Marks and Spencer gift wrap
Today I went to Marks and Spencer to carry out some primary research for my Tigerprint brief. I visit Marks and Spencer regularly to have a look at their latest stationery and gift wrap and it always makes me wish I was working with a team who design for them.
I have submitted to Tigerprint in the past for a competition brief and have a contact who works in the same building at Hallmark so have been in touch to try and get a potential placement. However it seems to be quite difficult to get a response from them so I will have to keep trying different methods of contacting them.
I am beginning to think more and more about setting up my own stationery business as this is something I have always been interested in and admire the likes of Emma Bridgewater who established a simple signature mark which is recognisable across all of her products. This would be my aim too!
As a starting point however, I have decided to enter this Tigerprint brief to give me a bit of a starting point and also to act as a 'trial run' for my own range. I am going to come up with a pattern to submit to them, and then I am going to expand on this brief and add extra elements of design which are yet to be decided on completion of this initial task.
I was pleasantly surprised when I visited Marks and Spencer to look at their Christmas selection and whilst I was there I took photographs for both this brief as well as the Christmas card brief which I am also working on at the moment in collaboration with Ellen. I therefore came away with a large selection of research to work with.
I also like the idea of presenting wrapping paper in a variety of different formats. I think that the roll of wrapping paper is probably considered as the 'norm' but it is important to consider waste as well, and in a lot of cases people purchase a large roll of wrapping paper just because it suits on person's presents, whilst the rest of it goes to waste. Perhaps there is therefore potential for a range of different sized wrapping paper to encourage people to use it all instead of letting the scraps just go to waste.
I found this example of wrapping paper to be quite different from the rest. The way the reindeer's have been foiled gives it a completely different feel to any of the other designs. I am not sure whether this is something I would consider when designing my own stationery as I prefer the matte finish.
As I am going to extend this brief further I also took photographs of other potential inspirational products such as gift bags and packaging. I love the simplicity of the bags below and like the way the designers have taken into consideration the need for a range of different sized gift bags.
I love the idea of producing my own raffia or twine as a way of sealing presents and think it would be really fun considering the different ways I could package them.
I also noticed that Marks and Spencer have a wide range of different gift bags and some of them are quite modern, whilst some of them still look quite traditional. This is to try and reach a wider audience and have something for everyone.
I loved this gift bag in particular as it is made from a stronger material than simply using card and would therefore be reusable next Christmas or maybe even for a birthday as there is no mention of Christmas on the design.
I love the idea of creating my own tape to use for gift wrap. Either tape or perhaps sticker seals instead for smaller gifts. This could be presented either in a box similar to the design shown below, or simply around a small tube in the same format as sellotape.
I love how all of the different variations of Christmas cards are demonstrated here by tying a sample on the outside of the packaging/box of cards. This is definitely something I would consider doing, whether it be a sample of the card, or simply a miniature replica of the real thing. It may even be quite effective if the design of each card was simply printed in small scale on the tags instead, to leave the rest to the imagination of the consumer.
I would absolutely love to create my own crackers, but feel as though this would probably dominate the brief and not allow me to complete a range of products, like I had planned. This is something I will keep in mind though and perhaps apply to my work in a slightly different way, whether it is for this brief or another one.
I would love to design my own gift tags and think they would look lovely with the use of a bell on them. Perhaps the bell could be used to make up part of an image on the tag. For example berries and holly. This is something I may experiment with.
When I saw this bag I instantly loved it! I love anything which is interactive and this bag caught my eye straight away and I was drawn to the little tabs which are labelled 'pull down'. I would absolutely love to make an interactive gift bag like this, but once again think it would probably take too long for purpose of this brief I am working on. So this is something I could consider in the future, perhaps in the new year.
I also love these crackers. The ones which are packaged and already made have little gifts inside of them, whilst the 2D ones are ready to make up by the consumer and presents can be stored inside of them. I would love to try and create something using the concept of a cracker!
This reminded me straight away of the l'orangerie brief I completed last year when I made scented drawer liners. I think this is such a good idea and should be used more often and all year round. It is probably more expensive to produce but I think it is worth it for the overall added experience.
Similarly, these honeycomb present toppers are also such a unique and memorable idea. I think it is important to come up with a special gift wrap idea as it will make it stand out from all of the other stores which sell it too.
Embossing is another technique I could also explore. Although when something is being made by hand (which in my case it will be) and when you would like the outcome to have a handcrafted feel to it, then embossing may be a bit too costly and not appropriate.
Paperchase gift wrap
I also visited Paperchase as I am aware that they also sell a lot of gift wrap. I would absolutely love to one day sell my own designs to somewhere like Paperchase as I think they have a strong selection of different designs to choose from and would love to be a part of that.
I could even consider packaging my own range of ribbons and detailed tags like the example shown below.
I also had a quick look at all of the rolls of wrapping paper they stock. I was quite surprised at some of the designs though and thought that the black paper with the multi-coloured text looked quite distasteful. But at the same time everyone has different tastes and it is important to consider this when designing, because it is all about what the consumer wants.
Paperchase extra research
Even though these are so simple, I think it is a really effective way of portraying who sits where at Christmas. I think I could easily produce something very similar in time for Christmas, and would love to include it as part of my collection for this brief.
Jo Malone extra research
Finally, I visited Jo Malone on my way home and came across their special Christmas packaging. I have always loved Jo Malone's packaging and think it is so well executed. Although I am not designing for a beauty brand such as Jo Malone, I will most certainly be taking inspiration from the crackers, especially the added ribbon detail.