At This Package’s Root: An Inspired Fold
“I don’t mean this in a creepy or unpleasant way,” says Aslan Graphics Owner Dayala Levenson with a conspiratorial laugh, “but it reminds me quite a bit of skin.”
The “it” in question is the diffused-finish 50 lb. Eames Architecture paper at the heart of Aslan’s package design for Rose & Root, a high-end dietary supplement from Reorient designed to calm the mind and restore the body. “Which I also thought was quite nice because we used this sheet for the instructions about massaging the product INTO your skin.” This little aside gives you a hint as to what makes this 4”-by-5” box – printed on 130 lb. Cover Neenah Classic Crest stipple Natural White – so special.
Packaging is often many things: slick, beautiful, elegant. But very seldom is it intimate. This was the quality Aslan Graphics was going for as the elixir within is meant to be incorporated into your pre-sleep rituals – private, personal moments.
The first in Reorient’s line of health and beauty treatments, Rose & Root consists of two 4 oz. bottles rather than one 8 ouncer to ensure maximum freshness throughout its use. Great for the consumer of this $90 serum, but an additional challenge for Dayala, who had to figure out how to keep the two bottles together, yet apart.
“I was thinking about how when you have to carry several bottles in a grocery bag, you protect them by creating layers of paper between them,” she recalls. “With two separate boxes you have maximum protection around each one, but to hold them, together we would have a possible belly band situation. Very quickly I started thinking I hate things that have a belly band — you can never get it back on,” she says with a laugh. “It’s so frustrating because they always put it on so perfectly! Or what you usually do is discard the belly band, and now you have incomplete packaging.”
And after a two month search for the perfect bottles and caps — to say nothing of more than 20 years in print design — Dayala was not about to concede to the idea of incomplete packaging. What she came up with was a very special solution indeed.
“I really wanted there to be that sense of unveiling, that it’s opening up to you,” she says of the packaging. And the image that popped into her mind? Those vanity tables of the ‘20s and ‘30s featuring a mirror on left and right that would fold inward toward a larger central looking glass.
She came up with two compartments for those 4 oz. bottles that fold in to meet, secured by a vertical wraparound construction. Chris Wong at Moquin Press, http://moquinpress.com crafted the extraordinarily precise dielines.
He “really finessed all the score positions and the panel heights and got us some beautiful folding results,” says Dayala.
One challenge though: transforming the small but exquisite botanical illustration developed by Charmian Liang and Emily Berry at BerryCreative into something that would cover the entire package.
In Illustrator, “I spent easily 16 to 20 hours compositing the botanical illustration, coming up with different patterns, and also making sure it lines up perfectly so when you open up the box you still have the two compartments folded in, and making sure the tops of the boxes lined up to the top inside of the flap,” Dayala recalls. “The original illustration was a smaller set of components and I created these large monster composites. It kept crashing my system, and it crashed the pre-press system a number of times – the amount of rendering and the amount of vector points! It’s one of those things where you want to constantly be saving your work but every time you hit Command-S you have to go make a cup of coffee…”
Florida Stress Test for Package Design
The result was packaging that lived up to several inspirations at once, including the way a rose blooms, and the Japanese practice of wrapping up even the simplest items in unique ways with a series of folds.
With the Rose & Root box “you have this object that on some levels is kind of simple,” Dayala says. “And then you open it and there are these beautiful botanical illustrations. And you open it up yet again and it further unveils itself to you.”
The final test? Seeing how well it held up during shipping. For this she frequently relies on her father who lives in Florida, long since used to receiving various packages through the mail accompanied by entreaties of “Just leave the box unopened — I want to see what everything looks like when I arrive.”
“I have to say that not only do I get the entire benefit of going through the cross-country system and all the touch points with that, but one thing in my experience is that particularly with Floridian mail, they seem to be especially tough on it,” she says. “Also you have the climate factor. I’ve had situations where things like adhesives that seem fine in the climate of San Francisco, all of the sudden when they hit Florida in the summer, aren’t working as well as you’d like.”
To give this packaging one final crowning touch, Reorient Founder Jess Ng “ended up creating a really lovely solution as well, where she wrapped the entire package in cream tissue paper. So there’s an additional layer of the experience, which is just beautiful.”
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Package design credits:
Botanical Illustrations: Charmian Liang, and Emily Berry, BerryCreative
CAD work by Chris Wong at Moquin Press, who did the box printing (UV) and all of the bindery
Becki Engler at Monvera Glass Décor worked diligently to allow us to push the boundaries of the screen printing on the bottle to get as much delicacy in the lines as possible.