I arrived back from Portugal yesterday and luckily had all my ideas ready. I came back and researched into seed packaging. I found different types of seed packaging from interesting and new ways to the traditional type. However after much debate, and asking of peers, I was suggested to make the seed packets look the traditional way, that way when the contents of the packaging were actually studied, it would be completely ridiculous yet look very real. Another interesting seed packaging that I dicovered was one by Leafcutter designs based off of the idea that money doesn’t grow from trees. They recreated coins with recycled paper and embedded seeds in the paper. That way, through the planting of the paper coins (eco friendly by the way), a plant would grow out. My original idea was to use the similar concept, embed seeds in paper, however as I thought more of the concept of my work, the seeds aren’t supposed to work as they are just something to calm our minds. So instead, I left the paper by itself. I researched online into how to make hand made paper, that way I could cut the designs out however shape I want them.
The process I found online was one which required soaking, breaking apart and draining together paper. The next decision to make was what type of paper to make. As an earlier definition of superstitions is one in which satisfies our deeply seeded anxieties, I researched and asked fellow family, friends and strangers on the street as to what causes them anxieties. Most of them answered with social media, peers, news and one stranger noted that many superstitions are from conspiracies in the past. This then led me to the most analog form of conveying this information which was through newspapers.
The process of making handmade paper is very simple but I had to find alternate materials and make do with what I had. I used a colander instead of a mesh which ended up taking longer for the paper to dry. I also tried adding acrylic paint into the water in hopes that it would dye the paper, however the next day I found that the red had turned pink and the blue had faded into nothing. Something to note for next time, is to make sure that the paper is broken up and mushy enough or else it won’t hold together as well after it dries out.
The next part of the process was to design the packaging of the seeds. Following along with the information that I found on the Rule of Threes, it’s said to be the most balanced and persuasive so I decided to split all the superstitions into three categories, protection, good luck and bad luck.
Listening to Joao’s advice, I created “scientific names” for the plants, which I saw on several seed packets that I researched. The scientific names were simply a combination of the translation of protection, good luck, or misfortune in Latin.
The next step was to design the plant that would grow out which would encompass the most well known icons for these three themes. The protection plant included wood, the all seeing eye, closed windows and three crows and would be blue. The good luck plant included a rabbit’s foot, two four leaf clovers and two fish heads along with two crows and would be red. The bad luck plant was made up of three cigarettes, one moth, one crow, and ladders and would be dark green. All of these decisions were influenced by earlier research.
My first approach toward the illustration of these plants for the packaging was inspired through some botanical illustrations. However after trying it out, I found that I didn’t like the result as well. My second approach was through lino cut which is similar to some packaging that I found. At first, I tried printing straight onto the seed packaging I designed, but it didn’t come out cleanly. I then asked my classmates for advice and they suggested that I scan it, and place it onto the packaging. I also took this as an opportunity to change the color. I liked this approach much better and did it for all three packages.
I am really happy with the result of these packages, I think that they look very professional. However I’m not very sure if it is visible enough that they are seed packages as I showed some flatmates and they weren’t very sure what they were. I might need to include more visuals for the audience to infer that they are seed packages.
© Lian Cho, all rights reserved