Jean Bolliger Wilczek
The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg
A beautiful thought and inspiring execution.
Packaged Intangibles- priceless things money can't buy- are conveniently and elegantly packaged for consumption. Fulfillment, Patience, Common Sense and Zen are contained in repurposable packaging to lessen environmental impact. Each converts into an ethereal geometric luminary. Inside Fulfillment, a silver mobius strip reminds that seeking fulfillment is a journey without end. Inside Patience, a black sand hourglass helps count the hours spent waiting. Inside Common Sense, iron pyrite reminds the consumer that not all that glitters is gold. Zen contains a miniature zen garden to help achieve nothingness while at work.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Packaged Intangibles were created as my senior project requirement for a Bachelors in Graphic Design. I was given free reign of concept, design, and construction with the help of peer critiques at key times throughout the semester. I chose to challenge myself by designing minimalist geometric packaging, partially using unfamiliar materials. I also wanted to add an element of satire.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
My project creates circular thinking. It takes disdain for aspects of consumerism and makes a parody- prompting shoppers to buy what cannot be bought. Inside the boxes are items that remind the consumer of this elusive intangibility- despite their purchase. Because the unique packaging is reusable, it creates a rationalized sense of responsibility and frugality. It gives consumers (all of us) room for introspection.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
I researched the meanings, truths, and tangents of fulfillment, patience, common sense, and zen. I looked to quote websites, thesauruses, and dictionaries for further clarification on the 4 subjects. Through initial peer critiques, I tested my concepts- determining if people understood the message I was meaning to impart. The concepts were met with smiles, chuckles, and nods. I knew I had an audience. If these products were actually manufactured and marketed, they would be sold as novelty gifts in book stores, spas, and boutiques.
I wanted lighting to be an element in the package design because to finally 'grasp' these intangibles would be illuminating.
Researching lighting, existing packaging, and various materials was the next step. I decided to make something geometric, partially using frosted plastic sheeting, which I had never worked with before. I researched flexible geometric wooden, plastic, and metal designs and found the triangular shapes very pleasing and versatile. I also researched metal fasteners and various adhesives.
Ultimately, I chose to make a hexagonal inner box with a decorative geometric sleeve that holds the triangular geometric scored and folded frosted plastic sheeting in place which in turn, holds the LED color changing light I had chosen to illuminate the packaging from within. The packaging is slender and can interlock and solid-pack easily for distribution.
All materials and methods chosen were also thought of in a manufacturing capability capacity. While the overall look is unique- in theory, the parts that make up the whole would be simple and cost effective to manufacture.
The value in these packages is three-fold.
First, there is the package's beauty. It doesn't need to be wrapped. It's ready to give as a gift. The angles and materials draw the beholder in to take a closer look. The product tags for each item are symbols that represent the contents of the box in a fun and unique way.
Secondly, there are subtle social, and economic messages. The items inside are enjoyable but don't bring about any of the intangibles the boxes advertise. These products give pause for thought in a fun and poetic way. Not everything can be bought and that means certain things may not be worth spending money on.
Thirdly, the boxes can be repurposed. These packages will not end up in a landfill 6 months after production. Either with or without the product in the box, it functions as a luminary. It can be placed anywhere a soft color-changing glow of light is desired. It brings enjoyment to the beholder.