Wednesday, Aug 26, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
When thinking outside the box just isn’t enough
Packaging designers, like burlesque performers, know that pulling off the wrapping as fast as possible isn’t always ideal.
Good packaging can help tell a story. Not only does it provide ample space to squeeze in a little more information about the product or company, but the process of opening a package can tell you how the company wants you to think about the product in general.
Take Apple products as an example. Each Apple product comes with multiple layers of packaging which gives you more to open. This way you feel as if there is more to the product and that you’re getting more for your money. A little manipulative, perhaps, but these stages also help build anticipation so that your appreciation of the product is greater once you have it in your hands. And in an industry where customers are primed to want disposable novelties, helping your customers appreciate what they’ve got sounds great.
However, the materials used in the packaging play just as big a role in developing feelings of appreciation for and value of the product. Those plastic ‘clam-shell’ style packages that take forever to open are not just frustrating, but really don’t feel good in your hands. The slick plastic is hard to grab and painfully sharp if you do manage to get it open. Plus, the fact that it’s so often molded to the shape of the product itself means that it seems like you’re holding it in your hands, but you just can’t get it – which obviously adds to the frustration. However, packages using materials that are more pleasing to the touch – textured paper or soft fabric – give us a better emotional connection to the product and make the actual opening of it more enjoyable and memorable over all.
Putting together the packaging for our reproduction of the Musterberg Tarot Deck, our main interest was in creating something that was archival-quality so that collectors could enjoy it for years to come. So we went with acid-free Munken Pure paper – the same paper used for the cards themselves. The paper is strong but light, so you won’t feel like you’re holding a brick, but rather something that you’d want to pick up again and again. To further protect the box, the paper was coated with a kind of cellophane to ensure the box would hold up to handling, but with a softness that you really will want to touch. The result is downright cuddly. (Seriously, why don’t all paper products use this?)
The best packaging is probably the kind you never get rid of. I know I’ve got a few packages that remain on the shelf although their innards are long gone. In the case of the Musterberg Tarot Deck, we hope you don’t lose the cards. But even if you do, we’re pretty proud of the box.
Wednesday, Aug 19, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
Celebrity spotting is like the IRS – get an autograph as a receipt or no one will believe you.
Although fame seems terrific from the outside, most of us would probably choose to hold on to our privacy and anonymity rather than face screaming fans and a wall of paparazzi. I myself would be content to rub elbows with the famous and still be able to buy kids’ cereal at the supermarket without hassle.
For many, owning something once held by a famous person bring them closer to that person, and collecting autographs from celebrities and historical personages continues to be quite popular.
I haven’t come across very many celebrities in my time, and the few times I have, I wasn’t able to think much past gaping. So I don’t have the autographs to document it. However, as a kid I happily brought my autograph book to amusement parks such as Disneyland, and waited for costumed mascots of my favorite cartoon characters to scrawl their names in my autograph book. Chip and Dale? Got ‘em. Daisy Duck? You betcha. What it must have been like for a college kid sweating in the summer sun to write DOPEY over and over again, I don’t know. But I’ve got that signature to prove that I’ve met some of the greats.
Today rather than stand in line waiting for a guy in a suit, I prefer to collect drawings of my favorite cartoon characters. And if those drawings also happen to have the signature of the artist who created them? I can’t help feeling a little bit famous myself.
Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015
by Ned Wazowski
Grab some friends and deal up some fun.
One of my favorite parts of the terrific Wes Anderson film The Royal Tenebaums is the scene where Chas Tenebaum pulls his father aside to have a heated word with him, and they step into the game closet to talk. It’s a wonderful little moment about adult children back at their childhood home again, because I’m pretty sure every family must have had some kind of game closet. The Tenebaums’ game closet is pretty impressive – exactly what you’d expect given Anderson’s attention to detail – with what must be every board game produced between the 1960s and 1970s. And every time I watch the film I think, “Man, it’s time for a game night soon!”
These days, busy schedules mean that we don’t often have time to sit down for a board game with friends and family, but a game of cards should be pretty manageable. A game night provides a good background to social interaction: a chance to talk and catch up, without any expense and an easy way for people to join in or opt out from hand to hand.
If you only know tarot cards from fortune telling, then it’s probably hard to imagine them being dealt as a regular card game. But that’s exactly how the game began, with no connection to the occult just every intention to while away the evening hours with friends. For more about how an ordinary game turned into the extraordinary practice of cartomancy, see our earlier story.
Sure, having your fortune told can be a lot of fun (especially if you get a lucky guess on some real winning lottery numbers). But let’s bring the game back, preferably in a regular game night.
I think most of us probably don’t see our friends very often, instead spending our time plugged in to our electronic devices. Why not invite some friends around for an evening of snacks and cards? You can impress your friends by teaching them a new game and sharing some of the history of the cards. And if you wind up telling a fortune or two, be sure to tell them that you see them coming back for next week’s card night. They have to show up then, because the cards don’t lie.
So pick up a pack of tarot cards today. Your friendship, not to mention your future, may just depend on it!