It’s been more than a month since the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. It is one of the most devastating natural disasters of the century, having caused thousands of deaths to our brothers and sisters in Japan.
On a lighter side, let us remember what the crazy creative Japanese brought to the world. They are innovators, not imitators. One great difference I saw between Western and Japanese package and product design is the amount of energy and life found in the latter. Most Western packaging appeared limited, merely ‘contained’ on the canvas or package. Whereas Japanese design is more alive, spirited and energetic. Japanese packaging is created not to just contain the product, but has a unique soul of its own. It’s easy to tell–most of the packaging and product designs are based on nature and all things cute. In fact, they go through lengths to add tiny details like faces, eyes and smiles to products to make it more ‘kawaii’. Charming mascots, sweet characters and happy faces definitely sell in the company, and cute characters will definitely lure consumers into buying their products.
The second section of this article is dedicated to Environment-Friendly product packaging, so make sure to also search for your inspiration there.
Table of Content:
- Japanese Brilliant Packaging Designs
- Creative and Environment-Friendly Packaging Designs
- Will Wearable Tech Mean Wearable Web Design?
Japanese Brilliant Packaging Designs
Here are some of the most brilliant product and packaging design brought to us by Japan–all weird and wonderful. Inspiration is inevitable!
Kudamemo Fruit-shaped Notepads
Japanese brought us so many ‘kawaii’ items, or objects that are so good and yummy enough to be eaten. The Japanese taught us to see life from a more humorous perspective, even during the most mundane times like working in the office. Some of the more interesting takes on mundane office items are things like what Japanese design studio D-Bros brought us. D-Bros created awesome sticky notes that looked like sliced fruit.
The notepad is designed by Masashi Tentaku. The stem is an actual tree twig. The notepad has 150 sheets of notepaper. It is sold individually or in a 6 pack. It looks so realistic–it even comes with the netting like the actual fruits!
The Kudamemo sticky pads are available in apple and pear. The note pads look pretty on your desk, it makes a great decoration or gift.
Plastic Watering Cans
Could you imagine a watering can or a flower vase made out of a very thin plastic sheet? Sounds absurd, but it’s totally workable and practical.
This quirky product design is again brought to you by the Japanese design company D-bros. It takes brilliant creativity to make a cheap material like plastic look beautiful, classy and elegant. D-bros has once again created an innovative design, using a flat plastic sheet as a watering can to water flowers and plants. In addition, you can also use them as a flower vase!
Did I mention that the company also made flower vases made of the same material?
Brilliant Package Design for Fruit Boxes
Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa takes packaging design to a whole new level through literalist design. Most brands and packaging nowadays bombard users with texts, fonts, colors and elements to stand out from the supermarket shelf. Fukasawa takes the road less traveled and created these brilliant packaging designs.
Above is the photo of Fukasawa’s brilliant design for a banana flavored juice box. He simulated the look, feel and texture of the fruit flavor contained inside. His design for a juice box is brilliant, vibrant and creative.
Naoto Fukasawa also designed fruit boxes for strawberry, kiwi and even tofu for a fruit box for soya milk.
Flower Packaging Design for Mizu-Yokan
You may have noticed by now that Japanese design tends to be inspired by nature–and the same is the case for the packaging design for a confectioner named Koujuken in Nara.
The flower packaging design is beautiful; giving careful attention to meticulous design and detail. It shows that the sweets are as natural and great tasting as the package implies. The packaging design celebrates the July flower Morning glory, with the foil printed with matte and gloss. It is sealed with a leaf fastener, looking like and pretty origami flower.
Lightbulb Lanterns by Kyouei
Japanese designer Kouichi Okamoto marries both traditional and modern design to come up with a contemporary, conceptual take on the Japanese lantern.
The lantern mimics that of an ordinary, modern lightbulb, but the materials used are that of the traditional paper lantern. It even comes with the text and elements to make it look like the real thing. The design first appeared during the 2008 Stockholm Furniture Fair, but is now available in for purchase.
Japanese Kawaii Matches
How can you make a cute design out of ordinary matches? Seem impossible? The Japanese apparently didn’t think so.
Looking at the kawaii designs with their cute tiny heads and grins, it seems like sparking a light with these matches is a crime.
Tohato Caramel Corn
The packaging features cute characters with different expressions, along with the caramel corn inside the character’s mouth. It’s bright, colorful and eye-catching–certainly this will be the first snack in the grocery shelf that will catch your attention.
Nendo Chocolate Pencils
These chocolate pencils are practical and smart, great for garnishing chocolates and desserts. Chefs and chocolate lovers can use the special pencil sharpener that comes with it, in order to grate the chocolate on a dish.
The chocolate pencils are a collaboration with Nendo and patisserie Tsujiguchi Hironobu, the master behind dessert shops Mont St. Clair & Le Chocolat de H. Every meal and dessert plate is a masterpiece, just like a painting. And like a painting, it starts with a blank canvas and some art tools–thus the design of these chocolate pencils.
Minimalist Milk Packaging
A minimalist and fresh packaging for the Milk Forest brand that was created by Japanese design studio Rise Design Office. It looks fresh like the milk it contains, having been produced by cows that have been living in the forest freely throughout the year. You know what they say–the happier the cow, the better the milk!
Other Amazing Japanese Packaging Design
Nachan Drink – Apple-flavored drink can
Akanbe Felt Bag – a multi-purpose bag that can also be spread out into a mat. And we can’t help but love the smiley bag handle.
Chichiyasu Yogurt – charming, sweet characters definitely sell, especially with dairy products
Ajinomoto – Ajinomoto Salt Packaging in Japan.
Monokuro Boo – Eye candy packaging
‘Alphabet’ Cigarettes – Regular, Heavy and Cool Mint cigarettes with minimalist packaging. The packaging is also a portable, mini-ashtray.
Hope you are thirsty for more!
Creative and Environment-Friendly Packaging Designs
It’s funny that a few years ago, people were all over the new packaging material, plastic. The consumers thought this is the wonder material, the material that’s great for the environment. It’s cheap to produce, easy to work with, and it doesn’t hurt any trees! It was during the time where trees were being cut down indiscriminately; so people were happy that plastic was used for packaging and not paper in order to save the trees. Plastic was believed to be the material that can save Mother Earth.
Fast forward years later and we see the immense effects of using plastic. The problem is, plastic is non-biodegradable and it is hardly reused or recycled. Most people use it on a one-time basis only. Plastic makes use of chemicals and materials that’s harmful to the environment.
We’ve probably heard of environment-friendly packaging design in the packaging industry. It’s the hottest thing today, but it’s big not only because it’s popular, but because it’s good for the environment. Consumer products always have a great deal of impact on the world and our environment. Companies are now taking the responsibility of sustainability to foresee that future generations can still enjoy nature as we do today.
I admire creative and environmentally friendly packaging. The companies’ efforts to save the planet are encouraging. It’s good to know that there are still lots of people who care for mother earth. Here are some of the most creative and environmentally friendly packaging designs that I could find. It’s time to go green!
Yellow + Blue = Green Wines
Have you ever heard of organic wines? If not, let me tell you about Yellow + Blue. This wine brand has four flavors, namely: Rose, Torrontes, Sauvignon Blanc & Malbec. The wine’s packaging is an environmentally friendly carton, with 93% wine and only 7% packaging, containing less carbon footprint.
Lee Paper Bag
Lee has recently come up with a really clever paper bag. The best thing is that it’s eco-friendly and that not a single part never gets wasted. It is designed by Happy Creative Services from India.
How does the Lee Never Wasted work? First of all, the packaging works just as any other shopping bag, which is to hold your purchases. But the one thing that’s so cool is that 100% of it can be reused afterwards. The packaging is made from recycled paper, and can be reused again as a paper bag. However, they can be used for other purposes as well: you can cut out some parts which can be used as a calendar, a ruler, a door sign, a pencil holder, a snakes and ladders game, dice, credit card holder, condom holder, first aid chart, bookmarks, mask, custom black book–even the handles can be reused as shoe laces! How cool is that?
Flat Pack Pocket Lights
There’s something so cool and practical about having a portable light source with you at all times. That’s why flat pack lights are becoming the biggest thing now. They are tiny enough to fit in your wallet, since it is as big as a credit card. They’re not fragile like real bulbs, but make use of LED lights implanted on an aluminum sheet. This is environment friendly, and at the same time, a great tool to guide you to safety in case you’re walking down dark alleys and shady streets.
This clever hanger design make use of eco-friendly carton to eliminate using plastic for hanging clothes. It also helps that it looks very innovative and sleek.
Nothing screams ‘eco-chic’ more than the latest fragrance by Perfumes y Diseño. The bottle is 100% recyclable, made from 25% recycled material. The Tous H20 is a marriage between beauty and sustainability, created to help the earth as a part of the sales is donated to providing people with clean water. Not only do you smell good, but you’re creating a cleaner and safer world as well.
This is one of the most creative and eco-centered packaging designs that I have found. Recycle Easily is conceptualized by one Brett Allcorn, who encourages people to recycle the packaging they bought. The packaging has a back label that can be peeled off, revealing the return postage so that people can send the packaging back for recycling once it has already expired its use.
The creative packaging design won the Go Green Competition Award.
Eco-undies are made of organic cotton. They don’t make use of any harmful chemical pesticides, and it’s bleach-free and dye-free.
Gotta Moo creates an eco-friendly packaging for their milk products. Everything is 100% natural, they use the sugarcane bagasse pulp paper, coated with sugarcane lignin and printed using vegetable-based inks. The pulp paper is very much recyclable, and it minimizes greenhouse emissions too.
Eco-Friendly Packaging Design Concept for Coke
A design student by the name of Andrew Seunghyun Kim has recently created a creative packaging design for Coke. The concept hasn’t exactly come off the drawing board, but we are hoping that Coke will be taking this idea into consideration.
The proposed design looks sleek and modern. It’s a lot slimmer and smaller than the packaging used by Coke today; thus encouraging more people to reuse and recycle. It is eco-friendly, stackable and thus perfect to carry everywhere.
We’re hoping that other companies will also follow suit and use eco-friendly materials such as biodegradable plastic, paper, bamboo, or textile. For eco-friendly packaging needs, here are the best companies that you can count on saving the world for the future:
1. Harmless Packaging – Harmless Packaging uses 100% compostable packaging. Harmless Packaging uses materials that starts in Earth harmless & ends in Earth harmless.
2.– provides eco-friendly packaging solutions for CDs and DVDs. The packaging makes use of recycled material that folds into a spiral clasp, properly securing the CD or DVD inside. It’s highly creative and inventive, so despite being an eco-friendly product, it’s a sure stand out.
3. Plastic Ingenuity – the company has provided green packaging solutions for almost four decades. It has made use of materials that are renewable such as wood pulp, polyactic acid materials, paper and more.
4. Eco Bags – Their mantra is: ‘Cleaning up the planet, one day at a time.’ The company creates organic and sustainable canvas totes, lunch bags, produce bags, water bottles, woven bags, and more.
5. Grow a Tree Bags – The company’s main goal is to help save trees! How? Simply by reusing old designer fabrics and turning them into reusable grocery tote bags! There is a diverse collection of colors, designs and patters you can choose from online.
Now let’s end the article with possible future in mind.
Will Wearable Tech Mean Wearable Web Design?
It seems like yesterday when we went gaga over watches with calculator capabilities. Over the years, the possibility of actually having wearable technology is left for science fiction to be made possible.
Well, that’s until wearable technology was born. Will this mean wearable web design is within our grasp?
Nowadays, you can make calls, record videos, check your health and even buy a cup of espresso using a watch. (Talk about improvement, huh?) You can also do that now using glasses.
Over the previous years, wearable technology like the Google Glass and – in the near future – the Apple iWatch, have been the talk of the technology town. Little do we know, the world of technology is changing rapidly. It’s a great possibility that, in the near future, gadgets will no longer be handheld. They’re going to be worn.
Wearable Technology? What Is That?
Wearable technology is basically any gadget that goes with clothing, accessories or items. It usually comes in wrist wear or eye glasses. It’s lighter than other kinds technology and oftentimes unassuming.
However, it became as a staple type of technology that the masses can use. One great example of this is Google Glass. Sold at $1500, Google’s innovative product sure raises eyebrows but once it gets ample competition, we can expect it to decrease in price (which we hopefully can afford).
Where It All Began
It’s a common guess to believe that wearable tech started in the fitness industry. But surprisingly, the forefathers of Google Glass were created to cheat in casino games.
In 1960s, the inventors of wearable tech used the gadgets they made to count cards. It immensely increased its masters’ chance of winning the roulette table.
And since that, wearables have become a small shadow to what has been a fireworks display of technology innovation. Aside from the introduction of the calculator watches we all loved, nothing has been buzzing for a long time.
Perhaps, the reason behind this is that wearable tech during the past years have not found a solution to be more friendly when it comes to UI.
Good thing, we have science fiction to keep the ideas evolving.
What’s the Sense of Wearable Tech in Web Design?
Some say that wearable technology will soon fade away. But I think it will be staying for a long time. Pew Researchers may agree with me saying that wearable tech will grow in the next 10 years.
And probably, by that time, we’ll finally have what they call the Internet of Things.
That means, in the next 10 years, we will probably have smart earrings, or iNecklaces. This may open to other inventions too. With wearable technology becoming fully established, some tech geniuses also see the possibility of gadgets capable of holographic interaction. Yeah, it’s like Ironman. The only difference is, you get to play Tony Stark.
As this trend goes more popular, more and more users will be baited with the wonders of this technology. Consequently, everything falls like a domino, web design included.
The more wearable tech are produced and bought, the more companies and clients adjust to the new gadgets- and you play a great role in designing what they perceive.
You may think that wearable technology isn’t that popular. So, what’s the sense of adapting?
Let me tell you this: technology has evolved faster than you think it can. One day you’ll going nuts over tablet computers and after a few weeks, wearable tech is dominating.
Will you want to be left on the race by starting late? Or do you want to dominate when the gun is fired?
How Will Wearables Impact Web Design?
Now, how will wearables impact the world of web design? There have been lot of things that changed since mobile browsing was introduced. Websites became responsive and minimalism has been proven to be effective. But what will be the changes to web design when wearables invade the market?
Here are a few insights:
Designs will surely be responsive to the wearable gadget
This is very obvious. Before the age of smartphones and tablets, web design was mostly fit for computer monitors. When smartphones became a trend, suddenly, responsive design became a trend too. Now that the age of wearable tech is fast approaching, websites will surely look ahead and try to plan to convert their designs to fit the wearable tech screen.
I’m excited at how web designers will respond to fitting websites into screens of different wearables. How will they adjust to smaller screens, tighter designs and, most probably, irregular shaped screens.
The instant information we have today will become more instant
The demand on instant information will surely increase too. The main point of wearing a gadget with you is for you to access information without even reaching for your pocket.
What does this mean for web design?
- Content should be offered faster than normal.
- Web design should not slow the user’s access to information.
- Designs should load faster and more instant.
Interactivity will increase
The development of wearable technology can be the first step into the development of other advanced tech. A great example of this is the iOptik gadget that allows you to play with a virtual canvas, powered by a combination of contact lenses and projector glasses.
Voice controls and interactivity will surely be developed in the future. Aside from that, you can expect to have movement-based navigation where you could just move your head, hand, eyes, or possible just a finger to navigate.
This will affect web design in a manner that websites will become more dynamic and reactive to basic navigation movements stated above.
More minimal design
With the popularity of smartphones, you might be thinking that it’s the ceiling for producing minimalist designs, right? But I won’t be that sure about that right now.
Let’s face it. Wearable tech have smaller screen spaces. Either you want it or not, you have to adhere with minimalism to successfully create a better website.
Font size will grow bigger
I’ll repeat this for emphasis: Wearable tech have smaller screen spaces.
This means that 16px-font sizes will still be too small in some devices. It’s interesting how web design will manage to put content in a small screen without making the user draw the device closer to his face just to read.
Google Glass may not have a problem with this because users can still navigate webpages with bigger sizes. However, it becomes difficult for smartwatches and other possible small-sized gadgets.
We can never tell when wearable tech will dominate the market. But we need to prepare for it. Being a proactive web designer, you need to think ahead of this trend so that when it arrives, you won’t go through the trouble of adjusting. It’s better to be prepared.
How do you see wearable technology impacting your design? Are you excited for it? Or do you even think about it? Let us know.