With the last year recently behind us, this is the perfect time to explore this unique project! Comprised of two smaller boxes nested inside a larger one, “Dwelling Boxes” use two simple die cuts, notepads and a pencil to help us greet the New Year by giving thanks for the positive aspects of the last 12 months, while disposing of the negative ones once and for all.
Created in a moment of spontaneous inspiration by Jenn VonHagen and her family on New Year’s Eve in 2018, the concept is deceptively simple. On that night, they wrote down everything they were grateful for on sticky notes and shared these with each other, and also wrote down everything they wanted to let go of from that year, tossing the latter into their fireplace. Recalls Jenn, “With the confidence that I could toss the ‘yucky feelings’ into the flames, unshared and unjudged, it was easier to get real with myself…. For us it was a simple symbol of holding on to what we cherish and letting go of what holds us back.”
In other words, dwelling on the positive while choosing not to dwell on the negative.
Realizing that this little ritual could bring other people the same peace of mind year-round, she and business partner Greg Wineman (both founding partners of design firm Ambidustrious) took the idea to the next level with the help of Taylor Box Co. Thus Dwelling Boxes were born.
The Positive (and Negative) Value of Die Cuts
Envisioning a piece that could sit on a kitchen countertop, they hit upon the idea of creating two boxes – one for notes of appreciation, the other for negative memories. However, the question quickly became “How do you tell these two boxes apart?” This is where their first stroke of creative brilliance came in.
Rather than going for designs heavy on color or foils, they instead had Taylor Box custom die cut a “Plus” sign in the lid of the Positive thoughts container, and a “Minus” sign for the Negative thoughts one. At the suggestion of Jenn’s husband, Justin, they glued the lid of the Negative box shut to encourage people to be honest about their feelings, while ensuring that once something goes in the box, you can truly let it go. On the other hand, the Positive box can be opened so that the good notes can be shared with family and friends.
Designed for maximum interactivity, the two containers are made from Ecological Fibers Exposé Cover, which not only encourages repeated handling thanks to its feel, but can also be customized with hand-drawn doodles, quotes, or whatever you want to convey about these repositories for your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Wanting the containers to be paired together even as they stand alone, Jenn and Greg worked with Taylor Box to create the outer packaging, which serves as a nesting tray once the lid is removed. The words “Dwell on the +” wrap around the tray, screen printed by Schofield Printing.
The lid, also screen printed with simple directions, is held snuggly in place thanks to the precise way it was designed to hug the two boxes inside.
And to remove any excuse for not participating, the Dwelling Boxes even come with a couple of branded sticky-note pads, offset printed by Drummond.
As you can see, a well-thought-out die cut can be every bit as intriguing and eye-catching as the latest foiling technology. However, if you want to kick your die-cutting up a notch, consider digital die cutting. Think of it as a bunch of computer guided X-Acto knives on steroids. Intrigued? If you’re a PaperSpecs PRO member, be sure to check out our PRO Tip.
(You can get your own Dwelling Boxes here.)