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Package design


The making of 'Beyond our solar system' palmtop version - Part 4

The smaller, palmtop version of ‘Beyond our solar system’ is ready for release, the only remaining task being to update the sales pages on our website. Allow us first to explain a little about how the packaging was made.

‘Beyond our solar system’ consists of a laser-etched galaxy inside a glass cube. For this new version, we tried laser-etching the packaging as well.


To begin with, a plain black craft box.


The laser starts to etch the central image: our solar system.


Shone from above, with a quiet pish-pish-pish sound the laser beam burns a trail.


Smoke is removed to the vacuum on the left. A slight burning smell hangs in the air.


Finished! All ink-free (although it does require electricity). In this sense it resembles processes such as stamping and embossing, but the sharpness is in an entirely different league. At this point both we and the boss of the company doing the etching are feeling rather pleased with our efforts.

Something that often strikes us about package design is that all too frequently, packaging suffers from too much design.
Wagging its tail, so to speak… The Shakers would dismiss it all as unnecessary frills, no doubt.

We’re not quite that minimalist, but we do try to remember that if the relationship between maker and buyer (and thus user) is good, in extreme cases you could hand the product over personally, with no packaging at all.
But in these days of complex distribution systems and weak links between craftsman and purchaser, experiences such as taking your container to the local tofu shop to be filled are very rare indeed.

Still, one suspects that getting a kick out of buying something, feeling that warm glow of satisfaction, is more likely when design is absent, than when buying something in a meticulously designed package.

That hot sweet potato wrapped in a piece of newspaper is just right. And when you buy a freshly baked baguette on a Paris street corner, they give it to you as is, or at the most, with a small strip of paper wrapped around the middle.
We want to use just the right degree of design. Not design that makes things ‘look’ tasty or ‘look’ good, but that’s just right for the job.

Our galaxy in a cube will be sent by post, and stocked by retailers, so we can’t leave it completely bare.
Still, we were convinced there must be a way to package it that was ‘just right’, and spent six months working to achieve that. We came up with this design in mid-September just before the product was ready to launch, and Mr. K from Eltech made a trial version for us; the result of his, and LW’s experiments and explorations.
So what do you think? Of course we hope you’ll want to see the real thing. :-)

Incidentally, the solar system etched on the box and the galaxy inside are in parallel.

thumbnail image Starry Day

On a glass window, the star-filled sky spreads out before us

thumbnail image End of summer

(in Japanese)

thumbnail image Dioscorea japonica

I found little yellow hearts in the yard.

thumbnail image Chestnut

Near the castle of cricket,
I heard the only few soudn of…

tari_111230_thum Larus ridibundus

Yurikamome / Black-headed Gulls (winter pelage)