Cool Packaging of the Week

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Nothing puts packaging over the top like a creative injection of personality, whether that means the designer’s or that of the product itself. This week, we meet a Polecat put together by a bison (!), get sloshed with famous authors of the past, and gorge ourselves on a funky blend of Chinese iconography and Disney, all with the goal of selling “moon cake.” (Previous Cool Packaging of the Week can be found here.)

Polecat CD Packaging

Bellingham, Wash. roots music quintet Polecat has a gritty, traditional sound that naturally cries out for a similar hands-on, down-to-earth packaging. Each Polecat CD cover is letterpress printed at that city’s Bison Bookbinding & Letterpress, and then hand folded, glued and packaged by members of the band.

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Aleing Authors Beer Packaging

Increasingly we see student projects that turn out to be items we would gladly pay good money for. Naturally there are a few good reasons for this: The bar to entry for creating great design is lowering, inspiration is everywhere, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a lot easier to craft one of something than it is to make (and pay for) thousands. Still, a great piece is a great piece, and this one is a humdinger.

Through the use of iconic writer portraits printed on kraft paper labels, Aleing Authors “simultaneously references the beer culture and the struggles of these famous authors”: Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe and Oscar Wilde. What really makes these labels stand out are the quotes and beer names (e.g., for Hemingway “The Old Man and the Swill”), which are nicely set off by background images that instantly evoke that personality (e.g., a swordfish for the aforementioned sport fisherman and author of “The Old Man and the Sea”). And if this isn’t enough for you, Aleing Authors designer Steph Sabo has tracked down (on Etsy) and customized the coolest beer caddy. If your cool aunt ran Barnes & Noble for a day, this is what it would look like.
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Moon Cake Packaging

Remember those days long ago when you could look at something without having the ability to instantly place it into context with a quick Google search? Thankfully, we’re still able to remain clueless when it comes to items whose descriptions are rendered in a language we cannot read. Take this amazing Disney-themed packaging for moon cakes in China. Drink in that beautiful foil stamping work. Feast your eyes on those sumptuous boxes featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Chinese surroundings. Dig the gorgeous Chinese iconography. We spent the first few minutes trying to figure out if this is a) an example of China’s cavalier attitudes toward American copyrighted material, or b) the cartoon equivalent of those commercials American celebrities do in Japan on the understanding they’ll never be shown here. And then we relaxed, realizing that there is so much to love in this packaging, if these pieces ARE somehow “unauthorized,” we can happily live with that. (Many, many more photos here.)

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