This post is about a technique that uses embroidery as a basis for packaging design in order to give products a handmade physical and visual texture that is a break for the eyes in a sharp, flat, digital world. Designs like this call out from the shelf, “Take me home, handle me, live with me.”
This is the embroidered cover of a cookbook for girls who love meat. I’m not that interested in the subject of the book, but I am interested in the use of embroidery in the design of its cover and internal artwork.
With the rise of the UnDigital trend, and the cross-pollination of design ideas from different product areas, and eras, many doors have been opened. This is an example of possibilities.
Below you see the combination of print and embroidery.
I am very happy that the UnDigital trend is bring back old ideas and techniques, and combining them in new ways, because as a younger designer I have not yet gotten to work in all of these styles.
I love working with hand made elements, and something like this is one of my dream projects because:
It conveys a homey authenticity, softness, ease and a sense of tradition or continuity that seems rare in today’s world.
The softness of embroidery says “live with me” instead of just “buy me,” (See our post on Leland Maschmeyer’s Dieline summit presentation.)
It is rough and direct – which has a bit of a punk element in its lack of embellishment)
It grabs a lot of attention when on a shelf next to a sleek, digitally created and polished design.
I think this would work well for products in these areas:
Any food packaging, especially foods aimed at parents who wish to bring a homey family feel to their kitchen and table. It is also reminiscent of table cloths and vintage kitchens.
Organic or bio foods and drinks, especially natural products like milk and juice (some examples below).
Products for children, like baby formula, diapers, or other child care products.
Cosmetics, especially for cases and boxes it is common. The softness makes it fit comfortably, and softly, on your bathroom counter or dressing table.
Why I like this design:
It looks and feels like somebody already use it and lived with it, therefore it is tried and proven by the years which works very well with cookbooks, which are a gift to the generations as they are handed down to children and grandchildren.
It has originality. Most cookbooks are filled with highly, and sometimes overly, stylized photos of food. This design has an atmosphere of nostalgia for simpler times.
It invites creative participation like a children’s book, as opposed to sharp photographs that leave nothing to the imagination.
Thanks to the real elements (cuttings, spots, crumpled textile etc.) it has the real feel of a book made by hand and not stitched by machines in a factory.
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Using embroidery as the basis for packaging design is not a new or original idea. In fact it goes way back, but the rise of the UnDigital it is once more a viable option when considering packaging. Here are some examples of other products with some elements of embroidery-based design.
Below are some milk cartons with elements of this.
The lines in this design below are inspired by embroidery.
And even this muesli package is embroidery inspired (below).
Here are a number of other ideas.
All of these contain elements of UnDigital design that utilize embroidery.
Taking embroidery to the next level, 3D objects, ads a whole new dimension to the customer brand experience.
Here are some other examples of UnDigital designs from our blog
Rising Trends: The Rise of the UnDigital
Further Evidence of a Trend: The Return to UnDigital Roots
Rise of the UnDigital 2: Handcrafted typography and illustration
What the Hell Does “UnDigital” Mean?
And here is one on Customer-Centricity.