customize for the customer. Engraving is used not only on wood, but on metal, glass, stone and paper as well, which was great link to my research on materials. My historical and material research led me to the Museum of Branding, Packaging and Advertising, located in a mews near Portobello Market. Museum showcased hundreds of pieces: packaging, posters, papers etc. examining the history of consumer culture from Victorian times to present day. Victorian era was the most captivating for me. I also took a look at the materials used through time, determening main ones for my forecoming survey.


Further Research: Material

The next question I asked myself was How can material change perception of the product? Why some packaging is being thrown away, but some are left to serve another purpose?

Re-usable packaging? Packaging is the Product - Functional

Packaging is the Product - Fun

Packaging is storage

Green Packaging


Area of Practice Research: Packaging Design

For this project I really wanted experiment with packaging design. My first ideas were making the packaging “tactile”, but I wasn’t able to communicate what I wanted clearly, so the second question appeared: What is tactile packaging? All packaging IS tactile! Then I started asking myself : how can material change perception of the product?. There appeared the second main question: why some packaging is being thrown away, but some are left to serve another purpose? What is the value of material? I was also looking at interactive packaging, which is the best way to engage with your audience. And yes, tatility is not last in these kind of packaging too.


During my packaging research I felt the need to go and see myself what it is making people keep the packaging or even buy the product because of it, or maybe not to buy because of the prejeduces made on packaging? My first stop was the same Museum of Branding, Packaging and Advirtising. On my journey I noticed interesting thing about some old piesces in the collection - some packaging became treasure boxes. Men used to keep their metal cigar tins to hide photos of their lovers, and women used empty ceramic make-up boxes for the same purpose. My next stop was Fortnum&Mason, famous for it’s great taste in choosing products to sell. Ground floor was full of amazing chocolate boxes, from different materials, with different labels. Some of them were quite interactive - my favourite box of chocolates, which is a musical box at the same time (and you can use it as a treasure box too later on because it’s not obvious the musical box can be opened).


During my research one book caught my attention - “Package Design in Japan” by Taschen. It was not the visuals which made me interested, but quotes of packaging designers from Japan.


Japanese treat their packaging with respect and care. Nowadays packaging showcases the product inside, but traditional japanese packaging stands for the opposite - it doesn’t matter what it is inside, all your respect is showing through packaging. This thought led me to the idea to the “kinder-surprise” kind of package.

Chris Lefteri at LCC I was lucky enough to attend a lecture held in LCC by Chris Lefteri, designer who fills in “the gap between the material industries and the design community”. The lecture was about Ingridients and Tactility, which was perfect for my on going research for the project.

Product’s Purpose informational sensorial functional How does the product engage with us on emotional level? Sensorial (tactility) Confidence (e.g. transparent products) Sense of achieving (i. e. hi-tech vacuum cleaners) High standarts - Deserving (e.g. Vertu mobile phones)

This lecture pushed me further with my exploration with materials: using Chris Lefteri’s schemes I decided what and how I want my product to work on emotional level and determined my target audience. I also wanted to include one more emotion, which was nostalgia. During classes other students, who worked on nostalgia word, shared some findings about our odd connection to the events of past, which we have never participated in. Myself I am quite obsessed with culture and lifestyle of people from previous centures, and I also have my own understanding on why we are so interested in the past, so I was happy to turn my project that way.


Developing the Concept


Designer as... Storyteller

My main role which I’ve chosen is “Storyteller”. I was looking at different ways of telling a story, and the most interesting which I’ve found was telling a story through a sst of objects, like for example boxes for medecine with each day of week printed on them, tea’s which are meant for breakfast, midday and night, X-Mas “Adventure Calendars”, where you open one little door each week and grab sweet treats out of there. I started to think how I could apply it to my project, if I can find a system and create a set of objects, which all together will make a story. Experimentor

Try making the packaging using different techniques and materials.


Gather and use knowledge about tactile and emotional relationships between customer and product/packaging via surveys and observations.


Determining target audience

Mariyan 44 years old Professional stylist Housewife, has 2 kids Educated Values stability and structure Multifaceted, bright personality Supports tradition, believes they build better ralationships in a family

My target audience is educated 35-50 years old, mostly women, who cherish traditions and have a taste for aesthetics. Collectors, who are gathering together interesting piesces. Having a stable job or putting effort in keeping the family. High-Middle class - in between Fulfilleds and Believers groups (referencing VALs types)

During my research on topic, I went more in depth with treasure boxes topic and asked people similar to Mariyan’s type if there any packaging they are keeping, why and did they have a box of treasures when they were kids.


Do you keep any packaging after you use the product? “yes..things like cardboard boxes and tins as long as they are big. Actually sometimes I buy things because they have nice packaging, like this one I bought today...*shows* I thought it would be nice for orginizing my small things like lipsticks” Miri, 32 “yeah, sometimes, like biscuits boxes, chocolate boxes. Pretty tins from tea... We also collected bottles to make toys out of them” Karoline & Jade, 48 & 52 “erm...don’t know, maybe sometimes I keep plastic bags from Topshop. And I keep water bottles so I can refill them.” Sara, 18 “I used to have a jar from mayonnaise for my pens because it had a nice form hahaha...and i keep nice boxes for paper stuff ” Marine, 23 “I had a box from my watch for important things. Oh yeah, and a couple of nice bottles from Japanese vine” Kirill, 33


When I looked through this book, I have found an interesting points: “...designing must work with the patterns of everyday life rather then trying to impose fixed solutions to problems.” “It is the relationship between these three elements - materiality, system and use - that makes packaging what it is, and only by engaging with all three is it possible to understand and influence packaging re-use.” “Designing for re-use therefore requires building openness into packaging, as well as being aware of the ways in which people may take advantage of this openness.”

Did you ever had a “treasure box”? Or a secret place? “when i was a child i had something...I think it was “Quality Street” candy box, I kept all of the boxes because I liked the lady...” “Treasure box? I had a trunk of treasures! but when we were kids we didn’t have that many toys, so all toys we had were our treasure.” “when I was a child I loved putting little treasures underneath a piece of glass and dig it in the sand” “ I used to keep my treasures in places that I thought as “unexpected” or “private” as shoes boxes under the bed, inside of teddy bears inside books, between the bookshelf and the wall, behind the heating, inside a box which is inside an other box which is inside an other box, which is under something heave and under my bed, inside my pillow and in a locked drawer... and of course I forgot the lingerie drawer... classic and always works haha”


Survey: How does the material make you feel?





I asked a group of people of age from 32 to 62 give me three or more associations on the material i show them through vision and touch. I started off with 11 different materials, and those four - metal, wood, ceramics and glass- are the materials, which are used for packaging that is kept after the product is used.


Some of the objects used in the survey : newsprint paper, fabric(ribbon), wooden piece, metal, glass and plastic.




Simple product Interesting packaging. Usage of material to trigger certain feelings. Treasure Box concept.


Storyteller Experimentor Investigator




35-50 years old Fulfilleds/Believers


Surprise Create emotional relationship Re-use Turn upside-down








Analysis and Idea generation

The aim of my project is to turn current approach to packaging back to basics, tradition. Tactility is important part as well - with my package I want to communicate the message through the material. Imagine a collaboration: company with a new, modern product, which wants to have a pace on the market for older audience, who is hard to approach with new products, and old, famous company, who helps the new one to get into the market by collaborating with them - creating a limited edition packaging, which would catch elders’ attention and give them a chance to try out the new product. That is the purpose my future packaging could have.


Prototyping: Exploring the shape

Decision on shape was dicated by the material I was going to use: exploration with materials just proved it right again. I wanted my piece to be interesting to look at and have dynamic. I was looking at flexible materials, but after reading the results of survey I chose to use something more classicl. Therefore, this exploration gave me a lot of new ideas for future creations.


Shape is very important in packaging, especially in my project - people use bigger boxes for storage etc. Also, a lot of people mentioned, that if the shape is interesting and unusual, they would keep the box. I had one more important factor - abilit to put a hidden bottom into the box, so it can become a real treasure box in one’s hands! I tried on many shapes, thanks to the book “Packaging templates� by Ginko Press and origami tutorials on Youtube.


A-Z Project NMR  
A-Z Project NMR