Designer Special Edition

Create a special edition design for your given product in the style of Otl Aicher. Not only must you create an engaging surface design for the limited edition pack but you must also explore creative forms for the final design. A special edition design is collectable and so it must feel much more valuable than the standard product.

When researching Brutalism for ideas for my shoe packaging I found Rachael Whiteread’s work. For her sculptures, she uses building materials like concrete to make casts. The most influential to me was ‘house’. The inside of the house was completely covered in concrete and was flipped so the interior of the house was on the outside of the sculpture. I felt that this sculpture managed to eerily capture urban life and memories that the inhabitants had. On the other hand, critics of the work argue that the concrete was ugly and hostile due to the cold concrete nature of the sculpture. Unfortunately, ‘House’ was demolished after three months. Despite this, Whiteread’s work was and still is a great influence on contemporary artists like Damien Hirst. The unapologetic, brutalist style of Whiteread’s sculptures makes people question what art is and how there is beauty in everyday things like a house.

I was influenced by Whiteread’s ‘out of the box’ approach and I wanted to use this in my packaging. I used expanding foam to create the box which is unconventional for shoe box packaging. If I hadn’t found Whiteread’s work I wouldn’t have thought to use actual building materials to make the shoebox. The influence of ‘house’ allowed me to add another level to the ‘Brutalist’ style of my shoe box design.


For this project, I was given the ‘Nike air force 1 ‘o7 QS’ shoes to package. I began researching Nike and found the roots of basket ball and other fitness values. The adverts are all based around the semantic field of working hard to achieve goals. I thought about doing the box based on these fitness values. However, when looking at the shoe it portrays a more urban street fashion aesthetic rather than fitness. Due to this, I chose to focus on the street style, this leads me to look at brutalist architecture which is commonplace in cities.

The graphic designer I chose to theme my box on was Otl Aicher. Most well known for his graphics for the Munich Olympics. However, I was most inspired by his bold illustrations of Insy, a small town in Germany. I interpreted this by using bold black lines on the outside of the plastic on the box. Furthermore, the plastic box represents a window, continuing the architecture theme.

I began to make the box out of paper, however, this was too fragile. I watched a documentary on the artist Rachael Whiteread. She used rooms and objects as molds to make sculptures out of concrete and resin. She covered the inside of a house in concrete then flipped the dry concrete the other way out, so the inside was on the outside. This created a cold brutalist sculpture that I wanted to create. Instead of using concrete I used expanding foam and stone coloured spray paint to create this style.

Whilst overall, I am happy with my final box I don’t feel it could be used commercially as a shoe box. I got carried away with the artistic side of the project that I failed to create a piece of packaging that could be used in the real world. Furthermore, my box doesn’t incorporate any graphic design, instead, I have created more of an artwork than a graphic design project.

If I were to do this project again I would keep the same ideas and try to represent them in the box but in a more commercial way. I would like the box to look like it could be sold in a shop. This means I would simplify it down and add more graphics to it to give it a more professional feel.

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